The pain was writ large all over his face. Sourav Ganguly was trying to come to terms with another defeat in the last over (against Kings XI on Sunday), but it was evident that he was struggling. In fact, he has seldom looked as troubled as he did on Sunday evening.
“We’re not losing in the last over, let’s make it very clear…We’re losing the matches much before that,” Ganguly said, trying to settle down in his hotel room in Port Elizabeth. He picked up the remote, switched on the TV, it’s Mumbai Indians playing Royal Challengers.
But Ganguly’s mind was somewhere else. “Painful, this is painful,” he said, the disgust coming forth. “The nature of T20 cricket is such that results will only happen in the last over. So don’t bother about close finishes,” Ganguly sounded frustrated.
A section in the team believes that Ganguly’s tactical acumen is not being used as much as it should have been. Even in the last over in the game against Kings XI, when his inputs could have been vital, he was banished to deep third-man. There’s discontent within the team with the way Brendon McCullum has led, but Ganguly tried to defend the skipper.
“A captain, at the end of the day is the captain. He has to take the decisions, no one else can take decisions for him. When I was the Indian captain, I took decisions, Rahul did, Dhoni does,” Ganguly said.
The southpaw explains how difficult the role of the captain was in T20 cricket. “This game is much faster than the other forms. There’s no way a skipper can refer to others all the time. This is not Test cricket,” Ganguly’s theory was in direct contradiction to coach John Buchanan’s multiple-captain concept.
The coach told the TOI the day before that the southpaw won’t be used as an opener in the tournament. There are members in the team who don’t like the decision and many believe that Ramesh Powar wouldn’t have escaped with eight runs off two overs if Ganguly was opening.
Ganguly, though, refuses to be critical. “These are things for you guys to notice, I’m not the right person to take a call on this,” the former India captain said.
It was around this time he glanced at the TV and saw Anil Kumble running in to bowl. “Just see the way he is bowling…And he is 38!” he quipped.
“Kumble’s 38, Warne’s 40, Hayden’s 37, old men are not doing too bad…Class tells at the end of the day,” Ganguly made a point.
Isn’t he the only senior who probably hasn’t done that well? “I can probably do better. But I think I have played a couple of decent knocks.”
However, he has no illusions about Knight Riders’chances. “It’s extremely difficult, let’s see what we can do.” If things don’t improve, will he still be playing the next IPL? “Why not?” he snapped back. “I am a player and I will fulfil my contract.”
It’s to be seen whether he gets the chance.