Will Ganguly survive the onslaught?

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Thursday, August 9, 2001, 19:46 [IST]
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Bangalore: Once a revered cricketer now fighting to keep the eggs off his face, is Ganguly going down?

Not as yet and I don't think he will - at least as a cricketer he will survive, but is it worthwhile for a cricketer of his stature to indulge in egoistic behaviour? The recent few months suggest otherwise. The amount of damage Ganguly has brought upon himself by his so called aristocratic arrogance, I hope has served the 'Maharaja' a chilling notice.

Some of the recent expressions of disgust are a pointer of the drift that has come about.

The 'Indian Express' newspaper came down heavily on Ganguly in a front-page article, saying he was becoming "a royal pain".

"Indiscipline is not what ails Ganguly, it is only a symptom of the malaise called embryonic megalomania," the paper said.

"His aggressive appealing, anger, irritation on the field ... they all corner attention around him, around I, Me, Myself, Saurav Ganguly, captain," said the paper.

While many may feel that the paper is being too critical and probably so, but Ganguly's attitude is definitely not pleasant to say the least.

Recently he snubbed the press and a certain quarter of the media did not think well of that.

His demeanour emanates an unhealthy craving for success - one that is centered around the idol of Ganguly. One always saw a streak of selfishness in him but it looks like it has be fanned to lager proportions by the air of captaincy.

While as a cricketer, although he has not yet proven to be of truly international class, he definitely is of value to the team. He still has stuff that India can and needs to benefit from. As a captain he is not as bad as the recent results have shown but he is putting himself in harm's way by gargling the team's focal point and his egoistic desires in the jar of patriotism, which seems to be doing more harm than good.

That apart, a lot of his fans are beginning to grumble, a couple such go this way:

1) Ganguly is relatively more intelligent than Azhar and is, generally, well spoken but he has a narcissistic streak fanned by the hero worship in Bengal. Myself being a Bengali admit to that. We would like him back focussed on his batting and being more circumspect about his attitude. Even today he cited the dropped catch by Zaheer. Yes that maybe true but don't blame one man. What about the fact that the captain could not counter the other team's captain's innings? He should resign for a temporary period or does he feel so threatened that Dravid will do a better job? We need his aggression but not just smoke... with a bit of fire as well please.

2) Sorry but I have a very very strong opinion about this Ganguly. He can't even lead from the front as his batting performances have shown. But he is cheap enough that whenever he gets a chance he takes all the credit to himself and whenever his team fails to perform he blames the whole team. I can't even stand his face. He is not a good captain. The team is suffering because of him. The recent successes were not as a result of Ganguly's captaincy but because of some great individual performances. Now he can't even contribute to his team.

The BCCI too seems to have had enough.

Borde said, ''I am sure that Ganguly must be worried over his suspension and fine. I hope he will improve his behaviour.''

For India's sake and his own, one hopes he can mend his ways and be able to contribute to the greater good of India.

Will Ganguly make the journey form being known to be proud, egoistic and self- centred to being wise, prudent and humble? Only time will tell!

However, Ganguly still has hope as a couple of his die-hard fans suggest:

1) Ganguly does have qualities of a good captain. Media and some people are trying to malign him for reasons known to them only. He is the only unbiased captain India has ever had. India has never before shown fighting qualities. It's only under him that India has bounced back many times. Even Steve Waugh has acknowledged that with Australian media. My humble request to those who have any concern for India or the team, PLEASE DON'T DISTURB THE TEAM ANY MORE. I understand many people don't like him, but keep that at personal level. This man has been contributing for India's success since the day he joined international cricket. He may not have the excellence of Sachin or a cute face like Dravid, but his contributions are no less.

2) Well! I feel every cricketer has to go through a bad phase and Ganguly is going through his. I would also say that his personal life is affecting his game to a certain extent. He has to keep his calm and try and get back his batting form for his and the country's sake. God bless him. What is really annoying is his behaviour with his colleagues on the field; he has to be friendlier with his teammates.

In conclusion, the next few months will hold a tale to tell and all of us will be weighing things with viewpoints galore.

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