Ganguly's case is a self-inflicted tragedy

Ganguly had many such opportunities where he could have laid down the captaincy, writes Javagal Srinath.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 18:10 IST

The massive Indian cricket followers feel empowered seeing their team scaling the number two slot in the world ratings. But there are some serious indications that ICC point system is far from accurate and do not necessarily reflect the true rankings of the teams.

But then, despite doubts about the accuracy of World ranking, Team India has done extremely well at the backdrop of the mayhem it went through in the recent past. The now infamous public spat between the then skipper Sourav Ganguly and the coach Greg Chappell, the speculative news of splits in the team, the change of guards in BCCI and its never ending legal battles were enough to rattle the confidence of any team. And as if it was not enough, the unceremonious dumping of the ex-captain from the squad followed by his stimulating selection back in the team looked too much for the team to digest.

But in the midst of all, Team India managed a series of laudable wins in both forms of the game. The credit should firstly go to new Captain Rahul Dravid and off course to the senior members of the team along with coach Chappell.

Some of the practices in the sub-continent are so rigid that the captains hardly ever get a chance to make a graceful exit. There was hardly any captain who made the right statements and passed on the baton to his successor with dignity. I can understand that there are too many things at stake for a quitting Indian captain but the side effects of a disgraceful departure is always worse.

One of the main ingredients of good captaincy is to relinquish the responsibilities at the right moment. One can take the example of former South African Captain Kepler Wessels handing over the reigns to Hansie Cronje, England captain Mike Atherton chose the right time to pass the mantle to Nasser Hussein and again Nasser Hussien did the same to Michael Vaughan. The Australians naming Ricky Pointing as future captain while Steve Waugh was still at the helm was also an illustration of classic progression in cricket.

Captaincy is a time-honoured position. Ganguly had many such opportunities where he could have laid down the captaincy. It would have held him in good stead. Instead, he chose to be sacked by the not so consistent selectors. Indeed it was a self-inflicted tragedy on Sourav's illustrious career as a captain. His downfall from the captaincy has also had a snow balling effect on his career as a cricketer. A successful captain till the last season is now searching for a suitable place for himself in world cricket, which he ruled and reigned till very recently.

Although, the results of the home series were important, Rahul must be aware of the significance of winning abroad. The current team management has appeared to be more daring and upright in dealing with issues. Right from selecting the squad to picking the final eleven and even attempts to bring flexibility in the batting order shows the emerging new pattern of operations in the team.

The biggest gain in the batting order changes was the emergence of Irfan Pathan as a matured batsman. The recent results will temporarily stand to testify that the current team is heading in the right direction.

Some of the senior members would certainly endorse that the reality check could only be done when the team starts its campaign on foreign soil.

The Ganguly-Wright duo has set a high precedence for the new combination of Dravid and Chappell to follow. For the new pair, the task is pretty steep in the sense that nothing less than a ticket to the final of the forthcoming World Cup and levelling the series in Australia would equal their efforts. But let's not forget that it was the 'Wall', who was the main architect in the legacy left behind by the earlier coach and the captain.

The Pakistan series could be emotionally draining for Team India. While any match-winner emerging out of this series will turn out to be the true hero for the nation, at the same time dismal performances could well bring the curtains down on some players.

More than Rahul, it's a testing time for Greg Chappell. Although the Indians came out with flying colours in the previous visit to Pakistan, this tour would be different ball game altogether.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 16:34 IST