Sourav quit spectre after omission omen

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By LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
  • Published 9.09.08
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Sept.8: The fight may just have gone out of Sourav Ganguly.

Having made two comebacks, in the summer of 1996 and the winter of 2006, which are part of legend, the former captain could decide to call it a day — sooner rather than later — instead of striving for a return to the Team India dressing room.

Sourav himself didn’t go beyond “I have no reaction… No comments,” in Calcutta this afternoon, when his response was sought to the latest shocker — being ignored for the Irani Trophy, projected as a trial match for the home series against Australia.

However, somebody close to Sourav told The Telegraph: “Two-three years back, Sourav was younger… He wanted to make a comeback and prove Greg Chappell wrong… He’d also been very keen on 100 Tests… That milestone has been achieved… A few others too….

“I doubt if Sourav would again like to be on trial the next time he’s back, assuming he does get another chance… He’s achieved plenty (6,888 runs in Tests with 15 hundreds; 11,363 runs in ODIs with 22 hundreds)… I don’t think he’s hungry the way he was, say, two years ago….”

The big call, though, is entirely Sourav’s and he deserves to be given space.

The senior selection committee will, of course, change when the squad for the first Test gets chosen, but Dilip Vengsarkar and his colleagues have made it easier for those succeeding them to keep Sourav out.

The Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain did have a poor Test series in Sri Lanka, but others also struggled.

Moreover, public memory is so short: Sourav had been the MoM in the last Test played at home (in April), versus South Africa, in Kanpur.

Surely, accountability can’t begin and end with Sourav only.

Sourav did his cause no good by failing in all three Tests in Sri Lanka, but it can’t just be that he’s had to pay for one series. Rather, it appears he’s paying the price for having called all the shots during the five-and-a-half years that he captained Team India.

Despite his achievements (being our most successful Test captain is one), Sourav has actually been reduced to a soft target. Even if he wanted to, right now, one-time mentor Jagmohan Dalmiya can’t do a thing.

According to one of the five selectors, coach Gary Kirsten conveyed to the committee (through chairman Vengsarkar, it seems) that the time had come to “look beyond” Sourav.

“Gary said we should look beyond… Even (Test and Rest of India captain) Anil Kumble shares that view… Sourav hasn’t been in form, plus he remains a liability on the field,” the selector pointed out.

He added: “Look, we haven’t selected Yuvraj Singh either, but he has age (26) on his side… At 36, Sourav isn’t getting any younger….”

Earlier this year, in January, the same bunch had dropped Sourav from the ODI squad, even though he’d been one of the more consistent batsmen in 2007.

That left him disillusioned, but he sort of appreciated, gradually, that the selectors had begun to look at the next World Cup, in 2011.

Test cricket, however, is a vastly different ball game and age shouldn’t be a factor. Indeed, Kumble will be 38 next month.

Sourav has never been a Jonty Rhodes or even a shadow of the South African, but the selectors have, over a period of time, conveniently overlooked the shortcomings of other top-notch batsmen.

Footnote: If Sourav does quit, then it may become easier for elder brother Snehashish to be East’s man on the next selection committee.