Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dada's Drivel

I’ve been an ardent supporter of your captaincy. You along with John Wright and Rahul Dravid deserve all the credit for India’s superlative performance in the last 4 years, transforming the team and encouraging young talent. Finally, we fans had something to root for and hope as well.

It all began with the famous comeback of all times against Australia in 2001 till the fine victory on Pakistan soil in 2004. There have been moments in between the two, that we will always cherish:
  • The Natwest Final 2002 chase of 324 marked by young guns Yuvraj & Kaif
  • The Headingley victory, Rahul Dravid will vouch for a fact that the hundred in those Day 1 conditions was worth a triple
  • The string of victories at the World cup post the debacle in NZ. We actually looked good to beat the Aussies, but never mind the final loss
  • The fine battle with Aus in 2003 to retain the Border -Gavaskar Trophy

The loss against Australia in 2004 at home started it all. Frankly, we haven’t come anywhere close to what we were from 2001-2004. The worst part was the farewell we gave to John Wright, the one man who was responsible for the change in our attitude along with you, the loss to Pak in the ODI series at home and the draw in the test series. It has just been downhill since then. Obviously, we know it is collective failure on the part of the whole team and not you alone.

It is a testing time for Team India, a time when it is adjusting to a new coach, trying to see off its past demons and unsure of the captaincy. You are back in charge for the Zimbabwe series. You have lead the team for 5 years now, seen the worst and best performances. This was not the appropriate time to make the statements you did yesterday. It bodes well for none. As optimistic as I can get, I’m hoping though that it’s been hyped by the media but surely there is no smoke without fire.

I have to disagree with some of the statements you made. We support you but not blindly! The one thing you had which other Indian captains lacked is the quality to speak your mind. But this time you have gone needlessly too far.

Statement 1:
"A hundred is a hundred".
Agreed. But if you are going to count this one, as the one from which your team should seek inspiration and look up to you, you have got it completely wrong. Just as no one will hype your hundred against Zimbabwe’s current bowling attack (It is mediocre at its best), no one will thrash you down if you fail against the likes of McGrath, Warne or Harmisson. You are expecting us to hail this innings of yours? Even you know, you were not at your best, actually you haven’t been at your best in a long time. Consistency is getting a century in every series. If not that, atleast three-four 50s in the series. Sachin and Rahul have achieved that.

Cosistency Dada, Consistency is the key! And consistency is not about getting runs against weak bowling attacks and getting a hundred in 2 years!

Statement 2:
"I have scored close to 1000 runs in last 16 innings."

To give you benefit of the doubt I shall exclude the innings where you did not bat. India does not play as many tests as Australia does. And the last 16 innings mean that one is looking at the last two years. In your last 16 innings (excluding the ones where you DNB) you got 630 runs which include the hundred runs against Zimbabwe yesterday. You got five 50s, of which 2 have come against Bangladesh.

Statistics do not reveal all, but they certainly do not lie. 630 is no where close to 1000. If you think it is, then you seriously need to go back to school and get your Maths straight. Three 50s against Aus, Pak and SAF is not a great achievement. If you were not captain of India, you know you would have been on your way out by now.

Here is your batting performance year-on-year and opponent wise. I’ve not made it up. What is missing is the big performances against the big guys of international cricket. An average of 32 against Australia and that of 27 against Pakistan and South Africa.

Statement 3:

"People had asked me to step down as the captain"

So people wanted you to step down as captain. As if you cared? What happened after your debut ? You came back in 1996 and slammed everyone in their faces by a memorable debut. People were after your life post the Mumbai test in 2001, what did you do then? Gave the Aussies back in their own face and stood by your team and led India to victory. The Natwest final, when your team was down and out, you still had the belief and finally gave back to the Poms, in the same manner as they had when they were here in 2002 Jan-Feb series.

You have never brought out the negativity surrounding the team or internal matters to the press. Why are you doing it now? What do you want to achieve? Your supporters will support you no matter what, but this sort of careless behaviour is not expected from you! You will lose the few you have, if go on making such statements. Don't get into a self-denial mode. That's the worst one can do. You have a problem on hand, go back to the classroom, and deal with it. You have not yet sorted out the short-pitched delivery, see your last few dismissals. Deal with your problems, and show the improvement on field.

