Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Laxman or Ganguly? Or Niether?

Team India is probably in the worst form of its entire life and of course this leads to the fickle and impatient fan base (who also happen to have an extremely short memory) to call for the heads of the coaching staff and inclusion of former greats of the game. Yet on what basis are they making these demands? Has Sourav Ganguly done what every dropped player should do and go back and score runs in domestic cricket?

The plain and simple answer to that question is NO. Given he is meant to be one of the most graceful, elegant and best Indian batsman of all time, he should have plundered the runs against a domestic bowling attack which leaves a lot to the imagination. But did he? No. Then why does he deserve a chance in the Indian team. He should be left out on the same basis as Laxman has been, cant field and please don’t try and tell me he can bowl.

The fact is that Sourav Ganguly is too old, to slow and to put it simply, he is past his prime. If he had scored runs in domestic cricket, then fine, know one would have had an issue in him making a comeback, but he hasn’t so everyone should just forget about it.

On the other hand, VVS Laxman, has not done anything wrong. In fact he has been hard done by on many occasions by the Indian selectors who sometimes seem to suffer from the common disease that nearly all Indian fans suffer from, dementia. They seem to easily forget the true class of a player.

Laxman is a player who will, or should I say should, be playing test cricket for India for a while yet. He is a great batsman as elegant as they come. He has performed for India when it has counted the most and has always been a man to deliver under pressure, considering he has been under pressure for his entire career. Yes, he might not be the greatest fielder and he might not be the best athlete, but he can do his job as a batsman and that is to score runs.

I am the biggest fan of Suresh Raina but unfortunately for the poor lad, he just isn’t having the greatest of times out in the middle. It would be highly beneficial for him to go back to domestic cricket and plunder runs there, get his confidence back up and then come back into the national side and prove all his critics wrong because he is the future of Indian cricket and will be a super star in the years ahead.

At the moment he isn’t able to score many runs, neither is Mongia and lets not even mention Jaffer as god knows what he is doing on this tour. I personally thought that Gautam Gambhir batter much better than he did in the challenger series and Robin Uthappa seems like a fine prospect. Getting back to the point, if those specialist batsman cant score runs, then a batsman who can score runs and who has done nothing wrong to be left out of the team should be drafted into the squad.

Just as I am writing this post, news has come through that Laxman has been added to the squad to replace the injured Rahul Dravid. I guess that just justifies my stance on the issue. Laxman would slot in beautifully at number 3 in the line up and I am sure given a few games, will do a terrific job.

On the calls for the sacking of the coach, the simple point here is that the coach can only do so much. It is up to the players to perform, the coach can’t go out there and bat for them. When in a position like the team is currently in, things just don’t go your way, as it didn’t for Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dhoni and co. The opposition seems to bowl unplayable balls or pulls off ridiculous catches. The only remedy for this problem is hard work and I am sure that’s what the lads are doing at the moment.

It is easy for us supporters to sit back in our comfortable lounges, watch the game and criticize the players with all we have got. But lets not forget, know players likes to perform badly and I am sure the players are hurting more than us supporters are. As supporters of Team India it is our job to rally behind the team and give them confidence that they still have the support of the nation, just like the Barmy Army has done for England for the previous 12 years.

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