Bangalore :Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) national selection committee chairman Syed Kirmani today threw his weight behind the beleaguered Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly ahead of the much-hyped India-Pakistan ICC Champions Trophy clash in Edgbaston on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with Thatscricket.com, Kirmani said Ganguly was doing a good job at the helm and as such there was no cause for any concern on that front. "There is nothing wrong with his captaincy. He has marshalled his troops quite well and moulded the side into a winning outfit in the last few years."
"It's unfair to squarely lay the blame on the skipper just because the team is under-performing. But then, that's how life is. When the team is faring well, the captain gets all the accolades and again when the team is going through a bad patch, it's the skipper who gets the stick. I think it's something we would have to live with," he said.
The chief selector was however, not sure as to why the team is not able to show the same intensity, which was in full evidence during their successful sojourns of Australia and Pakistan. "See, I won't know why the team is not able to display the same form which saw them scaling new heights in Australia and Pakistan. The boys have to show some mental toughness, stay focussed and believe in themselves, which could be the way forward for the team at this point of time," he said calling spade a spade.
Referring to the Sunday's high-voltage clash with archrivals Pakistan, the suave, mild-mannered former India glove-man said the match had all the ingredients of a humdinger. "An India-Pakistan match is never dearth of excitement. This time also it won't be any different. I hope India really pull up their socks and upstage the Pakistanis," he added.
On the ever-growing debate on whether India should play a specialist wicketkeeper or stick to the tried and trusted formula of asking Rahul Dravid to double up as wicketkeeper, Kirmani noted that a specialist keeper has to be seriously thought of in the long run.
"Rahul has done a fabulous job for the team for the past few seasons but at the same time we have to be on the lookout for playing a specialist keeper since it's a specialist job," he observed.
On the inclusion of rookie keeper Dinesh Kartik in the side, Kirmani said the youngster needs to get a fair crack of the whip before he can be judged. "First of all, he should be given a fair chance to show his wares. Cooling his heels in the dressing room would do no good to his confidence. Only by playing him in the eleven one can instil confidence in him and one can find out whether he's cut out for this level or not," he opined.
Asked whether Virender Sehwag's lean run with the bat could be attributed to shortfalls creeping into his technique, Kirmani said all these loose talk is doing the rounds only because runs have dried up from his bat.
"When he cracked that blazing 195 in Melbourne and later power-packed 309 in Multan, nobody was talking about his technique. Now that he is in the midst of a slump in form, people are asking questions about his technique."
"If with that same faulty technique as critics have made it out to be, he could score runs by the bundle, I'm sure he can do the same now. It's a cycle where there are good and bad phases. It's a matter of time before Sehwag comes out of the rut and delivers," he remarked.
On the spate of injuries, Indian bowlers have sustained in recent past, Kirmani said bowlers have to be honest if they want to further their careers by staying injury-free.
"Hiding injuries doesn't help anyone-neither the individual concerned nor the side. When a bowler tries to hide injuries and play with niggles, it's he who has to pay a price in the long run which in turn could even pan out to be a career-ending injury," he added.
On India's short-term bowling coach Bruce Reid's recent comment that left-arm spearhead Zaheer Khan is "mentally lazy" and does not work hard enough on his fitness, Kirmani offered a straight bat. "He (Reid) is entitled to his opinion. It won't be prudent for me to comment on that. In my book he is a fine bowler. It's as simple as that," he signed off.