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Prem's post

Last updated on: April 14, 2005 10:26 IST

I am disappointed. Very.

When the final tally came in, turns out you guys sent a total of 567 emails during the course of the fourth ODI at Ahmedabad.

That is less than the number of balls bowled in the game; far less than the number of runs scored. What, all you guys – and girls – out there, and you can't keep pace with the asking rate?

Sheesh!

But jokes aside, you guys are far out – the way the mails came in, it was like watching a game in your own living room with a bunch of friends – okay, way more friends than would fit into any living room I know of, but still -- all of whom were commenting about what was going on.

Typing ball after ball, over after over, for about eight hours a day is boring, tiring, draining work –the mails that kept coming in, people reacting to what was said moments after it was said, were what made the exercise worthwhile.

For that, many thanks. Appreciate the company, and the inputs, honest.

And for the record, all mails are read. We have here picked a few (if you think there are too many here about Ganguly, you should see the number of mails on the subject we have left unpublished!), and where possible, or necessary, I've added my own two bits.

Many of you asked three questions about procedure. One was, can I do this one ball at a time.

I wish. Trouble is, the game takes place at such a fast pace, that by the time I key in description of one ball, the guy is ready to bowl the next one. So rather than risk slowing the thing down, I tend to club deliveries into a single post when necessary.

Question two was, can't I demarcate – by using bold font – the highlights, fours, sixes, wickets, etc. Right now, the interface lets me do that only if I add html code, to do that while typing at the required speed is, unfortunately, beyond me, but I'll try and figure out another way before the next game.

One final question asked by many was, why can't we have auto refresh, instead of manually hitting the Refresh key each time. Again, simple – when more and more people log on (and you wouldn't believe the sort of numbers our servers are showing), auto refresh slows the whole process down. Other sites with auto-refresh are facing the problem of the whole thing freezing; rather than run that risk, and end up in a situation where you don't get commentary just when you need it, we did away with auto refresh.

Come on, guys, if I can hit all those keys per minute, you can surely click once? J

See you guys again, Friday; till then, stay safe.

Prem

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From: Amit

hi prem

Though ur commentary is good...just dont criticize the skip un necessarily on his fielding placements....its easy to criticize frm the comforts of press box ...i think the media has become full of armchair critics...

i think india will eventually win...whatz ur thoughts..

Prem: Yaar Amit, when a captain makes a bowling change and a wicket falls, and we say that was a good bowling change, does any reader write in and say, 'It is easy for you guys from the comfort of the press box to say it was a good bit of captaincy'?

Why then does this comment come only when criticism – deserved criticism – is leveled?

One other point – I started saying that the singles are going to prove costly, and that we will lose as a result, while the game was in the middle stage; that is exactly what the captain said too, after the game was over. The only difference is, I from the 'comfort of the press box' called it earlier, and correctly. J

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Sanjoy

Prem, don't you think all this is got up ? India will win at Kanpur and the last at Delhi Pak will win in front of Musharraf. After all it is Indo-Pak bhai bhai ..... And the public is a big fool. By the way, is Panicker your actual surname ? Do you also panic under pressure like the Indian mens cricket team ?

Prem: Actually, Sanjay, if by got up you mean fixed, no, I don't really think so. In fact, I suspect I can make a fair call about what the result of the series will be, within half an hour of Friday's game starting. J And yes, Panicker is my actual surname (??!!) and no, it has no correlation with the state of my nerves under pressure. Just as my first name, Prem, has no overt relationship with the state of my love life.

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Snehasish

Hi Prem..

I hope this is the 488th Mail You are receiving..But I request you to deliberate on the point mentioned below regarding the performance and duty of Ganguly as the Caption of the team.

The Captain should think about the team, not about his own performances while going for a win. Every one is aware of the fact that ganguly has survived and is surviving because of his being the Captain of the team which is successful so far. So, he must think like a Captain and sacrifice his batting position to make the team fare better. Right? The Selectors, the Coach and the Think tank had a greater role to play by making Ganguly understand his responsibilities. We are not paying or wasting our time to see Ganguly perform, we want our team to win..

