Vantage point

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Leave Ganguly Alone

Everyone in India loves a scapegoat. And while heaping muck at that scapegoat, we lose sight of reason.

The scapegoat of the moment is Saurav Ganguly, the batsman. I am mentioning "batsman" since no one seems to have any credible and sustained criticism about his strategies or tactics as a captain. There is the complaint about the team's defensive approach, but one mistake alone can't be grounds for dismissal, can it?

So the criticism is centring around Ganguly the batsman. Does Ganguly, as a batsman, deserve to be dropped from the Indian team? Its a question that should not be hastily answered. Just 5 innings are too short a period to reach a judgement. Sure, he has failed in this series, but then all batsmen have troughs. Before jumping to conclusions, we need to see whether his failure with the bat has been consistent.

We also need to check if his failure has been very glaring as compared to his team-mates. Everyone knows that Sehwag has been scoring runs aplenty. How about Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman, the rest of the middle order? If they have been doing very well, but he has been failing, then the complaint is justified.

So let us take a look at his innings between the two Pakistan series. He did well in Bangladesh, but then they are minnows, so we will ignore that.

South Africa Kolkatta test
Dravid - 80
Tendulkar - 20
Ganguly - 40
Laxman - 38

South Africa Kanpur test
Dravid - 54
Tendulkar - 3
Ganguly - 57
Laxman - 9

Australia Chennai test
Dravid - 26
Tendulkar - DNB
Ganguly - 9
Laxman - 4

Australia Bangalore test
Dravid - 0 & 60
Tendulkar - DNB
Ganguly - 45 & 5
Laxman - 31 & 3

As we can see, he hasn't done too badly as compared to the others.

So let us give him some time. If he has an extended bad run in comparison to the rest of the team, maybe he should be dropped. But judging him on just 3 tests is not right.