02 December, 2020

Mind The Gangway, Cap'n

Can Ganguly rebuild the team he built? His first hurdle is Ganguly the batsman.

Mind The Gangway, Cap'n
One reason why the Indian cricket team's captaincy is the most difficult job in sport is that a very large percentage of this country's very large population considers itself better equipped to handle it than the incumbent. This tribe fell on bad days when Saurav Chandidas Ganguly first walked out to toss with Bangladesh's Naimur Rehman on November 10, 2000. The way Ganguly transformed a rudderless and drifting team into one that defied the odds has forced admiration out of even his fiercest rivals and critics—among them Steve Waugh and John Buchanan—for his grit, determination and man management.

Which is why it was tragic to see him linger on after losing his wicket to Shahid Afridi on the fifth afternoon of the Bangalore Test. Until umpire Simon Taufel, at the second attempt, succeeded in conveying that the ball had shattered the stumps without any extraneous help, Ganguly was a picture straight out of a Greek tragedy. It wasn't obstinacy that made him hang on—in competitive sport, that would count as a virtue—merely a hopeless wish that reality would go...


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