Time to tell Ganguly goodbye: Wadekar
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Time to tell Ganguly goodbye: Wadekar

As uncertainty over Sourav's immediate future continues, Ajit Wadekar said it was time to show the door to the ex-skipper.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 15:10 IST

As the uncertainty over Sourav Ganguly's immediate cricketing future continues, former Indian captain Ajit Wadekar has said it was time to show the door to the ex-skipper.

Wadekar, also a former coach and chief selector, said even if Ganguly was picked for the Test series against England, it would only be a stop-gap arrangement and the ex-skipper must realise that his days as an international cricketer were over.

"There is no harm (in Ganguly being included in the side) but I suppose the time has come. The Aussies told Steve Waugh when it was time for him to step down," he said.

"Let us be frank. Let us face the fact. The team is winning without Sourav, the youngsters are doing well and it is time to tell Sourav 'thank you very much. This is your last year', it should be like that," he said.

Wadekar, who was chairman of selectors when both Ganguly and skipper Rahul Dravid made their Test debuts in England in 1996, said the team management was "forced" to include Ganguly in the team for the Test series against Pakistan but the move to open the batting with Dravid to find space for the ex-skipper triggered the current crisis.

"I think that was wrong. We had three specialist openers, and they were thinking of Sourav also as a opener, just to accommodate him."

Asked who was to be blamed for the present confusion, the former Indian coach said, "the team management basically. We did not have the right batsman to face the new ball.

"It was forced but they (team management) are not going to accept it. There was no need for it because the youngsters have done extremely well. But if he (Ganguly) is in the team, he has to be treated properly.

"You cannot keep him in reserve, let him open if he wants to."

Wadekar, however, was all praise for Dravid's decision to take up the responsibility of opening the batting in Pakistan.

"He is a guy who leads from the front. Look at the difference between him and Inzamam. He decided to open the batting himself, even against Chappell's wishes, because he wanted to shield Sourav, whereas Inzamam tried to shield himself by coming in at number six (in the one-dayers)," he said.

"Dravid is a thinker and a cool guy. The youngsters respect the way he conducts the game and he scores runs so they adore him as well."

On England's tour of India, Wadekar said the team led by Graham Gooch in 1993 was perhaps the strongest to have come to India but the one captained by Michael Smith in 1963-64 was perhaps more balanced.

"I think the side led by Smith was better balanced. It had Ken Barrington, Ted Dexter among others. I did not play, of course, but I could see their performance."

England have so far visited India 11 times in more than 70 years of Test rivalry between the two teams and they have won only four series in India. In 46 Tests on Indian soil, the hosts have a 12-10 head to head record over their former colonial rulers.

Wadekar felt their attitude to a tour of the subcontinent had something to do with it. "They come with a suspicious mind - 'the wicket is going to be bad, climate is going to go against them', as if it is in our hands," he said.

"They want all the facilities in the world, which we don't get when we go there. We have a lot to talk about them but we don't grumble, we just focus on our cricket. So by the time they get out of that mindset, the tour is over."

Asked why England have traditionally been weak against spin bowling, the former Indian captain said it had to do with the fact that they did not have a quality spinner in their ranks.

"First, they have not produced many great spinners. They had (Graham) Lock and (Jim) Laker but not many whom you could name.

"Second, the wickets there are soft and the heavy climate means the ball is always moving. So they have had medium pacers. And the counties also go for saving points, that is their attitude."

On Derek Underwood, England's legendary spinner of 1970s, Wadekar said, "he was the kind of bowler who could be compared with Bapu Nadkarni. He always bowled on the same spot.

"If you gave him a turner, and because he was quicker, he could be very nasty. But we were able to cope with him even on turning wickets because we were used to such type of bowling."

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 15:10 IST