Dilip Vengsarkar was proving no fit for the post of Chairman of Selectors towards the end of his tenure with the BCCI Selection Committee. He seemed to be misusing the power he had to control Indian cricket. In any sporting event, it has to be the performance and not the age that needs to be counted, and cricket is no exception. But selectors over the periods of the last two panels were thinking something else. To be more precise, they must have thought that they had the power to terminate great careers, without assigning any valid reason. Kiran More started it, and Vengsarkar followed suit. Needless to say, Sourav Ganguly was the prey on both occasions.
Indeed, there had been times when Ganguly needed to be chucked out from the test and one day teams. But that was long back, long long back, and at that time the ball was in Ganguly’s court. Now, he doesn’t deserve to be dropped from the side for any reason whatsoever. In fact, the people calling for his blood overlook the fact that Ganguly was India’s top scoring test batsman in the last 12 months. He amassed 1076 runs during this time, with an average of 44.83 which is better than his career average by more than 3 runs. He scored 5 fifties and 2 hundreds, including his best ever score of 239. Virender Sehwag came second followed by VVS Laxman. Of all the seniors, Rahul Dravid was the worst during this period. His average was a good 20 runs below his career average. Sachin Tendulkar did reasonably well although he didn’t play much. Even his average was 10 runs below his career average. Mahendra Singh Dhoni also had a poor run in the last 12 months in test cricket.
The Kris Srikkanth led selection committee did the right thing by allowing the best performer in the last year to continue in the team. Ganguly (or for that matter, any other player) should be dropped from the side if his performance becomes substandard. But as long as it remains impressive, we must accept his claim for a berth. If you can’t field your best player, then who will you field instead?