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Once a king, now a bench warmer

After all that extended foreplay, Sourav Ganguly seems to be having performance anxiety. Sukhwant Basra reports.

india Updated: May 09, 2011 00:29 IST
Sukhwant Basra

After all that extended foreplay, Sourav Ganguly seems to be having performance anxiety. For the second straight match since his 'comeback', the man who was once king sat amongst the commoners, warming the bench. But then, it's indeed easier to hem and haw and point out the niceties from the cool of the commentator's box; it's a different matter to take on the heat in the middle. Apparently he is 'not in touch' enough to step out and shut up all those who felt he was best left manning the mike rather than the crease.

Ganguly going unsold was the juiciest bit of news that shocked after the IPL auctions early this year. As the prince of Kolkata went into a royal sulk, speculation abounded that hectic backroom deals were being connived to get him where, according to the original thought process of the franchises, he no longer belonged.

But then God can really be a wicked fellow. He may just decide to give you what you ask for. Ask Ganguly. Ashish Nehra's fractured finger propped up the almost 39 veteran's desire to be out there again. That, possibly, got a bit dimmed by his practice outing with the team on Saturday. Twenty-seven runs from 24 does seem to be a respe-ctable outing for a man whose last Ranji game was in Dec 2010. But then that's not the complete story.

During the half hour he flailed that willow about, he was caught twice and had his stumps rattled once. Watching from square leg, where he was the impromptu umpire, Yuvraj Singh must have been wondering where that trademark cover drive was skulking. Dada did crack three fours but the few pulls he attempted landed more in the vicinity of the 30-yard circle than the boundary they aspired for.

Whether you think he's being foolish or you wish to spout cricketing logic ripping his desire to play again, you can't help but admire his tenacity. It's obvious he hasn't been pumping too much iron in that gym he's got back home but the mettle of his resolve commands respect. It takes a brave man to do what Ganguly is doing.

Now, he has to get a bit braver and find his 'touch' lest four remaining matches later his detractors laugh all the harder.