| Sourav at Eden Gardens. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Nov. 29: ‘The Indian Team Needs Ganguly Back’ was one banner which couldn’t have been missed at the Wanderers 10 days ago.
Even if Dilip Vengsarkar and his colleagues on the senior selection committee — Venkatapathi Raju, Bhupinder Singh, Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal — didn’t pay much attention then, India’s performance in Durban and Cape Town obviously gave a reminder.
[It wasn’t any better in Port Elizabeth either, with India crashing to another shame-inviting defeat.]
So much so that unless regular captain Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell resist, the selectors are tipped to recall Sourav for the three-Test series in South Africa.
Actually, Chappell is under pressure and may not stick his neck out at a time when the going has been, well, appalling.
“A majority of the selectors are more than inclined to have Sourav back… That’s unlikely to change overnight,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph this evening.
Vengsarkar and co. will be meeting in New Delhi and not Mumbai as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sharad Pawar wants to have a “closed-door session” before they get down to business.
It’s unclear what Pawar has in mind, but this move should go down well with colleagues in Parliament, who have been incensed with recent performances and an insensitively phrased comment from Chappell.
Pawar can even have a one-on-one with Vengsarkar, who has just completed two months in the chair, before he sits down with all five selectors.
“Trial by media” has been heard all too often and, now, some in the BCCI appear to have been put off by Sourav’s “selection” by the media.
That, however, ought not to have an impact tomorrow.
Incidentally, whatever the emotions within, Sourav maintained he wasn’t tense. “What’s to happen is going to happen… I have nothing more to say…”
The former captain has been out of favour for nine months. That long a period of isolation, in a hostile environment, could end the career of most 34-year-olds.
If Sourav is firmly in the frame, it’s largely because the Suresh Rainas have refused to learn and some of the more established names haven’t been able to recover form.
Yuvraj Singh’s unavailability, owing to an injured knee, is also a factor.
Sourav apart, one expects Gautam Gambhir and Vikram Rajvir Singh to board the flight to Johannesburg.
It’s not confirmed, but Raina, Dinesh Mongia/Mohammed Kaif (perhaps even both) and Ajit Agarkar may well be the ones to come back after the ODIs.
The first Test is at the Wanderers (Johannesburg) from December 15.