'Stop cat-&-mouse game over Ganguly'
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'Stop cat-&-mouse game over Ganguly'

Ex-paceman Srinath feels it is time to worry about other major issues concerning Indian cricket.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2006 20:46 IST

Former India paceman Javagal Srinath said it was time to stop speculations over the inclusion of former captain Sourav Ganguly in the 30-strong probables list for the October 7-November 5 Champions Trophy tournament.

"We have to stop this cat and mouse game and see whether Ganguly has in him to stage a comeback (into the final 14)," said Srinath when queried at a symposium here on his reaction to Ganguly's inclusion.

"As a captain he had his way with the board (selectors) in getting the team he wanted. But afterwards it's mere speculation that he has worked his way into the team through the board," Srinath said.

"He definitely deserved to be among the top 30 players," Srinath declared emphatically.

The squad of 30 has to be trimmed to 14 on or before September 7 for the Champions Trophy event to be played in India.

"Flexibility is very important in deciding the batting order. It's a vital part of today's one-day game," Siva said.

Srinath also cautioned wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni to refrain from trying out too many shots against Sri Lanka's record-breaking off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

"Dhoni is extremely good against bowlers who are one-dimensional, but Murali is different. Dhoni has to be careful," the former pacer and current member of International Cricket Council's Match Referees panel said.

Both Srinath and Sivaramakrishnan agreed that it would be important to negotiate Muralitharan and slow left arm bowler Sanath Jayasuriya successfully during middle overs.

"I see some problems for India in the middle overs. If Murali can be seen off with figures like none for 45 in ten, his effectiveness as a whole will be reduced," Sivaramakrishnan said.

Maintaining that the Sri Lankan fast bowling attack was superior to the India, Srinath said the hosts had an all-round bowling attack.

All three former cricketers placed Lanka as the favourites for winning the three-nation event featuring South Africa as the third team.

Srinath said the Indian selectors had made a mistake by not including Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan in the team.

On Sachin Tendulkar's comeback, Srinath said the ace batsman would anytime walk into the squad, but added that the Mumbai batsman would take some time to find his bearings after his long lay-off.

Manjrekar pointed out that the media was not highlightng the important factor of fielding when they discuss team composition.

"There's discussion on the importance of having experienced players in the team, but we have seen that if the team has five or six slow movers in the ranks, it affects the performance in one-day cricket," Manjrekar said.

Harping on the reign of Greg Chappell and his combination with Dravid, Srinath said the former Australian skipper started off well, but the country is now looking forward to the squad winning overseas.

"He's to make India win abroad. We are all looking forward to this," Srinath said.

Manjrekar said the Indian batsmen of late have become better players of pace bowling than spin, a view endorsed by Sivaramakrishnan, who said the batsmen have for long struggled against off spin, including John Bracewell of New Zealand in the late 1980s.

Harping on the topic of Pathan, Siva said ex-West Indies great Andy Roberts, who gave the Indian pacer some tips, felt that the former was doing things exactly opposite to what he should be doing in his run-up.

"He's starting off with long strides and then shortening them while it should be the other way around was what Roberts felt," Siva said.

"We should realise that Pathan is a swing bowler and not a fast bowler," Siva elaborated.

Srinath, while agreeing on the view, also maintained that a swing bowler needs to bowl at a minimum speed of around 128-130 kph to be effective and added that one cannot always get movement in the air as it depended on other factors too.

"Pathan needs to operate at around 128-130 kph which he can easily achieve. The fact is he's played a lot of cricket and has been training hard. His body is slowly coming to terms with international cricket.

Picking up the cue, Manjrekar said that the topic of training needed to be discussed about in details but will take a long time to achieve.

"The important question to ask is whether we have the ideal training regime for our fast bowlers," Manjrekar said.

On the topic of pace bowling, Manjrekar said it was very sad to see ace South African pacer Shaun Pollock resort to bowling off spin in the second Test agaisnt Sri Lanka which the Proteas lost by one wicket.

"It reminded me of Manoj Prabhakar and the Ferozshah Kotla ground (vs Sri Lanka) in 1996 (World Cup tie). It was terribly sad, " said the former Test star-turned-commentator.

Srinath felt that only by sheer experience Pollock and Sri Lankan left arm pacer Chaminda Vaas are keeping their places after having bowled tirelessly over the years.

Praising Dravid, Srinath said the Indian skipper derived strength from his own performance and said if at all his captaincy can be said to have some drawback it was because his former teammate does not "take risks".

"I see it this way. There are two left handers in the squad to Sri Lanka in Suresh Raina and Dinesh Mongia. (His chances to make the 14) depends on their performance", he added.

First Published: Aug 11, 2006 23:37 IST