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    November 22, 2005

    Dravid announced captain, yet again

    Rahul Dravid will lead India against Sri Lanka in the three test series which starts next month. Kiran More's statement "It's time for us to look ahead" effectively signals the end of Ganguly's hopes for regaining the captaincy.

    Ganguly can now only hope that he will be picked in the test side against Sri Lanka and the one day side for the remaining two one-dayers against South Africa. I think he will be picked, because if he isn't, then it is highly likely that Eden Gardens could be uninhabited during the game. In an interview to NDTV yesterday, he expressed confidence that he would be back. In the last few days, he has made a few conciliatory statements, resulting in speculation over his recall for the last couple of games against South Africa.

    The saga started in July when Dravid was named captain for the one-day series in Sri Lanka since Ganguly was still serving out the six match ban handed out by Chris Broad. However, the BCCI lobbied hard and managed to have another hearing, with the result being a reduction to four matches. He then joined the side in Sri Lanka and even played a couple of games with Dravid leading the side. India lost in the final.

    When the side to tour Zimbabwe was to be picked, Ganguly was named captain because he was available to be picked, and presumably because the selectors had chosen Dravid for Sri Lanka purely as a stop-gap measure. India lost the one-day series final but won the test series 2-0.

    While the series victory should have been heralded with fanfare for being India's first series win outside the sub-continent in nineteen years, the series will be best known for the controversy surrounding Ganguly's claim that he had been asked to resign as captain shortly before the first test. This led to speculation on whether coach Chappell was the one who had asked him to do so.

    Everyone's suspicions were confirmed when an email sent by Greg Chappell to a few board officials got leaked to the media. The email blasted Ganguly's attitude, fitness and form and made it abundantly clear that Ganguly didn't fit into his scheme of things. Innuendo and partisanship then took over, with teammates coming out in support of or against Ganguly and Chappell. Amidst speculation over who would blink first, the BCCI's review committee then announced that they were all one big happy family and that the issue would not be discussed further by players or the coach, happily leaving in a loophole for BCCI officials to exploit.

    Amidst this furore, Andrew Flintoff's autobiography revealed the extent to which he liked Ganguly, who then found support from his mates at Glamorgan.

    While his best option would have been to let his bat do the talking, Ganguly opted out of the Challenger Trophy, leaving the selectors with no option but to pick Dravid as captain for the series against Sri Lanka and South Africa while leaving Ganguly out for the first few games. The success of the Indian team meant that the selectors overlooked him in spite of a century in the Duleep Trophy.

    Given that he will now be picked purely because of his batting, the selectors need to be convinced that he can contribute with bat, and if possible, with ball as well. He also needs to be seen as a positive influence in the dressing room and put his decade long experience to use. There is no question that he has the ability with the bat. The question is about whether he is willing to swallow his pride, do the best with the rest of his career and take Indian cricket ahead as a foot-soldier rather than as a leader.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 1:30 PM |
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