T20 World Cup: After India's loss to Pakistan, Sourav Ganguly talks about the extra bowler issue

ByRasesh Mandani, Dubai
Oct 26, 2021 10:58 PM IST

BCCI president and former India skipper Ganguly urged Virat Kohli’s team to forget the 10-wicket loss on Sunday and bounce back in the T20 World Cup.

Sourav Ganguly knows all about being at the receiving end of angry supporters, and appealed to the Indian cricket fan to take the defeat against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup sportingly. When Ganguly was India captain in the 2003 ODI World Cup, a one-sided loss to Australia in a group game saw Mohammad Kaif’s house stoned and players’ effigies burnt amid widespread anguish. India recovered and went on to finish runners-up.

BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly to stand with Team India after their 10-wicket loss against Pakistan. (Getty)
BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly to stand with Team India after their 10-wicket loss against Pakistan. (Getty)

The game’s popularity has soared since. But a section of the fans now use the social media to vent their ire.  After India’s 10-wicket loss in Dubai on Sunday, fast bowler Mohammad Shami, the team’s only Muslim player, was targetted for attacks on social media.

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Also Read | Pakistan vs New Zealand T20 World Cup 2021 Live Cricket Score

“It's all an over-reaction,” Ganguly, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, said. “Too much is made out of losing to Pakistan. It's not a big deal for me. It happens in sport. You lose. Everybody loses. Hopefully they can come back and get to the knockouts.”

Also Read | 'This game should bring people together, not divide them': Pakistan's Rizwan stands with Shami in wake of online abuse

India are placed in a relatively easier Group 2. Still, there are perils. The two Associate nations - Scotland and Namibia - have fought their way through qualification, and the chances of their staging an upset at this Super 12 stage are remote. Scotland lost by 130 runs to Afghanistan on Monday. India, the hosts, though face New Zealand next and another slip up could prove costlier than it would in the other, tougher group.   

“The next game against New Zealand is very important. I hope they can get through there,” said Ganguly. The Indian team took the second consecutive day off on Tuesday, ahead of the game on Oct 31.

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Ganguly felt India lost to Pakistan due to batting. “We just didn’t have enough runs,” he said. One problem India faced was not having a back-up sixth bowler. With Hardik Pandya unable to bowl, there are few options for someone to step up and bowl an over of two if a regular bowler has an off-day. Unless there is some reshuffle in the eleven.

Skipper Virat Kohli spoke of plans to get part-timers, including himself, to bowl a couple of overs, though it didn’t happen against Pakistan. With T20 not a format that provides too many comeback chances, even one expensive over can prove costly for the team.   

It’s a problem Ganguly’s team would face in the early 2000s. He then got Rahul Dravid to keep wicket to play that extra bowler. “With our team, I bowled, Sehwag bowled,” Ganguly said. “That is a bit of an issue with this side. Hopefully they will be able to turn it around and do well. They are a good side. They have done well for the past two years.” 

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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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