Vantage point

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Some Thoughts on the Indo-Pak Series

What a day to be a Ganguly fan! And I am not talking about me or the millions around India, but Ganguly himself (remember this post of mine?). I can not imagine how he is fighting the urge to gloat and strut around, yelling in the media's face - "Who's your daddy now, bitch?" He has been rewarded for his positive intent which I noted even in the first test at Delhi. Since then he has just kept going on and on. This whole test match has been about being your own biggest supporter, as all the three centurions have shown.
No matter who stays, who goes, who rules, and what changes are made, Pakistan cricket's richness as a source of hilarity continues. Take Shoaib Akhtar. When he is fit, he is often kept out of the side for reasons ranging from disciplinary action to ego issues. And when he is unfit he is doggedly included in the side, after which he proeeds to break down in his second spell. As if doing this wasn't funny enough in Kolkata, they repeated their mistake in Bangalore. And the back-up bowling is of a club-level. That Mohammad Sami continues to have a test career is more baffling than the fact that Mani Shankar Aiyyar continues to have a political career. It is funny that the Indian factory of quality spinners and the Pakistani factory of quality seamers have both shut down production.
It is only deserving that Anil Kumble will end the 27-year drought of home series victories for India against Pakistan. He is a man who has defied all expectations over the years and yet never been properly rewarded. The traditional bias against handing the captaincy to a bowler has meant both he and Indian cricket have been punished. But his being captain, apart from giving us a shrewd and aggressive brain in charge, also means no batsman is under the dual pressure that every Indian captain in recent years has experienced. Even Dravid has started playing positively like he did in his purple patch of 03-04. He was dismissed cheaply this time, but you can't help but feel that a big one from him is around the corner.