Ganguly back for ChennaiTom Bowman |
Despite his public disputes with Indian coach Greg Chappell, Ganguly has been included in the 15 man squad to play Sri Lanka on December 2nd.
After a longer than usual meeting between the selectors, chairman Kiran More announced that Ganguly would be replacing left-arm-quick Zaheer Khan because his medium pacers could be used as a possible bowling option.
“We thought we’ll use him as a batting allrounder in the team,” said More. “We discussed it for a long time and after deliberations we decided to have him in the team as an allrounder. It will give more comfort to the team balance.”
Dinesh Karthik has also been dropped as wicket-keeper for the blazing Mahendra Singh Dhoni who now holds the record for the highest score by a wicket-keeper in ODIs.
Selecting Ganguly as an all-rounder will incense many Indian fans who feel that the selectors are too scared to move on and leave Sourav behind. He looked gone for good after being dropped from the one-dayers and losing the captaincy but his selection will not suprise many Indian cricket fans, many of whom have become angry at the way Indian cricket is run.
Though Khan is no McGrath and has been performing poorly in recent times,Ganguly’s bowling record is nowhere near enough to class him as an allrounder. With just 24 wickets from 84 Tests and an average of over 50, Sourav’s bowling is about as threatening as a cardboard box and half as exciting.
If he is to prove his inclusion over India’s promosing youngsters, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif, it will be with the bat. Excluding his century against a pathetic Zimbabwe side, he has made just 598 runs from 20 innings at an average of 31 and taken two wickets.
Ganguly might also struggle off the field. How will he fit in with the new look side? Is going back the right answer? After he was dropped, India have looked a different side, winning the ODI series against the Sri-Lankans 6-1.
Time will eventualy tell.
Squad for first Test against Sri Lanka:
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Kaif, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Anil Kumble, RP Singh.