It’s becoming a cliche to hate Ganguly and scream for his blood.
I’m not gonna do that.
I truly believe he should continue as captain, at least for another six months.
I also think it’s only fair that India’s most aggressive captain gets a chance to sign off in style, when he’s among runs.
Also, that the next six months will be a true test of character. If he CAN really perform in the next few months, not only will he silence all those people who think they know more than the man in the middle but he will also get himself the platform to exit in style: lead the team for the World Cup and an opportunity to win it.
The pressure on Sourav when he next goes in to bat will be more than that of a No.11 player going in to bat chasing six of the last over of a World Cup final. Because, Sourav will know he’s being watched. He will know he’s being evaluated, he will know that there are critics waiting to jump up in delight screaming: “I told ya” as he walks back to the pavilion. He knows there will be Greg Chappell waiting with a smirk, a VVS Laxman and a Kaif waiting to replace him in the very next season.
If he can handle this kind of pressure and come out of it with his head held high, I think he deserves to stay.
I think it’s only natural for a successful captain to turn complacent. To take his position in the team for granted. Sourav may have been guilty on that front in the last few years. He no longer can do that, and that’s the good news.
I think it’s wonderful that he has not been sacked. I’m also glad that the BCCI has not let the coach down either.
Sack Ganguly and you instantly can see morale of half the team go down, after all he has been backing his set of faithfuls. Sack Chappell and you can see the morale of the other half of the team collapse. The truth is we cannot afford to lose either half. Not the regulars. Not the hopefuls.
So, I really like the idea of putting two people who don’t like each other into a same room and say: “You got no choice, guys. Live with it. Perform or find yourself out. We’ll be watching.”
There are no more secrets. Ganguly knows Chappell thinks he’s a misfit. Chappell knows Ganguly hates him. What more needs to be said? They’ve exchanged it all or will do so in the next few weeks. But soon, they will realise that they REALLY have no choice but to work together. Because, there is a sense of purpose that binds them. That purpose is victory for the team.
As a filmmaker and a scriptwriter, I know that a crisis is a point of transformation. It is the lowest you can hit in the span of a story.
Also, what many people forget while baying for Ganguly’s blood is that statistics and current form alone cannot determine a person’s future in a team. Which is why I think it’s okay to make Ganguly sit out for not being in form but you cannot sack him as captain for good, which is usually what the case is in Indian cricket when someone over 30 sits out.
Because, cricket is a game. Numbers are important but not everything.
But a captain is everything, and not just important.
Sport is played not through statistics, but through raw passion, ungirdled emotion and pure unadulterated spirit. It’s played with aggression, for God’s sake. And Sourav personifies that very essence of sport. Agreed that Dravid is too much of a gentleman cricketer, a diplomat liked by all members of the team. That’s great if you were leading a delegation of managers but not when you want to intimidate your opposition. Not when you want to whip up the adrenaline. Not when you want to override convention. This is where Sourav scores.
Sport is about a team and the interplay of personal relationships in it. The ability to manipulate efforts and emotions of individuals into the objective of the team: Victory. To instil, to bind and create spirit out of interactions and personal relationships. No amount of talent can replace team spirit.
Sourav is an emotional guy. And that’s why he will make a great leader for a sports team. He’s demonstrated this before. He’s one of the few Indian captains who has been successful in putting opposition under pressure with aggressive unconventional field placements. He’s a risk taker. Dravid’s field placements as we’ve seen are way too safe to produce a victory.
It is this emotional quotient that gives sport its character. It is this emotional quotient that will give Sourav the perspective to make amends with coach Chappell. It is this emotional quotient that will help him stage a comeback. And help him resolve the differences in the team. If he still has it intact, that is.
The only way to resolve differences in a team is to resolve the differences between the power centres and not introduce new power centres and give it that much more time for the interplay of characters result in new unpredictable power equations. If the two can resolve their differences and share from each other’s ideologies… Sourav being all heart and Chappell being all mind, between the two of them, they can create a potent lethal team that is sound in both its heart (emotional department run by Ganguly) and head (rational scientific thinking supplied by Chappell).
It is media speculation and analysis that is the prime reason that every one today thinks he’s an authority on the subject. Regular everyday sport conflicts suddenly have come under the microscope. Conflicts have always been around. It does not mean we stick our noses into the dressing room, sitting so far away from it and take sides.
Let them be, they (the captain and the coach) will figure it out. They know the game more than you or me do.
It’s best for Indian cricket that they are made to live together. That’s how Indian marriages have worked over centuries. The in-laws (selectors) are watching. Neither the bride nor the groom can afford to screw-up.
For Sourav, the test of his life begins now. He alone is responsible for his fate from now on. Not you, not me, not Chappell.