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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.


Ayush Trivedi said...

I hope your sentiments on Laxman are correct. I'm not sure what sort of form he's in, but I would have sent someone who is in the form of their life - as opposed to somebody who has experience and has been good in the past.

We shall wait and see.

Anonymous said...

You are right about Laxman. He was not in the 2003 world cup squad where he could have done better than Mongia. You are right about the coach as well- what can he do if even Tendulkar fails consistently.

X Factor said...

With an avergae of over 41 in ODI's this season, I dsont think he has failed consistantly. Its about time that you got off the guys back and gave him a bit of room to breathe.

Ayush Trivedi said...

Who has an average of 41? Laxman hasn't played any ODI's this season and Mongia hasn't scored that many runs in his life.

X Factor said...

Tendulkar does

Ayush Trivedi said...

Obviously, the entire blame for the current schamozzle in South Africa cannot be placed on Tendulkar's shoulders. Having said that, I would've liked to see him standing up to be counted a lot more in the last couple of games.

Anonymous said...

I think, the so called "Team India" should have a massive overhaul. I dont know why the team is called so. Indian Cricket Team was good enough. Calling them by another name is pointless especially if they are lions made up of clay.
Now coming to my original point, I think that the non-performers e.g. Sachin, Virendra,Mohammad, Suresh and Ajit should all be sent to domestic games. There is no point bringing old horses who have well passed their use-by date. Ajit is the luckiest of the lot,since despite consistently performing badly, both with the bat and ball, he has succeeded in being in the "Team India". If the team has to loose, why not give chance to newer players. At least we wont have much expectations from them .
I also think that the Indian M.Ps. should get off the back of Greg and let him do what he is paid to do. At least he is, where he should be whereas the M.Ps. are hardly seen in the parliament when the session is on.

X Factor said...

XYZ, it looks like your a keen Indian supporter and i fully agree with your second and third points. I must say it is pleasing to see that some Indian supporters have learnt to be more relaxed witht their views when it comes to coach Chappell. Although I cant understand why you find it difficult to comprehend the name Team India, it means the same thing as Indian Cricket Team, just a better way of saying it. Anyway atleast with supporters like you, Indian cricket looks to have a bright future. Lets hope you keep up this attitude and dont fall back in to the pesimistic ways of the fans. I am sure you have first hand experiance of that. :)

Anonymous said...

What u said is right . Ganguly has not perfomed so great in domestic cricket too . But according to me , what Indian team lacks is a good captain who motivates his side on the field well and take instant decisions as the situation demands .

I never found dravid as a Good Captain . He is definately a true class batsman and my fav too . But he is not good one to lead the team . That is where i like Saurav and insist him to be and the field where decisions can be taken much better .

When SA where down at 80/6 , i would have kept a minimum of 2 in the slips and opt for fast bowling instead of the our great spin attack on a bouncy pitch.

Gangulys inclusion is good only bcox of this and am definately sure , he can score some runs on the board .

Although Laxman has not performed so great in domestic cricket recently , his inclusion is also justified

Ayush Trivedi said...

@ Krishna: Dravid and Ganguly have vastly different approaches to captaincy, to say which is better is a little premature at this stage. Ganguly, for all his bravado, was not the best captain tactically when he started out. Give Dravid some time.

On the question of the inclusion of Ganguly & Laxman, a struggling team requires players in form, not have-beens. Experience is great when the said players perform, it can also be a burden if the player is well past his best.

Vijay said...

Team India's worst form in life ? I beg to differ.. think of the prelude to the 2003 World Cup,
which was a disaster in New Zealand .. 2-0 in tests and 5-2 in the ODI's .. Read the link
here - http://sufferingsocrates.blogspot.com/2006/10/surprising-win-not-really.html

As to the logic of dropping Greg Chappell or not, read this link -

As for rallying behind the team, you are right, we should, and always too. But, there should
also be a meaningful backing. One that instils hope. We haven't even crossed the 170 run mark
in the 3 ODIs played thus far. I am glad we did pull of the win in the 20-20 match, albeit
against SA's second string bowling attack. This should give some confidence. As they say, its
all in the mind. As for Ganguly's comeback, honestly I am happy for him. But, the irony is,
he is being picked for the Tests rather than the ODIs where he is a master. But, I think he
deserved a chance, and I in fact pray that he does well. He can be a real asset for the team
in the World Cup.

The basic problem with the Indians is, domestic cricket. There is no exposure to bouncy tracks
at all. This is creating all the problem. This may not solve it, but will go a long way. Ian Chappell
quite rightly said, that adjusting to lower bounce, coming from a bouncier wicket condition
is easier than the other way round. But, again it needs the practise. There is no point in
talking of Raina or Dhoni or anyone. It is Indian cricket which needs to get better. While
Sachin and Dravid are once in a lifetime cricketers who have the basic talent, we need more
players, who just have the attitude and the workman like spirit to adjust to conditions, like
how Collingwood is doing for England (He struck his first century in India, I guess ? Correct
me if I am wron, or was it against Pakistan in England ?)

The bottomline is, Indian batting has to come good, to be competitive in the Test matches. Lets
see how Dada performs. I am happy for Laxman and his elevation to the Vice Captaincy. Its strange
that while Sehwag has done well in Test Matches, he should be stripped of Vice Captaincy when
the Tests begin.

Ayush Trivedi said...

@ Vijay: Sure the scoreline in that NZ series was not what we wanted. However, there were three major differences between that series and the current SA one:
1. The pitches were specifically doctored in NZ to suit their seam bowlers, while the pitches in SA are as is.
2. Even though we lost both series in NZ, the matches were reasonable close. We didn't get belted by 100+ consecutively. Batsmen on both sides struggled to make runs.
3. We had been consistently successful in the period preceding the NZ series, whereas Team India has been woefully out of form in the period preceding the current series.

On this basis, I think one can confidently argue that this is the worst form we have seen Indian batsmen in, for quite some period of time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Enigma, I dont know why you keep defending the chronically non-performing elites of "Team India". They are clearly not as good as we think they are or we want them to be. I clearly feel that newer players should be tried if they are available but I dont think that a newer crop of talented players are ready to take their place, as it happens in Australia. The fact that a player like M. Hussey had to wait to get into "Team Australia" till his thirties, suggests that there is very strong competition for getting into the national team.That's not the case in India. May be the fans of "Team India" should lower their expectations and be contented with a mediocre team of non-performers.

Ayush Trivedi said...

Let me remind you that Team India are the only team in international cricket to have come close to winning a Test series against Australia, in Australia in the last 10 years.

Australia has a very talented team at present. The structure of their domestic cricket competition produces players that are match hardened and confident. They have also been extremely lucky to have had some pretty special players over the last 10-15 years, at the one time.

However, apart from Hussey, Clarke, Jaques and maybe Cosgrove there is not that much talent banging on the Australian team door at present, similar to a situation faced by most other international teams.

It is unfortunate that most of Team India's batting line-up is out of form at the same time. There may be a structural issue here, there may not be. I am not sure.

What I do know is that the situation is not helped by fickle fans complaining about not getting value for their cable TV subscriptions because the team is losing. If you think there is a better product elsewhere, then go watch it. Don't call yourself a die-hard fan and then start burning effigies or stoning the players' houses when they don't win a match/series.

The reason I keep supporting these guys is because they are undoubtedly talented players who have the capacity to achieve a lot more. Lets not forget that they won pretty much everything touched last season. To call them "chronic" under-performers is quite harsh, IMHO.

Maybe you are right, for the meanwhile we may just have to lower our expectations. However, I also do believe that these same players will come good and will live up to their talent.

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