Does Ganguly have to retire?

This is written in response to a comment that Chandan made in an earlier thread. I started this in the “Comments” section of that post and then, when it grew too big on me, I thought I’d post it here as an article.

In his comments, Chandan says: “Secondly the decision to drop Ganguly can’t be long overdue because in March-April he had made a fighting 87 in a match where none of the other Indians batsmen clicked on a green track in Ahmadabad against SAf quicks and again made a match winning 87 in the final test on a minefield of a track where no other batsman from either side could score big. Failure in Lanka has been his first complete failure in a series.”

Sure. One can’t deny the fact that Ganguly has scored an 87 here and a 80 there in the recent past. But I said even back then that Ganguly has to step aside and let others occupy his place in the team.

My view is that one should not build for the long-term by just looking at the immediate past!

Steve Waugh made a gutsy 80 not out in his last Test. Indeed, in his last series, Waugh made 267 runs at an average of 44.50! Not bad returns! Does that necessarily mean that he should have played on for another 20 years! If he had, he may have made more runs even after his legs and eyesight had deserted him! Who knows?

Only in India do we — fans and administrators — look just at the last game or the last series before making an attempt to look at the future! Only in India do we ask petulantly, “So what ra? You think Rohit Sharma would be better than Ganguly-aaa? Prove it raaa. Look at Yuvraj. What he has done raaa.” in response to a postulation that Ganguly should make way for a future-build.

One can’t wait till a CEO has passed away to think of grooming the next CEO! We have succession plans in industry. So why are we insulating our sport from succession planning? Such succession planning should take into account future aspirations of the enterprise, the current state of resources and talent, the current capability that exists and future needs. Succession plans should also take into account current stability and continued sustainability of the fundamental proposition — an ongoing strong unit! Plans will then need to be drawn up for intercepting that aspirational future in a systematic manner!

In the position we find ourselves in, if we only looked at the last two series as the only thermometer for future-build decisions, I am sure we can mount a case for a perpetual stay-order on the axing of any of the fab-four until they lose their legs completely at age 86! After all, one could always point out that “X and Y failed ONLY in the last series but did well in the immediately previous series before that”!

Moreover, an argument around “Why bring in youngster X? Will he be better than Y?” does not hold water either. Few new CEOs of companies are immediately successful. Over time, they will develop their own character, develop their own bags of experience and chart their own path. Over time, a new fab four will emerge. Similarly in cricket!

India cannot afford a state where all four of the fab-four depart at once. Youngsters need to be phased in. Over time, a new and different Fab-Four will emerge!

Of the current Fab-Four, Ganguly looks the most dodgy. He looked lethargic and lackadaisical in Sri Lanka. His fielding is worse now than it ever was. The only saving grace in all of this is that, with Ganguly’s departure, Laxman is no longer the second-worst fielder in the team! This is not to suggest that Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble are amazing fielders. However, it is inconceivable to me that Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag are the three best fielders in a national Test side, with Harbhajan fielding at cover-point!

Moreover — and this is no more than a hand wave — while I can see continued contributions from Tendulkar and Dravid into the future, due to their over-reliance on technique, given his predominant reliance on hand-eye coordination, I see Ganguly as the potential first-cab-off-the-rank in a drip-by-drip spill-and-fill operation. In other words, I do see the potential for Dravid and Tendulkar to clear their Mendis-induced-cobwebs and bounce back. They have the luxury of falling back on their technique. One feels — and this is no more than a hand wave — that with the loss of that dogged determination that he so used to have and with the advancing of age — as evidenced by his lethargic fielding in Sri Lanka — Ganguly has to make way for a younger, smarter player.

I have been an ardent fan of Ganguly for a long time. And I still believe that he was Indian Cricket’s first real leader of men. But it is time for him to hang up his boots and quit the Test and ODI scene gracefully.

— Mohan

15 responses to “Does Ganguly have to retire?

  1. If you have an off day in your office and say an off week, would your boss ask you to leave and make way for a youngster ? And would you accept it ?

