The man has 11,000 runs and more in one-day cricket. The year 2007 saw him score 1240 runs in 32 matches. But unfortunately all this is just not enough to earn a place in the one-day side. No, not for a certain Mr. Sourav Ganguly. 16 years experience just doesn't suffice. Ah! You see he does not field very well, so it's time to move over, former captain of India.
The Board for Cricket Control in India, is a strange outfit. Most of their actions baffle and when they do something that actually benefits cricket in India, one is in a state of shock. This recent most decision to get rid of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid for the one-day squad, borders on the ridiculous. Sure, it makes sense to wean off the senior members, but not when we are pitted to play in a triangular that features the world cup finalists, Australia and Sri Lanka.
India will now go into this 15 match tri series, with a very young batting line up and a bowling force that has shown that it has mettle in the longer version of the game. A beaming bowling coach, Venkatesh Prasad has lauded the bowlers and rightly so, but remember this is for Test cricket. How well they will adapt to the one day game, will be known soon. But back to the question of why experienced and capable cricketers like Ganguly and Dravid were dropped from the side.
Actually, it makes little sense to ask why? This is the BCCI after all and they will do as they please, but this whole spiel about young team and agile fielders holds good, only to a point. There is talk about how, the one-day captain MS Dhoni expressed his uneasiness in dealing with seniors, but till he confesses to saying this, the rumour remains one. If there is any truth in that story, then very quickly, the respect for this man from Ranchi will hit an all time low in my books, as in a lot of other cricket lovers eyes!
For now, the real question is where does Sourav go from here. Let's remember the focus is on the man who has done so well, post the infamous Greg Chappell episode. It takes guts and sheer self belief to prove oneself, and get back into the team, that he once captained! Some people had written him off and others wanted him back where he belongs. After 11 months of battling the odds, and making sure that he earned his place back, Ganguly was batting like old times, but with that air of added maturity. Those poetic off drives and sheer timing of the ball were back. The 'Dada' of the team returned to the place that he deserved to be in.
The home Test series prior to the all important, away tour to Australia, saw India take on Pakistan. Sourav Ganguly, was a sight to behold as he amassed 534 runs including his personal best of 239. He was named the man of the series and with this performance riding on his back, he traveled down under to play a prominent part in the matches to come. All this was just fine and was going according to the script he had written for himself.
But, after the amazing win at Perth, where Ganguly, ironically had not performed, the high spirits of winning, were soon doused with the realization that he was not part of the one-day side. Quite understandably, Ganguly must not have expected this, as he would have considered himself to be an important part that forms the backbone of the team. Instead he would have to walk away, knowing that his future as a one-day player, was soon looking bleak.
The fighter within him must be aroused, but whether the learned selectors will find a role for a man who has not only charismatically led the Indian team, but who has also contributed and donned the mantle of senior player effectively, is something only they can answer.
In the meantime, this Geoffery Boycott's 'Prince of Calcoota' will take to the stage of the 22 yards once again for his country, in the 4th and final Test match of the series, in Adelaide. Behind those intelligent eyes, when that smile appears, we shall know that the Prince will live on to see another day. Yes, despite the esteemed selection committee.