Its high time that you must mention the strong views of the public to the selectors..either to make Ganguly understand the situation or to replace him with players like Dinesh Mongia.. Its unfortunate that despite of having good form, Mongia is sitting in the reserve bench only to accomodate a person, who has lost his touch, his form, his confidence..

Thanks & waiting for your responce ..I hope my points will be notified in your commentary..

Prem: Snehashish, someone else who shares your name once wrote in a signed column that Ganguly's game had deteriorated so badly, even a gully cricketer (I think the word he used was 'para' cricketer) would be able to get him out.

That Snehashish was Snehashish Ganguly, Sourav's elder brother and the guy who helped him recover from the heartache of his debut series and become the international star he went on to be.

That was a strong view, that selectors and everyone else heard; it made no difference. Similar strong views have been expressed by many -- former players, commentators, columnists, you name it they've said it. Made no difference to the selectors, though.

The selectors know how the public feel – after all, they are sitting ringside at these matches, and watching the Indian captain getting booed. How often does that happen? And how strong a statement is that, when a home crowd boos its own captain, and actually cheers when he gets out? The selectors sat and watched all that; they know how you feel, but it makes no difference to them.

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Ashish Kumar Ghosh

How do u rate Dhoni's innings? A composed one or the scratchy bcoz we have seen his intention to go after Shoaib Mallik despite knowing the fact that pitch is not as fast as it used to be earlier???

Prem: I thought the lad did well, actually. The debatable question is whether he should be sent in at number three on pitches where the ball doesn't really come on to the bat.

But given that he was sent in, what could he do? There is no point in a pinch-hitter who hangs around and tries to build an innings; there are batsmen in the side better fitted to do that.

His only option was to try and make things happen, try and go for the bowling anyway, because that was his job definition, and I'd give credit to the youngster for trying despite conditions not exactly favoring him.

A friend called me after the game to say, how come Afridi managed to bat the way he did on that pitch; why do you then suggest Dhoni couldn't have hit through the line.

The simple answer to that is, look what happened with Afridi. He hit, for the first 9 overs or so... but look at the way he got out. Tried to hit through the line of deliveries on his stumps, on the on side. Got a leading edge, and was lucky to clear the infielder. Got another leading edge, and was caught.

As early as the ninth over, the ball was already beginning to stop on the batsman – which more than anything illustrates that this was not your Vizag-type pitch.

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Siddhartha Goel

The following are some of the ideas for Ganguly to regain form and stay in the middle for a longer duration.(subject to approval by I.C.C)

IDEA NO:1: Plastic Ball or Tennis Ball or Rubber Ball to be used while bowling to Ganguly.

IDEA NO:2: Only one stick should be kept while Ganguly is Batting instead of Three so that his chances of getting out bowled will be minimised.

IDEA NO:3: Dada can wrap up his legs with 4 or 5 bats instead of pads, so that there is no chance of getting out lbw.

IDEA NO:4: The size of the ball can be reduced to the size of a lemon or size of his bat can be increased to twice its size. Or the size of the ground can be decreased to that of a Basketball Ground.

IDEA NO:5: Fast Bowlers are prohibited to bowl the following deliveries to Dada. They should not bowl Inswinger, Outswinger, Off cutter, Leg cutter, Bouncer, Short Pitched Ball, Reverse swinging ball, yorker, reverse swinging yorker, slower ball and most importantly in and around the off stump corridor.

IDEA NO:6: Slow Bowlers are prohibited from bowling off spin,leg spin,doosra,googly,china man,flipper,faster ball.

IDEA NO:7: Speed restrictions for bowlers:

FAST BOWLERS: MAX 120 KMPH

SLOW BOWLERS: MAX 50 KMPH.

IDEA NO:8 Fast bowlers in their runup should run like Mohinder Amarnath and slow bowlers should not run at all.

IDEA NO:9 Ganguly can change his position as medium fast bowler instead of Batsman and bat at no:11, so that by the time he enters the ground 48 or 49 overs would have been bowled.

