Thursday, November 30, 2006
I suppose with a new selection committee at the helm, we should have expected nothing short of a complete U-turn in policy. And sure enough, Sourav Ganguly is back in the Indian middle order.
Make no mistake about it - he is going to play in each and every Test match on this tour. India won't go in with less than six batsmen, and as Gambhir is the spare opener, the lineup is going to read: Sehwag, Jaffer, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly. Yes, Ganguly, the man whose least favourite opponent is.... South Africa. He averages 27 against them for heaven's sake. And this is a pick to "lend solidity to the middle order?"
This is, it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway), a complete disaster for Indian cricket. After all the pain we had to go through to try and take a step forward, the long term planning has been jettisoned. A big step backwards that will serve no-one's interests, even if Ganguly in one series eclipses Mohammad Yousuf's new calendar year scoring record. Australia bringing back Michael Bevan would be a more positive move than this one.
Looks like the Vengsarkar selection committee is going to take us back to the good old days, and I guess that given that Kiran More has quite amusingly endorsed the choice, none of us should complain.
On the plus side, the appointment of VVS Laxman as vice-captain is probably an astute one. With Rahul Dravid an uncertain participant in the series at this juncture, Laxman is probably the right person to lead the side. He has long been highly regarded as far as his cricketing acumen is concerned, and it is rumoured that John Wright always felt that VVS was a FIC (With apologies to FEC Atherton). Either way, if India is to have a chance in this series, it is going to be down to Dravid and Laxman to deliver. Let the games begin.