Nasty. There’s no other word to describe Sourav Ganguly’s broadside against his team following their loss to the RCB. It’s unusual to hear a captain tearing into his team so ruthlessly in public, especially when there are still games left.
But Ganguly has always been getting the best out of his men. Never in the Mike Brearley cerebral mould or the Ricky Ponting pull-from-front bracket, Ganguly’s power has been his way with men, and perhaps this is what he hoped to achieve when he thundered, “If we play cricket like this we don’t deserve to be in the semis. There are other teams who are playing better than us. If we have to get there first let’s play better cricket and win matches.”
Ganguly was especially critical of Knight Riders’ fielding. “I don’t mind losing, but we were pathetic on the field, let’s be honest. I can talk, I can lift them up but they need to lift themselves.” What he must be acutely aware of was the fact that it was he who set the tone, dropping Jacques Kallis early.
Ganguly, who described the team’s effort as “rubbish” did not relent even when it was suggested that he had lifted teams from greater lows in his time as India captain. “I can’t go and field for them, I can’t go and bowl for them. When I was leading India I had some serious talent to look after. That probably helped. Hopefully, these guys will look after themselves.” How this sits with the likes of Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum, stars of their respective teams, and Angelo Mathews, one of the top all-rounders in the game today, is anyone’s guess.
The Indians in his unit were sounded a clear warning too. “Some of these guys need to look at themselves. They were just pathetic,” said Ganguly.
“They have to pick themselves up, there’s no option. The entire world is watching, the selectors are watching … if they play like this, God help their careers.” Whether it helps their careers or not is something time will tell. But what effect this has on the rest of KKR’s campaign will be keenly watched.