Flashback: Inside The Dark – A Decade To Celebrate (Part 4)




Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell

Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell

Team India saw people lament in insecurity as they and the players in the team realized it is going to be a tussle between Ganguly and Chappell. Only one of them could probably win it or in others words one is definitely going to lose it. Given the way things were going, it wasn’t probably going to go in Ganguly’s way, it was believed. They weren’t disappointed to say the least.

Also Read:  Flashback: The Mid-decade Crisis – A Decade To Celebrate (Part 3)

Following the victories in the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka, in which Ganguly was said to be rested, he was dropped from the team. The results the team produced in Greg’s honeymoon period wasn’t disappointing so people didn’t complain. India produced amazing results against Sri Lanka winning the series 6-1 and then doing well to level the series against South Africa, winning the ODI series in Pakistan etc.

The first blow for him as a coach came after he made a sly remark about the West Indies after winning the first ODI saying,  ‘‘West Indies have forgotten how to win’’. Peeved by such a remark, the home team won the next four ODIs. That was probably the beginning of the decline as the team followed it up with losses in the next season. The performances in South Africa against the home team in the ODI series didn’t please anybody and former players and to an extent even the players who wrote-of Ganguly wanted him back in the team.

As expected Ganguly was back in the test series that followed and the comeback saw the south-paw playing test cricket better than ever. Very soon he was picked in the ODI side in the West Indies where he staged a fantastic ODI comeback. He followed it up with a man of the series in the series against Sri Lanka. But then, India always did well at home even without Ganguly.

The performances in the World Cup 2007 were indeed forgettable but people didn’t. Losing to Bangladesh by that kind of a margin cannot be forgotten that easily. Minnow bashing was evident as India thrashed Bermuda and then lost to Sri Lanka in the decisive game in which the lion-hearted captain was the solo-warrior. The entire team collapsed against Sri Lanka and it was hard to believe that the team that started as favorites made such an early exit. Indian fans considered to be the most emotional among cricket fans, vented their grievances in various forms in public.

There was nothing more ludicrous than to ask Sachin to bat at No. 4. In the pursuit of stabilizing the middle-order, Chappell saw India losing the best opener in Sachin and master batsman losing his form. Ganguly’s form in the shorter format in the subcontinent didn’t help him either as he was unable to switch gears when it was needed. Uthappa was a last minute choice and going into such a huge event with a last minute choice is not going to help. Inept bowling backed up the mediocre batting as the team considered to be consisting of experienced bowlers couldn’t defend a score of 191 against a team like Bangladesh.

The man, who spurred controversy as he came, did not fail to do it as he left. He questioned the attitude of the seniors which included Sachin and youngsters like Yuvraj Singh.

His era finally ended as he decided to step down as coach citing “family and personal reasons.” The team decided to tour Bangladesh seeking revenge, after a month.

(Contd. Next Friday…)

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Gautham S.

Author:

Hi Folks! This is Gautham from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. I’m 20 and doing my final year in Mechanical Engineering at Thiagarajar College of Engineering. I’m a self confessed Cricket lover and I have a great fervor towards writing about the game. In the generations I’ve come across, I’ve loved watching Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat. Besides writing, I have great interest in singing and I’m a great fan of Hariharan and A.R.Rahman sir.

I would like to be remembered as one of the greatest sports journalists who changed the way their profession is perceived. I set myself performance goals and believe in giving a hundred percent in whatever I do. I thank God for giving me an opportunity to work with sports mirror so early in my career. I also thank my friends who made me believe in what I do and gave honest comments about my writing. God is great :)

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