Friday, October 15

Thoughts on dada

We have the right, and all the ease in the world, to criticise the players and the choices that are made regarding team composition, strategy and performance. We can be candid, opinionated and not worry, for we have nothing to lose. There is one man, though, who is involved in all of these who probably has the most to lose.

Saurav Ganguly has been an inspirational leader, result-forcing cricketer and quite often, a winning captain. Along with his team, his every move is subject to public opinion, condemnation, analysis and general gyaan. His decisions and choices can make him the most loved man in the country for a day or the most villified. There are vicious calls for his head, in the face of (one) Bangalore debacle. The achievments since 2002 can so easily be forgotten. He is one who will always be looking over his shoulder. Or at least, will see many knives if he bothers to look over his shoulder.

How often in the past has it happened that we have (selectorially) resorted to new ideas mid way through series and tours, as stricken moves during bad performances. But therein lies one of Ganguly's greatest (if not the greatest) strengths as a leader. All his actions, strategies and decisions are borne out of a deep sense of belief. He develops faith in players and team combinations, and that Faith has its root deep in his belief system. It is this very faith that often leads to what seems like (and maybe sometimes has been) inflexibility. Yet it is this very faith that has made his boys rally around him and give him their best shot.

Sauravda could easily have been another captain who threw up his hands (or let the media do it for him) about the lack of specialist openers, consistent new ball bowlers and other pitfalls. Instead he chooses to work with the options and those he believes are the best available. He chooses to place his faith in the options he chooses, and chooses to back them. It is this fundamental leadership quality that has allowed him to bind this team together like no other in the recent past.
And it is this faith and belief that has seen Yuvraj still in the playing XI, and still with a chance, with new opprtunities. The same for Zaheer Khan. In making these choices, Ganguly is putting his own thinking on the line. He is not taking the easy way out, panicking and making changes that will not reflect badly on him- whose failure will not be his responsibility. But with the choices he has always made, he has been ready to put his own head on the block. If Yuvraj fails again, it will be viewed not only as a waste of his talent, but also a failure on his captain's part.

But this captain is ready to take these chances, he is ready to stand behind his players, and he believes they will justify his faith in them
The only problem in this lies in the ease with which he can be made to look silly. It remains to be seen if the people involved in the decisions can make him look good, again. Make his passionate otulook-derived from faith- look also, like insightful acumen.

This has been a tad scratchy and hurriedly jotted down, but it is also 1.30 in the morning.

1:55am- Sambit Bal makes a very nice point about Ganguly and the BCCI. He is especially right about how you can fault Ganguly for many things, but not for the worst thing you could pick.

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