Kapil Dev once had said Ganguly will make a comeback by virtue of performance not by virtue of pressure. Thanks to his wise opinion. Ganguly made a comeback by performing in domestic matches. Now, he has scored his first double ton in Test match.
Ups and downs may be part and parcel of life but it was quite unpleasant to see a number of Bengali politicians shouting from different places to the BCCI to take Ganguly again in the team. That was certainly a brazen display of regionalism by Indian politicians and I remembered with agony that once upon a time, the BCCI selection board had excluded Bishan Singh Bedi, the prominent bowler in the Prasanna-Bedi-Chandrashekhar trio of which world
class batsmen were usually afraid.
The cricket fans felt offended that Bedi was removed even without a formal meeting of the selection board and thus out of procedure. But, even more offensive was the fact that when the Test was to be held at Delhi, the cricket fans in Delhi
saw posters on the walls of Delhi written as ‘no Bedi no Match’. I simply wondered why such protests were not made when Test matches were held at other cities prior to the schedule at Delhi and why do people see such posters only in Delhi?
Was it because Bedi actually belonged to North India? It is true that the Delhiites feel pride in saying that Virendra Sehwag, the Multan ka Sultan or Najafgarh ka Raja, is a Delhiite. But when they perform in the field, they are Indians first and Delhiites or Bengalis after that. Regional pride may be genuine but it cannot overtake national pride.
It was painful for me to see even the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee also jumped in the debate saying grievously that the Indian team was not doing anything impressive! Was it so because Ganguly was not in the team? And then we would hear Brinda Karat demanding bringing Ganguly back. The chief minister of West Bengal
and other prominent leaders sang in chorus for readmitting Ganguly as if the performance has nothing to do with a sport. At the same time, it was fortunate to see when Kapil Dev said during an interview that Ganguly would make a comeback by virtue of performance and not by virtue of pressure! Politicians should remember the words of famous revolutionary Jatin Das who once said, ‘I am not a Bengali, I am an Indian’.
The politicians had otherwise even hushed up Greg Chappel, who had commented out of agony that politicians should keep quiet! The war between Greg Chappel and Maharaja Ganguly also had certainly displayed itself as an unpleasant chapter of Indian cricket in particular and sports
in general. Ganguly’s arrogance was not supported by his own performance at that time and he paid for it. He came in the national side as an extra player in his debut and refused to serve drinks to the team. People also criticized him for this behaviour also.
Thanks to Kapil’s wise opinion and Ganguly actually made a comeback by virtue of good performance in the domestic matches. Now, we can proudly say that he has become an indispensable player for India. Some people even go to the extent of saying that he should be made the captain of Indian team once again. Ganguly made his debut on June 20, 1996 at Lord’s against a Test match vs England. His previous career best score was 173 made against Sri Lanka at Mumbai in 1997-98. He made his ODI debut at Brisbane on Jan 11, 1992 against WI. His best score in one-day international is 183 vs Sri Lanka scored in the 1999 World Cup.