IDEA NO:10: I.C.C Should warn Pakistan Bowlers that hereafter any bowler taking Dada's wicket, the number will not be added to the bowler's tally of wickets.

IDEA NO:11: Bowlers should not appeal for dismissal of Ganguly. Even a small appeal (not necessarily loud appealing or excessive appealing) will lead to match refereee Chris Broad suspending the bowler for the rest of the series.

IDEA NO:12: Fast Bowlers should only throw the ball and slow bowlers should use underarm throw.

IDEA NO:13: Even after this if Ganguly gets out, the bowler will be called a chucker and new rule for bowling action, i.e.( 2 degrees bending of bowling arm allowed for fast bowlers and 3 degrees bending of bowling arm for slow bowlers) will be taken into account and the bowler will be immediately sent to Australia by next flight for corrective action.

IDEA NO:14: No fielder should catch the ball hit by Dada. If they catch, then any of the opening batsman who got out earlier, like virender shewag will be allowed to bat for second time.

IDEA NO: 15: For every minute Dada stays in the middle, one run will be added to his score and if the ball hits the bat and travels to the following places, runs will be credited to Dada as follows.

Slip, Gully, Forward Short Leg: 1 run

Mid on, mid off, cover,point: 2 runs

long on, long off, fine leg, third man: 3 runs.

and finally if Dada's wicket is taken before he reaches 50 runs all pakis will be fined 50% of their match fees.

Prem: *LOL* But jokes aside, you know what? The best argument for Ganguly taking a break and working on his game is this -- his current form has spawned a cottage industry of Ganguly-jokes.

In Ahmedabad, he was cheered twice -- once, when he won the toss and elected to bat, the second time when he got out.

Think about it -- this is a player who has contributed much to Indian cricket; who has given fans the joy of several spectacular knocks; this is a player who, if he can get himself back into form, has much more he can contribute.

He owes it to himself, to the team, and to his fans, to not allow his legacy to be dissipated, his name to be made joke-fodder, in this fashion. And the only one who can bring that transformation about is Ganguly himself.

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Arun Nayar

I have been saying this before right from the beginning, and I will say it again, this series is a hogwash, 3-3 is the outcome or Indo-Pak relations will turn sour

Prem: Yeah, I've been hearing this from various quarters. Let's see – my own take is, there will be a decisive result, though until I see the team that takes the park for Friday's ODI, I don't want to stick my neck out on who I think will win the game, and probably with it, the series.

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Mouli Subrahmaniyam

Hi Prem,

I've realised that its just a waste of time and energy every time that the Indian team gets a little ahead. I cant believe that we can still fizzle out after we scored an imposing score even when it was predicted that the wicket would be slow and difficult to score.

Ganguly truly deserves to be out of the team. I dont know how heexpected that Pakistan would be in any trouble when they can score singles easily. Seriously are Ganguly and John Wright brainless?. Can they not realise that they are scoring easily at 7 an over and make the rough calculation that it is easy for them. I wonder how Ganguly became the most successful captain for India, just by mere luck I guess.

Anyway I guess his masterplan was that he would force Pak players to run singles hard and eventually tire. Genius !!!!!!

Prem: Mouli, on our site just now, there is a story by Ashish Magotra that tells you where we lost; an internal link to an earlier story we had done indicates that this is not the first time half-smart thinking has cost us dear.

I'm no brain surgeon, pal... J Wouldn't want to get into the contents of certain craniums. But one thing makes me wonder: If at the post-match press conference you say that the reason for defeat was too many easy singles taken by Pakistan in the middle overs, it does make you wonder – do you think out there, or just go through the motions?

I mean, I think it was while commentating on the 14th over that I pointed out that field restrictions are due to go off, but India needs to keep the field in and stop singles. If it is that obvious to me, and you, and half the world, and the captain on the field doesn't see it until the damage is done, then there is something drastically wrong somewhere.

