Ganguly comes under fire
Qaiser Mohammad Ali
India captain Sourav Ganguly, suspended for a match in the triangular one-day series in Sri Lanka, appears to
have few friends.
Former India Test spinner Maninder Singh even wants vice-captain
Rahul Dravid to take over captaincy from Ganguly, 29, who has been under
attack in recent times for his performance both on and off the field.
"Rahul should be made captain rightaway, and Sourav should be
relieved of the burden of captaincy so that he can concentrate on the faults
he has developed in his batting," Maninder Singh told IANS.
Ganguly has been struggling with the bat lately, the poor form
starting with the home series against Australia this year. He made only 14 runs
in the two Tests in Zimbabwe, but did slightly better in the triangular
one-day tournament later, scoring 197 runs five innings at 39.40.
In Sri Lanka, he has so far scored 78 runs from three matches,
with 69 coming against Sri Lanka on July 22.
International Cricket Council match referee Cammie Smith
suspended Ganguly for a one-day international for showing dissent when he
was given out leg before wicket against New Zealand in a Coca-Cola Cup tie
in Colombo on Thursday. Ganguly showed his bat to the umpire,
indicating that he had touched the ball with it before it hit his pads.
However, Ganguly's absence had little effect on the Indian team
Saturday, as it routed Sri Lanka by seven wickets to keep alive its chances of
reaching the August 5 final.
While terming Ganguly's gesture to the umpire as his "bad habit",
Maninder also pointed out inconsistent supervision by Smith, a former West
Indian Test batsman.
Chetan Chauhan, a former India opener and team manager, maintained
that if a player went against the laws of the game or its spirit, referees
are justified in taking strong action.
"I do not think ICC referees are biased against the Indians or
find them easy to punish (as some believe)," he explained. "Smith was by and
large okay during the series against Australia."
Gurcharan Singh, a former coach, also pulled up Ganguly. "Any
player who breaks the rule should be punished," he said. "Once you have been
given out, you have to go."
While stating that referees are not biased against India, he said
it all boils down to a player's attitude. "When some players reach the
highest level in Test cricket, they think they have become gods," remarked
Gurcharan. "It has everything to do with their temperament."
But Atul Wassan, a former pace bowler, termed Ganguly's suspension
too harsh, but said the left-hander's track record may have influenced
Many former players feel Ganguly's aggressive attitude often
attracts referees' wrath. But Wassan argued: "A player will always show
some natural reaction."
It is the third time Ganguly has been pulled up by an ICC referee
for showing dissent.
The first incident took place during the third Test against
Australia at Bangalore in 1998, when he was suspended from a one-day match by
referee Peter van der Merwe of South Africa. He showed dissent again while
playing against Zimbabwe last year.
Indo-Asian News Service