The new selection committee for Indian cricket elected last Saturday turned out to be a boon for the Calcuttan Prince Surav Ganguly who has found a berth in team India for the first two matches in the forthcoming test match series against Australia.
This is the second comeback Ganguly has made in recent years after he was written off from the Indian cricket team. This may be partly because of the change of guard at the selection committee.
The Chairman of the new selection committee, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and selectors Raja Venkat and Yashpal Sharma were always critical of the untimely exit of Saurav Ganguly from the Indian cricket team.
The City of Joy (Kolkata) could not have got a better Durga Puja gift than the return of favourite Dada into the Indian cricket team and Kolkatans celebrated this news by bursting crackers and dancing in the streets of Kolkata.
Saurav made his first comeback when Vengsarkar rooted for him against the wishes of the then coach Gregg Chappell after the dismal performance of the Indian cricket team in the one-day internationals against South Africa.
Ganguly justified his recall into the Indian cricket team by scoring 1,571 runs in the test matches against South Africa notching up an average of 50.67 runs. He also scored the maiden double century of his career in this stint. Subsequently, Gregg Chappell ceased to be the Indian coach following the debacle at the World Cup when the Indian team failed to qualify in the preliminary round of super 8.
Ganguly’s selection is believed to be part of a compromise package by virtue of which senior players are likely to get an honourable sendoff.
In spite of his advancing age, Saurav Ganguly, displays enough class at the age of 36! From his debut in 1992, Ganguly has scored 6,888 runs in 109 test matches averaging 41.74 runs. Similarly, he has played 311 one-day internationals and he has posted 11,363 runs at an average of 41.02 runs.
Ganguly’s last significant contribution was the 86 runs he scored against Australia at Nagpur in October 2007. His batting average against Australia in 20 test matches is 31.73 which is not as good as his overall average of 41.74 runs in test matches.
Ganguly played in the last test series against Sri Lanka this year. He scored 96 runs in three test matches averaging 16 runs. India lost the series to Sri Lanka with a tally of 2-1.
Ganguly played his last one-day international on November 15, 2007 against Pakistan at Gwalior.
This time the Australian team has arrived with Tim Nielsen as its coach and Gregg Chappell as its assistant coach. Gregg Chappell is expected to help the Australian team by capitalizing on the weaknesses of the Indian players which he had learnt as their coach.
The new selection committee is playing safe with experienced batsmen Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman in the team as we are pitted against Australia which is the world’s number one team at present. The Inclusion of Badrinath in the list of 15 players must give the other batsmen a run for their money!