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Azgar Jamal

dear mr. prem

ur comentry is excelent, no doubt about it.

i would like to say one thing and don't misundterstand me todays match was prefixed. i hope so. it's very very bad whoever wins doesn't matter. those who are playing should win. it hurts a lot.

it is my opinion

Prem: Azgar, hi. The unfortunate fallout of incompetence is that fans seem to be losing trust; talk of match-fixing has started cropping up again. Sad, really – I don't think it is happening; I don't think it is an existing problem; but I do believe that when fans begin to distrust the national team, it is as bad a situation as can possibly be.

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Bharath

Hi,

When somebody is already not doing well, it is our duty to support the player and give him confidence as true Indian cricket fans. This criticism of Sourav Ganguly is not good at all.

Every player has gone through such bad patch and if all of them had not been removed , we would not be having such a strng team now.

Prem: By the same logic, if all players who had failed in the last three or four years had been persisted with, you would have had a team comprised entirely of failures, would you not?

Bad patch, yes – but if that patch lasts for a year and more, then surely the 'patch' is getting out of hand?

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Jalindra

Hello Mr Panicker,

What gone wrong ?

I feel that field was spread and that allowed Pakis to get singles and ease the pressure. What you think?

Prem: Yes the field was spread out when it needed to be tight; yes singles were given where they should have been checked; yes pressure was eased when it should have been applied. Why? Friend, damned if I know.

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Suman, Dev

Dear Prem,

Its lovely to read thru ur running commentary. At abroad many of us visualize the match thru ur well written words. Keep it up please.

Sadly India lost again today. I think Ganguly destroyed the momentum of run making when he came to bat and got himself out most stupidly. Dravid/Yuvi would have been better replacement for him at that point. He has already caused India to lose so many matches before. Again he didn't allow Sehwag a chance to bowl couple of overs when all were getting hits all-around. Please get him out of team as he is the one who is polluting the pond.

Prem: Boss, Suman, I only do commentary – I don't pick teams. J But one wish of yours appears to have come true by default; Sourav has to sit out six games. Be interesting to see if team performance actually improves.

One thing, though – you are right, having Ganguly, or any batsman for that matter, come in and scratch around when your score is 194/1 after 32 overs and the platform is in place for a huge assault, is bad news for the batting side.

The score was 194/1 when Dhoni was dismissed in the last ball of the 32nd over; it was 242 when Sourav got out in the second ball of the 41st over.

That is 51 runs off 50 legit deliveries. Looks nice – run a ball rate and all that. But of those 50 deliveries, 33 bowled to Sourav produced just 15 – had that been a run a ball rate, that is another 18 runs added to the total, at least.

Seems to me, despite India gifting dozens of singles in the field, Pakistan still managed to win only off the last ball of the match. Another 15, 18 runs, and.... Well, you do the math.

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Sajan Philip

Hi Prem,

Ganguly owes an apology to the nation. When the match was in such a favorable situation, knowing the bad form he is currently passing thru, he should not have gone to bat, instead he should have sent any other batsman, even Zaheer. The 33 balls he faced made the difference today.

Prem: As above. You are right in that this was one of two areas that made the difference to the outcome. Public apology? When in India's history has any person in a position of authority – in sports, or politics, or whatever – ever stood up and apologized? Reaping kudos when things are going well, we do – the converse, though, never happens. Pity, but that is the how of it.

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Ankur

India obviously lost due to some extremely shoddy captaincy (forget batting) by our dear captain -- Mr. Sourav Ganguly.

Millions like me who wake up in wee hours, stand up in long queues, jam up in groups to watch the cricket match are left with a deep anguish and a huge sense of frustration !! All because one captain who has led India in innumerable matches through a no of years doesn't know how to set correct fields to stop our opponents taking the match away on our own grounds !!

Ironical , but true -- what to do ??

Prem: To me, this sets up the single greatest point of interest in the remaining two games. Never mind who wins, and who loses; never mind what the outcome of the series is. What I am interested in seeing is, what if any difference there is to the team now that Ganguly is not in the 11. If the team visibly performs better, then everyone – including me – who has been making a case that Ganguly needs a sabbatical will have their point proved; if the performance remains slipshod, then it is the clearest indication that the problems are larger than any one individual.

