Ganguly-Chappell saga continues

As the battle unfolds, Dungarpur, Bhajji, Pawar, Bindra and others have thrown their views into the muddle. In short, it stinks.

As media reports continue to trickle in, it has becoming increasingly clear that it was a case of plain battle for control. Ganguly is used to his Dada status while Greg Chappell considers himself a Daad in his own right. But the fact is that a Daad doesn’t make a Dada! And so the clash. Oh well..

Here is my list of top 10 things the special committee should do:

10. Scream at Ganguly for discussing the issue in public.
09. Give both Ganguly and Chappell a chance to comment and respond.
08. Ask Ganguly to take a break.
07. Inform Chappell that his performance and his rapport with the team will be reviewed in six months time with the same committee.
06. Name a new captain: Rahul Dravid, Kumble, or Kaif (wild card).
05. Warn Bhajji and ask him to shut up.
04. Investigate and nail the guy who leaked the email to the press.
03. Invite Chappell to the selection meeting and ask him for his choice of captain and his 18 best players.
02. Talk to the team about the issue to gauge where each of them stands on the issue. (will come in handy when its time to fire Dada’s chelas).
01. Ask Jaggu-bhai (Dalmiya) what he is doing in the meeting!

Ganguly-Chappell saga

Enough is enough! I think Saurav Ganguly should go. The performance of the team has been on a sharp decline for the last few years now and someone has to be held accountable. Indian sportsmen with all their sponsorship and media glare, never want to leave the limelight. So chances are Ganguly will never leave until he’s replaced. Its sad to see that Indian cricketers have to be dragged off the stage. Just look at the Australians. Damian Martyn is a classic example. One series slump and he is out the door, possibly never to return and just look at how gracious the guy is. He says he’s hurt and that’s about it, no name calling, no nothing. That’s class. That’s why the Aussies have been consistently good for so long. Having Chappell around will help Indian players imbibe some of that class and professionalism, hopefully.

Ganguly’s time has come in my opinion to take a break from the game and try and fight his way back if he so desires. A professional coach like Chappell has made his comments as an intimate observer of the team over the last few months and its critical that the powers that be (whoever they might be) take his advice seriously. I hope Dalmiya (Jaggubhai) doesn’t play his magic and dump Chappell in favor of Dada (his Calcutta bandhu!). But the party ain’t over yet, wonder whose email is next….

Flintoff’s claim

Flintoff claims that he was shot at while playing a ODI in Delhi. What a completely ridiculous claim! I am glad the Delhi cricket officials trashed the claim right away. I am sure he lost a few million fans in India with that one claim of his! I guess “Being Freddie” means making ridiculous claims, sometimes!

Arlen Spector brings up a good point

With Judge Roberts confirmation a given, the Democrats worst nightmare is just round the corner. In this juncture, Sen Arlen Spector’s suggestion today with regard to naming Jude O’Connor’s replacement was a pretty good one, I think…

Specter suggested that the president wait awhile, and said he had talked to O’Connor about staying on through the full 2005-06 term.

“It would be quite a sacrifice for her, but she’s prepared to do it if she is asked,” Specter said. “By next June we’ll know a lot more about Judge Roberts … than we do today.”

see full report

Sachin to miss super series

Its sad that Sachin will miss the exciting Super series that is just round the corner. On the one hand I am glad that he is taking his time to return. On the other hand I have a suspicion that this injury is mighty serious and the master batsman Sachin that we all know off might be a thing of the past (like some of his critics claim).

Whatever be the case, I hope Sachin bids his goodbye when the time comes on his own terms. It will be awful to see Sachin quit all of a sudden without a flourish or be dragged out of the team like Kapil (Ganguly?) and so many others in Indian cricket.

Pathan strikes, again

Irfan Pathan grabbed 7 wickets immediately after a fine all rounder show in the first test against Zimbabwe. I can’t remember the last time (since Kapil Dev?) that an Indian player scored over fifty runs and took so many wickets in two successive tests. I just hope he can maintain his good form. He is clearly the best of the current lot of bowlers.

Arnie vs. Bill Clinton for California?

Arnie announced last Fri that “he’ll be back” running for re-election in 2006. The Democrats have a battle on their hands. I think, despite his low ratings, Arnie will come back to power unless Democrats field a very strong visible candidate. At present neither State Controller Steve Westly or State Treasurer Phil Angelides meet this requirement in my opinion.

There are rumors that another movie star (Warren Beatty) or maybe even Bill Clinton might run for Governor of California. Frankly, I think it will be a great match up if Bill Clinton took on the challenge (I sure hope he does). With Hillary planning for White House bid in 2008, having hubby Bill in-charge of California might not be a bad after all?

Yusuf Youhana turns to Islam: Religion in Sports

I was surprised to read about Youhana converting to Islam. Everytime he scores a century, Youhana diligently looked upto the heavens and gestured with the Christian cross sign. So I got the feeling that he was a devout Christian. His permanent presence in the Pak team in the company of Danish Kaneria gave the Pak team semblance of diversity and secularism. Now that is no longer the case. Wonder what is going through Danish Kaneria these days as the odd man out.

Over the years, I have noticed that the Pak team has had an increasing tendency to indulge in a public display of religious fervor — the joint prayers on the field, the captains reference to Allah prior to answering interview questions etc. I don’t see the need to mix religion and sports, especially when games are emotionally charged affairs and spectators on both sides can get out of hand fairly quickly.

I am not against any religion, nor am I against the Pak team, but I think it will help everyone and the game in general if sportstars keep their religious displays off the field. There is enough communal trouble in the world as is, let visible individuals (who automatically become role models) like sportstars downplay religion rather than promote it.

Sourav-Chappell saga

Its very unfortunate that Ganguly chose to go public about his internal squabbles. Personally, I have a lot of respect for Ganguly and what he has done for India cricket. Unfortunately, it appears as though he is going through the same crisis faced by most India sportsman (politicians included) about when to call it quits. Of all the Indian cricketers, I think Sunil Gavaskar is the only one who went out on his own terms. Pretty much every India top star has been dragged out at the end of his career: Kapil Dev, Vishwanath, Vengsarkar, Bedi, etc.

In the case of Ganguly, I think the intense pressure just got to him. He probably knows that his days in the team and as captain are numbered for many reasons possibly even beyond his performance. So he proably thought that with a century behind him he could build up some support!

The commission scheduled to meet later this month includes Gavaskar, Shastri, Venkataraghavan, Chappell and R. S Mahendra (the Board President). While Mahendra has past scores to settle, Chappell has his reputation at stake and will do whatever it takes to build Team India. The others are tough task masters and will feel the onus of setting the direction for the Indian team for the years to come. In short, it a pseudo selection committee where the stakes are high. Its good to know that Chappell is trying to clean house and I hope he succeeds. I still think Ganguly is a good captain, but it appears as though the standards set by Chappell are a little too much for him. If this is true he must go.