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Fab four deserve a fitting exit

Whenever that time comes, what one does expect from the Board and selectors is that those who have served us so well are given the farewell befitting their stature, writes Pradeep Magazine.

cricket Updated: Sep 13, 2008, 23:38 IST

There comes a time in every sportsman's life when his past achievements can be of little help in determining the present as well as the future. Men like Sourav Ganguly and his illustrious colleagues in the Indian team must be facing a similar predicament at the moment.

The feeling that I am still good enough for that one match more is something which tempts and torments a player and makes the decision-making that much more difficult.

The best of players in the past have had to face this harsh reality and, sad to say, most have tried to overstay and had to be "ordered" out.

In the present times, when at stake is not just a place in the team but also the prospect of losing out on lucrative endorsements and facing a world without arc lights, the decision to quit the centre stage must be extremely difficult.

It is obvious that by not picking Ganguly for the Irani Trophy, the selectors have made it obvious that he is their victim number one among the Fab Four, who all, sooner than later have to go.

Ganguly may wonder why he has to be the first one to be signaled out, especially with his outstanding record ever since he made the odds defying, fairytale comeback. In Sri Lanka he was not the lone failure, so why pick on him alone?

Well, there could a merit in this query but I guess the time has come when India has to think of life without these golden oldies, which includes even Sachin Tendulkar. Looking good to make forties and even fifties is not something which can be valued in players who are expected to make centuries every time they walk out to bat.

For the world, Ganguly may look the most unfit player among these top four, but the rest are not far behind. A Rahul Dravid or a VVS Laxman may hide behind their utility in the slips but their out cricket is as shoddy as that of Ganguly's.

The skipper, Anil Kumble, too need not be reminded that with growing years, the feet become slow and the body fails to respond quickly enough to the demands of a ball speeding past you.

There is no doubt that Indian cricket is at the crossroads and the question is not when but how smoothly a transition can be made without hurting the team too much.

What should be a bit disturbing is the fact that even India's one-day batting side does not look as formidable and promising as it did when they beat Australia in Australia. Missing in Sri Lanka was their refreshing, youthful exuberance and they looked vulnerable and uncertain. Had Mahendra Singh Dhoni not stood his ground, India could well have lost the series.

The selectors now have to take a call and decide whether should they be putting the "easing out the seniors" operation into action against the formidable Australians or after the series is over.

But whenever that time comes, what one does expect from the Board and selectors is that those who have served us so well are given the farewell befitting their stature.

The line dividing "quitting" from being "left out" is a thin one. It is a divide between "respect" and "humiliation".

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