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Ramesh

Having seen the way pakistan has batted today to chase a score which india thought is mammoth, hats off to Pakistan. They are really champions.

Now it is high time that Ganguly puts in his paper, as we do not need a captain who cannot lead from the front . As a captain if he cannot perform, he has no place in the side. He is only blocking a place which some capable person can fill.

Could you be kind enought to forward this mail to the concerned official. By doing so, you are doing a great job to the nation.

Prem: Ramesh, you obviously have been following cricket for a while now. Do you really need telling that officials don't read mails, don't read reports, don't listen to voices that tell them anything they don't want to hear?

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Rituraj

Dear Sir

yeh khya natak hai . sala puri series FIX hai . ab dekhna ke next match india jetege . phir last wala jo delhi mai hai vo pakistan . mushref ji jo aarahe hai . Indo /pak meetri series hai na ..

Prem: Yaar, hum haar gaye, tho hamaari incompetence ki wajah. By raising the bogey of match-fixing – which, face it, involves participation of several players, not just one or two – don't we taint with a stigma of corruption players who do not deserve to be so tainted?

Or put another way – to accuse a person of incompetence is one thing; to accuse 11 or more people of criminality is quite another thing altogether and frankly, it is not territory I want to get into.

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Sindhu Srivastava

What a match! Hats off to Inzy & Tendulkar. But I still stand by my assessment that Ganguly's presence may actually be having a negative impact on the team.

I do not agree with the guys who say there could be a payoff involved here. I just think that Ganguly has lost his killer instinct.

Instead of going for the jugular, he has been trying defensive tactics most of the series (that includes the test series as well). I am of the opinion that if a team is playing well, a 300+ total can be immensely defensible on any pitch.

In fact, by coming in to bat at a crucial time, Ganguly cost the team at least 15 runs. He also seems to be worried about his place in the side -- and justifiably so. I think he has done enough for Indian cricket. He is just frittering away all the good work he had done in the past. I still fondly remember the team he led to Australia. But since then it has been downhill for him. Instead of leaving a strong team as his legacy, he seems to be hell bent on leaving a team in shambles -- a team that finds it hard even to win at home!

Prem: Sindhu, in all the brouhaha, one little item on the must-do list has been forgotten, which is to applaud the guys who did well. Inzy and Sachin, as you pointed out, deserve not to have their efforts diluted with talk of match fixing et al.

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Hitesh

Its amazing! that game can be fixed on such higher standards which is not even imagined by average people who spends his precious time watching and fancying over it.

Good Job By U Prem.

Like u r sense of thinkinking and humour too.

Prem: Oy, chill – no one is fixing matches here, at least, not in my book. The remaining two games just might surprise the fans, watch and see J

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Sarang Sathe

This is really sad stuff... Ihappy to inform Mr. Ganguly that he has just lost himself another fan and I hope that this might just wake him up from his dreams of a "prince"

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Ayanjyoti Chakrabarti

Now since India has lost last two matches, Ganguly is exposed. Selector should make the captain taking a forced break. He has taking plenty of wrong decisions in today's match

1. coming ahead of inform Dravid for batting.

2. Horrible field setting

3. Not giving bowling to Viru...

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Salim Kadiwar

3 reasons Why we will lose

Ganguly is the captain

Ganguly is the batsman

Ganguly is fielding

So why is he in the team ???

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M Suresh

Dear Prem

Good job. Re Sehwag's bowling, he does not give enough bowling to those guys who may be a threat to this captaincy. Remember, he never gave bowling to Sachin in 2001 and 2002. Now it is Sehwag's turn. Even Kumble was ill treated by Ganguly bcos at one point there was a thought that Kumble could be considered for captaincy. So, Ganguly's trend is to suppress the challenger from inside...

Your views...

Prem: I don't want to get into speculation of why Sehwag wasn't bowled. That takes me from the realm of commenting about what is actually happening, into mind-reader territory, where I am not qualified to go.

I do believe, though, that not bowling Sehwag was a mistake. Sure, we can argue that maybe Sehwag would have been collared too. But he has a proven record of bowling tight, he is crafty and often forces errors.

