|Player:||SR Tendulkar, A Kumble, VVS Laxman, RS Dravid, SC Ganguly, GS Chappell, JG Wright, PA Jaques, MG Johnson, Inzamam-ul-Haq, ST Jayasuriya|
DateLine: 18th March 2006
Australian selectors are known for their current selection policy which is aimed to benefit the playing squad as a whole. In the past, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) has implemented different policies, which have worked well for them. The current policy being applied is known as the 'Rotation Policy'. According to this policy, the senior and most important players will be used more selectively in order to keep all the key players fit for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.
This policy has already delivered good results and has helped develop the talented pool of young players who are waiting for their turn, such as Phil Jaques and Mitchell Johnson.
On the other hand in India, the BCCI has applied an unspecified policy, which could be termed as the 'Axing Policy'. This policy started after former Australian batsman Greg Chappell took over as the new Indian coach from John Wright.
This policy was introduced after a public dispute between the Indian captain at the time, Sourav Ganguly and Chappell after the coach allegedly said in a leaked e-mail that Ganguly was mentally unfit to lead the Indian team. The attempts by the BCCI to solve the matter and force Ganguly and Greg Chappell to work together proved unsuccessful most likely because Greg Chappell was not interested.
After the dispute, Ganguly was dogged by poor form and fitness which allowed Chappell to apply the first step of his 'Axing Policy', forcing the BCCI to appoint Rahul Dravid on permanent ground as the new Indian captain.
Dravid made a fine start as captain as the team out-classed the Sri Lankans in India. However, although the team won that tournament, critics thought Dravid's captaincy was not up to standard. Even today his leadership is being questioned. This is undoubtedly a very big issue for both the BCCI and their Selection Committee.
After losing the captaincy, Ganguly made his comeback against Sri Lanka and scored 40 runs in both innings of the second Test match played at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. However, without any specific reason he was dropped for the third Test. Ganguly then decided to prove his fitness and form in the Ranji Trophy and responded to his critics very well by scoring heavily and making his way into the Indian squad for the Pakistan tour.
In the first test match against arch rivals Pakistan he was selected in the final team, but he didn't have an opportunity to bat in that match as most of the match was washed out by poor weather. In the second test at Faisalabad he was again dropped without any reason. In the last match, which was a decider of that series, he was again picked in the final X1 and scored a gutsy 34 and 37 in the two innings, which proved to be a much better effort than that of the other senior players.But Once again Ganguly was not picked for the team to play the ODI series against Pakistan. The former captain also became the victim of the Axing Policy in the current matches against England.
Senior stalwarts VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble were not spared the chop either.
When Ganguly was first asked to become the captain of the Indian Team, the credibility of Indian cricket was low following bouts of betting and match-fixing scandals. Ganguly has been the most successful Indian captain with 21 Test and 71 ODI victories under his belt and has been one of the best and most fascinating limited-overs international player produced in the history of Indian Cricket.
Ganguly has scored 10,000 runs in ODIs and is in fourth position after compatriot Sachin Tendulkar, Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq and Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya. He also holds second position on the list for the most centuries scored by a cricketer (22), after the great Sachin Tendulkar (39).
It would be advisable for the BCCI to not cement Greg Chappell's policies as the correct way forward. The BCCI should bring Ganguly back for both versions of the game as the team needs his services at least up to the 2007 World Cup and even after the most important event of this game.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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