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Sunset for Sourav Ganguly?

While Sachin is a genius reborn, Sourav is 'history', writes Pradeep Magazine. Can he make a comeback?

india Updated: Oct 29, 2005 10:03 IST

While Indian cricket celebrates the return to form of its most famous sporting icon, Sachin Tendulkar, spare a thought for Sourav Ganguly too.

While Tendulkar is, in a manner of speaking, a genius reborn and is defying the grammar of batting and daring fate to defeat him — like he did when cricket discovered him in 1989 — Ganguly appears to be history.

The former captain was the new, aggressive face of Indian cricket, someone who dared to bare at Lord’s. He was the man who kept Steve Waugh, captain of the world’s best team, waiting for the toss in three consecutive Tests.

The pundits felt that no Indian had humiliated the sledging Australians and the arrogant English in the manner the fragile-looking Kolkatan had. More important, he led a team of no-hopers to victory in that 2001 series against Australia, and even took them to the final of World Cup 2003.

On Thursday, when India went gaga over a second successive one-sided win over Sri Lanka, and feted new skipper Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell, Ganguly again found himself out of the team for the next three ODIs.

Ganguly’s loss of form, his idiosyncrasies, his proximity to Jagmohan Dalmiya and — though not many will agree at the moment — his having fought the establishment, meant that once he was down, he would have few friends.

Of late, he was struggling as a batsman and his low levels of fitness meant his time was up. Being dropped from the side even after he proved his fitness while scoring a scorching hundred in a Duleep Trophy game obviously meant nothing to a side that has almost — on the strength of Tendulkar, Dravid and Irfan Pathan — done the impossible.

Since Chappell is being seen as the new face of Indian cricket — though the Dravid-Tendulkar combine deserves no less credit — it is very much possible that the selectors have no choice but to agree with the coach that “Ganguly is the most corrupting influence on the team”.

Tendulkar has an iron will. He complements his prodigious skills with a rigorous training regimen that would be the envy of a monk. Imagine, the man hit a double hundred in the Sydney Test in 2003 without hitting a single drive on the off side. Only because he had been dismissed a number of times earlier while trying to play similar strokes.

Today, when Tendulkar is not sure how long his fitness will last and realises that immortality and mortality go hand in hand, he is back defying the logic of safety.

In contrast, Ganguly, a much lesser talent, will have to draw inspiration from Tendulkar if he believes he can still make a comeback.

First Published: Oct 29, 2005 02:54 IST