And if all that is speculation, then there is this other factor: If Sewhag, Yuvraj and Sachin are the part time spinners, and two of them had been tried and been collared, then rather than give the ball back to Yuvraj, there was nothing to be lost by trying Sehwag; that is simply commonsense. Things could not have gotten worse; conceivably, things could have gotten better.

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Rajeev

Dear Prem,

Looking from the field placements it looks like the matches are fixed.I feel the player are playing or rather made to play in this anner .Rogues,playing with our sentiments really.You can just make out India won there 3-2 and 2-1 in tests pak wil be made to win here 4-2 or 3-3.

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Amit Jain

I think the biggest reason for ganguly's poor captaincy today is his continued non-performance. Selectors could have actually asked him to take part in couple of domestic cricket matches to get the form back.

Poor field placings, combined with poor choice of batting order. Ganguly knew that he is not in form and they needed quick runs so he shud have asked yuvraj or kaif to come up the order......ganguly instead of being a selfless player decided to be a selfish player.

Too many singles, too many extras and too many loose deliveries and poor captaincy...are culprit for india's loss....I think the will to win itself has lost. I am sure Ganguly would come with an excuse that it was a conscious decision to have a defensive field as he said while defending the loss in bangalore test.

I think this would be last series of ganguly as captain atleast....and god forbid if we lose the series to Pak he cud infact find himself out of the team.

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Subramanian, Krishnan

Ganguly not only lost his batting but also his mind when it comes to captaincy....it's high time Dravid takes on as he did a brilliant job defending 100 odd runs in the final test against Australia

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Prasad

Hi Prem Panicker,

Ganguly letting 6 runs/over in singles without taking any action for almost 10 overs before he brought Zaheer in. Why?

A spead out field, all the men in the deep. Why?

Nehra's first spell was 3 overs, 33 runs. 2nd spell was 1 over 4 runs, he was taken off after only 1 over in 2nd spell. Why?

Not putting the 1st slip to control the singles and boundaries to 3rd man. Why?

Sehwag not given the ball after 1 good over. Why?

These are a lot other inexplicable things indicate that Ganguly is involved in match fixing. I don't suspect it is for the bookies. I think he has some political pressure to appease the Pakistanis as Musharaff is going to be in for the last 1-day.

There were more inexplicable things on the final day of the Bangalore test match. And I suspect the same there also.

How else would you explain what's transpiring? Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) says something like "when all the remaining suspects are ruled out, the only suspect however improbable is the culprit."

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Anand

Is Ganguly playing for Pakistan ? Get rid of this stupid captain. Can't bat, can't field and now giving away easy singles. Easy for Pak to win. Who can save the Indian cricket from this captain. If this player is staying in the team on the pure merit of captaincy selectors are the most stupid people in our country.

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Ravi Gurnani

A lot has been said lately of tendulkar not contributing enough in the teams victories. but his knocks always seem to coincide with a collective failure by the rest of the team. on the days like today, when he scores a hundred, the bowling attack refuses to turn up and bowls absolute rubbish on a pitch ideal for our spinners. same can be said of the asia cup early in the season and the hundred against pakistan during the tour last year.

Prem: Ah yes, that is the history of his cricketing life. On a lighter note, the choice is simple – we either get Tendulkar to perform, and risk everyone else not performing; or we keep him in the side and ask him to repeatedly fail, if only to ensure that the others succeed. What say?

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Amitab

Dear Prem Panicker,

This is a pure Indo-Pak Bhai-Bhai match fixing. They will win / loose the next ODI also, in that case it will be a do/die situation for the Delhi one-dayer for either team to level the series.

Added, the Indian diplomacy would love to see Musharraf watching Pakistan "fighting" and winning at Feroze Shah Kotla, and squaring the series.

So, it will be a Kanpur win for India and a great comeback from Pakistan to level at Delhi.

All faces happy, all smiles, all bhai-bahi.

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Sidharth Kachru

2 facts of Indian cricket teams

1. india cannot chase any score that is above 250 , even if it does that's a rarety.

