Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cricket Talibanism

I didn't intend this as a post. It was a comment on 'GreatBong's' post which I reached by navigating some of the blogs I read. The guy writes well, and more importantly, with passion. He insisted that I put it up on my blog as it was a "concise" and "excellent" comment on the Ganguly issue. My vanity tickled, I'm putting it up:

The day India was routed at Eden Gardens - and it was a walloping if I've ever seen one - I got a sms from a Bengali friend of mine in Kol: ``Given the high performance-based standards that has now been set for Team India, do you think Chappell should be dropped from the next match?'' I couldn't help smiling. Yes, take this performance biz to the level of absolutism, you'll be unforgiving to any failure, Chappel's included. Now, this kind of absolutism about performance is like a frightening kind of capitalism that doesn't brook human foibles or follies, let alone failures. Take it a little forward, there's little to differentiate between this and any kind of fundamentalism. You can call it Cricket Talibanism.

Am I stretching the point? I don't think so. Fundamentalism often becomes a tool to screw opponents on the basis of a bogus belief. In this case, Chappell has invoked a fundamentalism called performance to screw Ganguly with whom he didn't get along and who probably questioned his absolutist methodology. It's a coach's job to create harmony of views and faith among the players in his methods, right? He can't demand all of this on a platter. But Chappel did. And a bunch of supine cricket administrators, themselves under threat from an opposing camp, caved in to Chappell's demands and Ganguly was sacrificed. (By the way, one of the biggest media misses has been its take on the fateful Mumbai meeting in which Ganguly and Chappell deposed - it reported a Ganguly victory whereas it was exactly the opposite.)

Ganguly, of course, didn't help his cause. He was playing badly and seemed lazy both on and off the ground. It was the same mental laziness which made him a sucker to the belief that he could skip the Challengers' Trophy at Mohali and yet remain captain. He should have been dropped for this - I don't have a quarrel with that. What I have a quarrel with is the nature of his removal. A spurious thing called performance was invoked - and strangely the guy was performing, statistically at least as well as Sehwag or Sachin - and denied the chance of quitting in grace. Instead, we as a people have acquiesced in an act of shocking ungratefulness towards a cricketer who revived Indian cricket and has served the game as well as any of its heroes.

The good thing is that, pressed to the wall (no pun), Ganguly is fighting back. He has done this in the past. Remember him being dropped from the squad after his phenomenal debut in England? I don't know if he'll succeed, but I'll be immensely pleased if he fights back for his pride and salavages some of it before bidding adieu to this game of sharks called cricket.


Blogger GREATBONG said...

Excellent let me say again. You really touched one of the nervepoints of this issue.....

8:20 AM  
Blogger papamali said...

Trying hard to be there too! I have a DVD of Guy playing on the Festival Express (1970) with the likes of Janis, the Dead, the Band and a host of others. Would be great to watch the 69-year-old live!

5:04 AM  
Blogger Ashit Sinha said...

I think there is only one question that needs to be answered:
Was there politics involved in dropping Sourav Ganguly?

My observations:
1. After removing Sourav as Captain of the Indian Cricket team, he was also dropped from the ODI team. Communication of this happening wasnt great.
2. Media reported that if Sourav has to win back his place, then he has to perform as performance was the yardstick because of which he was dropped.
3. Sourav had got a century against Zimbabwe in an away test match before being sacked & dropped. He has also been the most succesful captain in India's history.
4. Sourav performed well in the domestic tournaments both with the bat & the ball. He also performed well in the 2nd test with good individual score & good partnerships at crucial times.
5. People who say 'Anyway he was included in the team as an allrounder because of politics' fail to see that justice is not being done to the individual concerned.

If performance in an away test match & in domestic cricket is not the yardstick to judge someone, then how does a person prove himself?

9:57 AM  

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