Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The New Jokers

Stupidity is only surpassed by some more stupidity. I'm not privy to any first hand knowledge regarding the nature of the relationship between Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, and neither, I believe, is most of the cricket media in India. It is quite difficult then, to fathom the reports of rifts, cold shoulders and what have you between the two senior pros. One wonders, if it is just tripe and gossip trying to masquerade off as reporting. Given that kind of media fenzy and depressing results from the (very imaginatively named?) Indian Oil Cup, the BCCI selection committee came up with the kind of gems that threaten to push the rift story to the bins! A few weeks ago these worthies decided VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble were good enough to be given another go. Not a fair go, really, as it turned out. But in their infinite wisdom, the realisation seems to have dawned upon the wise men that Laxman and Kumble were 'aging non-performers'. I'm not sure if that was the language the committee used, it certainly came out that way in the media (oh that trustworthy institution!). Laxman and Kumble played two games each, with Kumble being instrumental in the crucial win over the Windies in the last league encounter. It is true neither did anything of note in the final, but to jettison players of such calibre or for that matter anybody, after just two games, smacks of lack of clear thinking. Laxman has been time and time again dealt such a bad hand by the selectors, it is almost as if they harbour a grudge against the man (not suggesting they do). Laxman is not exactly a Bevan-like run machine, but he had a break-out season in 2003-04, scoring three hundreds in Australia and another in Pakistan, mostly match winning efforts. After every disastrous campaign in the last three years or so, he has been the fall guy; the mind still boggles at the choice of Dinesh Mongia ahead of him in the squad for the last World Cup. Laxman need not despair - in fact he may just be beyond that stage these days - if Ajit Agarkar's return to the side is any indication. Another step that I just fail to understand. The rediff report on the team selection mentioned that Agarkar's exclusion was even taken up in the Maharashtra assembly!!! Now, I never really have had much regard for our politicians, but even by their standards, it seems as if the state of Maharashtra has a particularly daft group representing them - my sympathies lie entirely with the people of the state. - NK

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