No individual is indispensable in cricket. We lost Gavaskar & Vishvanath, we gained Tendulkar and Dravid. Aussies continued to win post Steve Waugh era. A captain is as good as his team. If this game relied on individual brilliance, India should have been at the forefront during Tendulkar’s captaincy. You of all the people should know that.

Not one supporter is ecstatic about our performance against the minnows, in fact we feel the team has been listless. The real challenge is up against SL & England at home. Hope you last till then. The acid test will be the series against England, especially post their current Ashes victory. Hope you saw that? Hope that you and your team will seek some inspiration from them. If you don’t want to do that, go watch your debut series, the series Vs Aus in 2001 and 2003, your Brisbane hundred, and the series Vs Pak 2004. Hope that will ring a bell or two, that you and your team can perform!

Answer your critics through your performance on the field. This is the right time to keep quiet and let your willow do all the talking.

9 comments:

Saltwater Blues said...

Good post Minal. I agree, its tiem for Ganguly to go ...and maybe Sachin and Laxman too! But unlike other cricketing countries, the problem India has is finding competent replacements.

Btw, great to see a girl who loves cricket so much.

cheers mate!

Tugga said...

I was waiting for a post from you on this matter. Nice touch bringing up the stats as well. I have been busy like crazy, and amgetting absolutely no time to post one of my own, so I'll make do with commenting on yours. Clearly, Ganguly has gone insane. I definitely disagree with saltwater blues, who compares Laxman and Sachin with Ganguly though. Face it, Laxman is the biggest 'it' factor India has. I look at it this way. Which batsman would force an opposition captain to declare his innings later than he normally would? Which batsman is capable of making the decision to enforce a follow on dicey? Not even Sachin in his prime had that capability. Lara did, and for India, I am sure VVS does. He has got runs against the best of his era, and desreves to play at this level. Sachin has done quite well, although below his usual high standards, inspite of being plagued by injury. He got 3 50s and a 40 against the Pakis, and for all the claims about his poor form, his average has dropped only about half a point from a couple of years ago. Note, an average dropping from 58 to 57 as against an average dropping from 50 to 41. Ganguly has tried hard enough to learn to play the short pitched ball; face it, he just doesn't have it. Bevan didn't, Kambli didn't and Ganguly doesn't. We all know what happened to the other two, I wonder what makes Ganguly special. You vehemently disagreed with me when I brought this point up in 2001, but as you say, I have been proved right.
The writing's on the wall, and if it is a toss up between Ganguly and Chappel, I'd say, thanks Saurav, you've been a good captain, but no thanks.

Minal said...

@Saltwater Blues:
Thanks for the compliments:-) But the one thing I'll disagree is Sachin & Laxman are not in same level as Ganguly. They still have some circket in them, it's to early for them to go. As for replacements, yup we have none of their calibre yet, to step in their shoes.

@Tugga: I seek forgiveness your honour!:-)) In all that he did, I sidelined his incapability to play the short-pitched stuff, hoping he would overcome it with his grit! Sadly he proved me wrong and you right:-)

And get your post going on this, I'm waiting for it:-)Saurav definitely would not be:-)

Truman said...

wow, a great discussion going on here. Trust me, Cricket discussions among people having a matured outlook towards the game is music to the ears. Really.

And your post is great, Minal. You write from the heart, that is for sure. :)

Minal said...

@Truman: Hey thanks a ton for the compliment:-)Well cricket is after all my first love;-)

I agree with your view on the cricket discussions. Works well if people have a mature outlook towards the game; else it just becomes needless bashing:-)

Kaps said...

I dunno what 2 say after reading this.

http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=54912

It is better to settle scores on the field!

Minal said...

@Kaps: YOu are right mate!
Whatever Ganguly has done is going to come back to him like a boomerang.

He is comparing his statistics with Dravid, we'll show him the comparison , and that should shut him up forever!

Alok said...

Spot on on Dada as usual...he has lost his touch and i believe his mind. He should alongwith Dalmiya be kicked out for the benefit of Indian cricket...they're simply ruining th game.

Minal said...

@Alok: If Ganguly cannot command his place in the side solely on the basis of his current performance , he should accept his defeat gracefully and be on his way out. Resting on past laurels has served no one any good.