The best man for the job
Standing in the balcony (a tiny space that barely accommodates half a team) Sourav Ganguly agonised over team selection. As the management could not decide between a spinner or an extra medium pacer, the final choice was left to the captain.Updated: Feb 07, 2003 00:53 IST
Standing in the balcony (a tiny space that barely accommodates half a team) Sourav Ganguly agonised over team selection. As the management could not decide between a spinner or an extra medium pacer, the final choice was left to the captain.
This is a problem, muttered an exasperated Sourav, putting on the India blazer and striding down the steps for the toss. People think captaincy is about heavy strategy and big plans, but it is more about basic decisions. Inputs come from others but the captain has to make up his mind, and accept responsibility for what he does.
Sourav takes these complications in his stride. He will crib and moan and scream about the tension and relentless scrutiny but actually enjoys the pressure. Whenever there is a challenge, he's the type (as is Dravid) to put up his hand and volunteer.
Critics find Sourav's style excessively abrasive, say he is neither tactically brilliant nor clever with words. They fault his work ethic and point out that even in this age of athletic khiladis, he is the last to enter the gym. Others defend Sourav, saying this is irrelevant as long as he delivers and is the best man for the job.
The ordinary fan loves Sourav for his aggressive, unbending attitude. Here is a kaptan who does not blink first and is unwilling to take rubbish, someone who will slip under the skin of Nasser Hussain and Steve Waugh, two of the toughest professionals in cricket.
Sourav is not bothered about being nice, he has a job to do and if that means he must discard his clothes at Lord's or wear coloured training shoes for the toss or even tell the selectors not to mess around, then so be it. He talks tough, does not offer excuses, does not hesitate to blast colleagues when they cock up.
Players respect him for more than his cover drive. They call him Dada or Dadi and trust him because they know there is no deception there. He is upfront, transparent and direct — he does not play games with people, supports players he has faith in and is untouched by bias.
Contrast this with captains before him who went about their business in a roundabout manner.
The World Cup will be Sourav's sternest test ever. This is the chance to touch glory, to become a cricket immortal. But if you play and miss, then there will be big mess to handle.
First Published: Feb 07, 2003 00:53 IST