  2. In general, why not? Perform or Perish should be the motto!

    But to extend the analogy more appropriately, so that we aren’t comparing apples and water-melons, I would say absolutely yes, especially if I am 56 years old and my boss hasn’t got a succession plan in place for me!

  3. But you wouldnt if you are 28 and still on the peak of things.

  4. Ganguly is a great player.

  5. @sam

    Firstly, I am not 28 (and nor is Ganguly).

    Secondly, if I were 28 and under-performing, I would have been performance-managed out!

    Performance management and succession planning are chalk and cheese! Succession planning has little to do with how you played last season (or performed in the last quarter results)!

    And @vijay, it is precisely because Ganguly is a great player that he needs to be succession-planned out!

  6. rahul khankriyal

    see there lots of cricket remain in him . but he got some weak point which raise with his age i think he should not waste his time and should start coaching to raise talent in india. he should join any state team.other international cricketor who r facing such situation should do same for thyere country.

  7. The mere fact that Ganguly doesn’t want to retire shows that he still has got HUNGER–the essential ingredient for any job or pastime. He is and can be a liability on the field and running between wickets–so are Inzi and Laxman–yet they are treated differently by the fans and media—I3J3 included.

  8. my essence of comment is, if u have an off month in office wud u be thrown out(retire) n wud ur colleagues start drum beatin u to retire?

  9. @sam

    I think we can have a conversation once you remove performance as the basis of our debate. My argument has little to do with performance (or lack of it).

    @Govinda (ie., sam :-))

    Hunger is complex and, as you know, is caused by a variety of factors including ability, dexterity, agility, pride, ego, money and other motivators. Steve Waugh had all of that (read his book) and yet was asked to “make way”.

  10. Mohan,

    @sam is not the sam as in @govinda

    @sam, in his blog refers to a Srilankan bowler as a cheat!!!!! I will never do that

    Your undying love for S Waugh is blinding your assessment of Dada

    S Waugh could have played as a player–if he wanted to –he wanted to be a player as well as captain till 3308 AD!!!!! I suppose that is what EGO means!!!

    In the case of Dada, he hasn’t been a captain for a few years

    Dada playes attractive cricket and this does involve strange stroke selection—takes on the bowlers, keeps the scoreboard moving and gives the team a chance—unlike Dravid and laxman, who both have been batting like 10 day tests, playing for averages, postponing the inevitable and have become clones of Boycott!!!!

  11. Whoa!!

    I didn’t see this thread before which was written in response to my comment.

    My point is what you are trying to make :’perform or perish’. In India too BCCI is not that bad as to not have a succession plan at all. Kiran More panel had identified Yuvraj and Kaif as successors for Ganguly and Laxman/Dravid. But as it happens so many times, these successors fell flat on their faces when they were given a decent run in tests.

    Now that we know that Yuvraj is not a test player, we are left with Kaif, a highly inconsistent Rohit Sharma and a domestic veteran Badrinath. Please tell me, do these players give you enough confidence against Australia?

    Frankly speaking, they don’t give confidence to me. But still Ganguly or anyone can’t keep on playing forever if worthy successor doesn’t come through? I agree to that but at least let Ganguly exhaust whatever cricket is left in him like Steve Waugh did at the age of 38 or Lara did at age of 38 or like Hayden is doing.

    In the meanwhile I’d like BCCI to arrange more and more A tour for unofficial tests and send these aspiring cricketers to Australia, SA and England. The moment one or two quality bowlers appeared all the 50+average of Badrinath counted to naught as he failed to score big.

    I don’t think there is any player in the horizon at the moment

  12. Ganguly is great player, one cannot judged in one series we should give him a chance.

  13. Mahesh,

    who will BCCI choose in Ganguly’s place? Selectors will be in a dilemma. Let us see what the team is.

  14. I don’t think it is time for ganguly to retire. There is plenty of cricket left in him. He is a great player but a victim of BCCI.
    Our board needs to be more professional with some talented people sitting there.
    Some day i was reading a post in cricket blog, and its says Sharad pawar for ICC head. I was surprised to see that how some one even can think like that.

  15. Hello, Give something for help the hungry people in Africa or India,
    I created this blog about them:

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