2. indian bowling will do its best when indian batting fails if indian batsment score 230-240

indian bowling will do its best but when indian batsmen score 300+ our bowlers get screwed up !

these 2 facts are a 100 % guaranteed

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Pankaj Agarwal

Hi,

it seems ganguly want to ensure yuvi a place in team...by giving him opportunity again and again in bowling... everybuddy in India atleat knows that Viru is far better then yuvi in all aspects of the game... but still ganguly persisting with yuvraj... his own place is not sure in the team and he's trying to ensure yuvi a place wat a silly thing he's trying ..... he cant batt, he can't place the fielders well, he can't field himself...how come he is captain of India.... the only way seems for Indian victory is Ganguly sitting off the field and that too without his shirt or tshirt..

your comments ;-(

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Shrivatsa

Hello Prem

Iam enjoying your commentary ...keep up the good work...

Lots of talk going around on the form of Ganguly.

Even In this situation when lots of stats are searched and debated across.

One stat that is glaring at, is the average of the batsman in the last season and the man who had the Highest average, and the utmost dedication to play one day cricket after being dropped for the world cup is Very Very Special laxman,...

He Vowed to be back in the team putting in all the hard work which showed in the performances last season where he top scored so many times and aggregated the highest, his contribution to the terms success and teams total is amazing...

Why on earth is he kept aside...?

And is never being talked at all...

He is too good a player to be kept out...

With respect to the present ongoing series don't you think that this series should have been of 5 matches or 7 matches to make it more realistic and decisive.

Prem: Laxman is one of the enigmas of Indian cricket – the one player who is, always will be, perennially on trial. When it comes to him, our intolerance threshold is set to zero – one failure, and off goes his head; he then has to fight his way back into the squad, a place that is his until his next failure when bingo, out he goes again.

I wonder what the outcome would be if that same yardstick were applied to some other players.

And yes – six is a silly figure, sort of like a four-Test series.

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Murali

Captaincy touches on lot of facets of the game. One of them is how you place the field. I have never seen the current india captain employ a good strategy and win. He is clueless. What the heck is the coach doing ? Is he watching the game like us...where is the feedback when singles were being scored quite easily....

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Mahesh Krishnan

What happened prem , you told this doesnt look to be a 300 run track..India could have put up 350 runs but for Ganguly...the decision to use Dhoni as number 3 is bad, he should be used as pinch hitter if the situation demands and ganguly himself at number 4 was a very selfish decision by the captain.

Prem: Chief, if someone is intent on giving away runs, all nicely gift-wrapped, then tell you what, even 400 can be chased.

Dhoni at number three is an interesting ploy if the wicket is hard and true, and we lose a wicket inside the first 15 overs. Sending him out with the field restrictions in place means if he fires, he gets off to a flying start, the team benefits, and he can once the restrictions are off, settle down to play a longer innings, like he did in the third ODI.

But sending him out early on a less than perfect track where the ball is not coming on, and where he cannot go on the front foot and hit straight through the line, is not really productive.

A bit like sending Razzaq at number three, really – he ended up fidgeting around and scoring 44 off 60. Which is not what you want from a pinch-hitter; anything less than a run a ball, and you much rather keep him back for the later overs and let a regular batsman – Inzy, Youhana, Younis – go out there in his place.

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Sanjay

It is almost obvious that Ganguly has either fixed the match or he is a moron. He could not possibly have let Pakistan score 60 runs of 60 balls in the middle overs after Salman Butt's wicket fell. He must resign and if he must come back, he must do so only after exhibiting an unquestionably outstanding performance in domestic and first class cricket for 6 months to a year. But I really doubt he will.

I remember Dravid was dropped many a times in his career because he was too slow. Then why won't we apply that rule to Grandfather Ganguly? Prem, do you think we as fans can do anything to affect the change?

Prem: No, fans, commentators, correspondents, past players, current coach – all are equally impotent when it comes to effecting change.

The administration, in fact, goes out of its way to forestall questions. If you save your old newspapers, check the one published the morning after the third Test.

