Ganguly and the media's rescue act

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Monday, April 16, 2001, 17:00 [IST]
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Bangalore: Despite India's thrilling comeback series win, one really feels for Ganguly for even after a series win it looks like he will not be able to really savour the triumph, with a lot of views and counter views doing the rounds.

There have been raging debates over how much of a role he played in the victory with many critics and supporters locking themselves in a literal verbal duel; airing their opinions through the media (print, Internet and television).

All one has to say is that Ganguly has only himself to blame for this reluctance on the part of the knowledgeable public to hand him credit for this series win. If he really deserved it, I think the verdict would have been unanimous but the fact that there is so much debate tells a story.

First, his contribution during the series has not been strong and second, that he definitely seems to have irked quite a few people.

Touching on the second topic before I go to the contribution part, even before he assumed the role of captaincy there was a streak of selfishness in him, which used to pop up every now and then. After he took over the reigns, he definitely carried an air of arrogance around him. Having said that, it is not fair to criticise somebody just because he carries an air of arrogance around him because what you see might not be what actually is.

So let's get down to just cricketing aspects. Well, one need not have to study Ganguly's contribution in order to hurl or not hurl criticism at him for it is so overwhelmingly staked against him.

You can run out of form when it comes to batting (in his case every time Australia's around he seems to lose his touch), but when it comes to fielding there are simply no excuses. Thanks to his teammates, India survived despite his pathetic display. He dropped so many crucial catches, boy! His teammates really did bail him and India out.

Yes, best of fielders do grass catches but in Ganguly's case one only could bow one's head in shame, for being an Indian supporter you had your captain displaying sub-standard fielding.

Regarding his batting it is such a pity to see somebody being brought down so low. At the Test level the quality of Ganguly's batting has always carried a question mark around it. Being such a prolific scorer against not so highly placed teams, the so-called Maharaja has fallen short when it came to topsides. Forget being prolific he hasn't come close to being prolific.

So that leaves only one area with regards to contribution and that is captaincy. Well, no one can argue a series win and although Ganguly was not as bad with his captaincy (he did make a few good moves although one doesn't know if they were independent or collective), he did goof things up on quite a few occasions. Once again, his teammates did come to his rescue with some brilliant individual performances.

Actually, if you ask me, I think we have a case here for John Wright's role more than Ganguly's. The way in which his colleagues bailed him out on most times goes to show that John Wright has quietly been working behind the scene. We saw that Ganguly offered nothing for the team to look up to be it his batting or his fielding. So the pointers are heavily marked in Wright's favour.

Coming back to Ganguly, no doubt he has got gut in his belly but the composition of his heart is the one that I suppose is having him see this day.

A day where he needs support from the media to fight for his cause despite a victory against a champion side - albeit at home.

There is no doubt Ganguly has stuff and nobody intends to put anybody down but the converse should also hold good. Nobody should unnecessarily put somebody where they don't yet belong. Certain facts have to be faced and in Ganguly's case he definitely has fallen short of the mark, for now.

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