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    January 06, 2006

    Raj Singh Dungarpur, a master of timing

    Raj Singh Dungarpur, the manager of the Indian side which begins tomorrow with a three day warmup game against Pakistan 'A', launched a broadside at former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly.

    In an interview with a news channel 'Aaj Tak', he claimed that John Wright had on several occasions expressed frustration over Ganguly's attitude, lack of form and poor fitness. Raj Singh reckoned that Wright was unable to do anything about it and that he too felt that the laziest member of the side and the worst fielder could never be a good role model.

    This isn't the first time Dungarpur has shown his senility. A few years ago, probably during the India-Australia series in 2001, he walked into the dressing room and in front of the entire team apparently told Dravid that he should prepare to take over the captaincy because Ganguly was a miserable failure.

    Dungarpur is most famously credited in Indian cricket for coining the phrase 'Team of the 90s' when he was (possibly) chairman of the selection committee, which resulted in Mohinder Amarnath famously declaring the selectors to be 'a bunch of jokers'.

    It doesn't require an Archimedes to reason that Wright was certainly right about Ganguly's fitness, attitude and form. However, what is questionable, and unacceptable to me, is a team manager badmouthing a player who will be part of the touring squad. Admittedly Dungarpur's comments could have been a result of the questions posed to him. But he is a man who never likes to stay out of the limelight. So he obliged the interviewer with choice quotes.

    Mind you, he will probably clarify that he was merely quoting what Wright told him and that these weren't necessarily his opinions. Why bother to do so? Why do so at the beginning of such a high profile tour? Why did he not reveal this all along, given that it is now over eight months since Wright quit?

    I see two possible outcomes:

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:11 pm |
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    2 sledge(s):

    Raj singh might not be the perfect diplomat while it comes to personnel relations, but at least he is candid about Ganguly's attitude and disposition. To be fair to Saurav, he has been an influence on Indian cricket in 2001-2003, but whether he deserves to retain his place more as a Maharaja and less as a role model (and a player who commans a place in the playing 11), is surely questionable. I would have been very pleased if (as one Sunil Gavaskar put it), Saurav would have voluntarily quit when people asked "Why and not Why Not"

    By Blogger puri (07-Jan-2006, 10:32:00 am)  

    puri: The issue is _not_ whether Ganguly is a good player or not. It is fairly obvious, like I mention, that he hasn't batted well for a long while and is not a good fielder. My question relates to why Dungarpur was talking about this _now_. It is easier said than done, quitting when people ask why rather than why not. There is always the fond hope for one last hurrah to make the critics eat humble pie. Mark Waugh was shown the door, Steve Waugh was basically forced to announce that the Ind-Aus series in 2003/4 would be his last one. Healy was shown the door. Viv Richards, Kapil Dev .. a lot of greats have lingered around for that one series extra. Hussain saw the writing on the wall and read it fine. I can't think of too many who've quit on their own terms. Gavaskar, Taylor, Imran, Hadlee ... who else?

    By Blogger Jagadish (07-Jan-2006, 3:47:00 pm)  


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