Here you have a series drawn, that should have been won – and what is the big story of the day? Chairman of selectors Kiran More seeks the media out, to inform us that the selectors have full faith in the captain.

Hullo? No one asked, so why did you volunteer that? Simple – to pre-empt questioning.

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Amit

Totally love your commentary. I stopped watching cricinfo scores after I started reading your commentary. Keep up the good work.

On Indian captaincy, Dravid is a very bad choice. We need a captain like Yuvraj for one days and Dravid for tests. This worked for a short time for Aussies, will work for us aswell. What we need now in a captain is someone who is aggressive like ganguly, gains teams respect and is young-hot blooded. Dravid, sehwag, sachin as captains are no longer an option. Why sehwag? He is a great batsman/opener, but I just dont think he will make a good captain.

On Ganguly, he definately needs to step down. He will be forced if we loose this series, 50/50 if we win or draw.

Prem: Actually, Amit, Dravid just might surprise you; beneath that placid exterior, the guy has a streak of aggression.

But even arguing that he doesn't, it may not be the best possible time to blood Yuvraj into the captaincy. He is just getting back into some sort of form; you don't want to thrust the bigger role on him at a time when the pressure is all the more intense thanks to two straight losses.

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Chandramouli D

Each player represents 100 million Indians. Im sure we would get 10 Gangulys if we search in the 100 million he is representing. Ganguly can step down if he does not perform in the remaining two matches. Being Verbally and mentally agressive alone doesnot serve the purpose - a captain should lead physical action alsov- in this case - good batting display.

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Manish

Hi Mr.Panicker,

I feel while it is alright to criticize ganguly it would be unfair to remove him from the team because the team is doing really well. And ganguly as a captain can definitely be attributed some of the success. Remember what happened when sachin had become the captain. How it affected his batting?..Sourav is a class act & i think if he loses his captaincy he should be retained as a batsmen & given some more chances. Only then should he be removed from the team

Prem: Actually, Manish, that is pretty much what everyone is saying. This team has a lot invested in Sourav; he has a lot invested in the team; it is mutually beneficial for the relationship to continue.

It is just that thanks to the pressure of lack of form and consequently, lack of runs, his game in the field is also falling apart; he doesn't need twin pressures right now, what would serve his cause best is to be allowed to focus on getting back to his batting best.

Question is, does Ganguly want that?

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Prashanth

Prem,

I clearly could not understand the passive captaincy of Sourav for the following reasons.

1. Allowing himself to come at the top of the order and slowing down the pace of our innings. Wasting so many balls just to get himself into 'form'.

2. Continue Sachin bat while he clearly struggled to get some quick runs.

Sachin wasted some good 5-6 overs before he got out. This denied the next batsman to come in those valuable balls / time and score some quick runs.

Had Sourav sent in Yuvraj instead of himself and allowed him to play those 15 odd overs, things would have have been lot lot better. BTW, Yuvraj deserves some overs to play instead of those bits-n-rags 3-4 overs.

Poor thinking and poor captaincy indeed.

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Abhishek

Captaincy isnt about batting well.. i think ganguly should be retained as captain. the sides, like australia, never change captains loooking into their players' form. till the side is good, consistent & performing well, there is no need to play around with the captains. thanks

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Sushil

Hi Prem

Im sushil from poland, since we do not have live telecast its been great following the match with your commentary.

The turning point of this match "4th odi btw ind & pak" i think was the decision of ganguly going into bat at no.4 when ind was in a great position. If you see even inzy put the likes of razzaq and malik ahead of in-form batsmen like himself, yunis and yohana. Well india lost the match when ganguly decided to stick to no.4 ........god knows what was he thinking of.......i guess spending time in the middle & i think he did spend only time and cost us the match! In away match refree has helped ganguly now by giving him a six match ban & thus mr.ganguly can now spend time at home, with some soul searching on the menu. Good luck to dravid!

Anyways looking forward to your coverage in the 5th odi & thanks for your efforts that cricket followers like me can get the action ball by ball even tho we dont have a live telecast here.
Prem Panicker