Can Ganguly lead KKR to IPL Crown this year?
It seems that unpredictability or uncertainty is the way that God has paved for Sourav Ganguly. Just when it looked like Ganguly had no chance of making a comeback, he surprised one and all with an astounding round of achievements. He has done it in the past, both as a cricketer and as a captain, while donning the Indian colours. And now, he has got another chance of reviving his fortunes along with the beleaguered Kolkata Knight Riders in the third edition of the Indian Premier League.
Last year when Sourav Ganguly was removed from the Kolkata Knight Riders’ captaincy, obituaries were written for Ganguly, the captain. People said that it was the end of watching Ganguly’s captaincy skills in action, since he no longer would play for India. But now that he has started the IPL-III season with a bang. Under him, the bottom ranked KKR has started superbly and his team is looking like a completely different outfit.
Much water has flown under Kolkata’s Hoogly bridge…Buchanan’s Multiple-Captain theory, Brendon McCullum’s ascendancy to KKR captaincy in replacing Ganguly, KKR’s abysmal show under him, owner Shah Rukh Khan’s utter frustration that saw him leaving the team midway through the IPL-II, ghost writers giving away secret dressing room information, the Indian and foreigner controversy …and then the unceremonious exit of coach John Buchanan and his support staff, or rather his family members…All happened within a time-span of less than six months!
Kolkata’s cricket crazy people were utterly frustrated when the top job was snatched from the hands of their very own ‘Dada’, whom they loved, adored and idolized; as also with the negative developments in their team. It thus follows that they would be terrifically happy at the way things have turned out for Ganguly after all.
But the million dollar question remains… Can Sourav Ganguly inspire one of the greatest comebacks for the Kolkata franchise, leading his team to win the crown in 2010? Can Ganguly recreate the magic of his captaincy to instill confidence and self-belief that was his trademark as an Indian captain? Will he be able to match the charisma of Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist, who helped their respective teams-Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers- win the IPL title?
Contrary to popular belief, age is not a factor in T20. In fact, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist succeed at what was considered the ripe old age for cricketers. Sanath Jayasuriya is time and again showing that notwithstanding his age, he has kept his firepower intact. Maybe all these players have become more dangerous after adding all the years of experience in their armory.
If Rajasthan Royals’ glorious run under Shane Warne in the inaugural edition is nothing but a fairy tale, Deccan Chargers’ turnaround from bottom to top position can be an inspiration for any team struggling to find their feet under the sun.
It’s no doubt that Ganguly is no more the attacking batsman he used to be some five or six years back. He surely has lost his old domination for which he was feared by the bowlers all over the world. Ganguly’s poor performance with the bat in the second edition of IPL in South Africa testifies to the fading glory of his willow.
If he wants to rule the T20 format as a batsman, he has to regain his old domineering self. A captain can’t earn respect by simply instructing his players to take the onus on themselves. It’s he who should show them better. People like John Buchanan can get away with preaching, but not inspirational characters like Ganguly, who has always liked to lead his team by example.
From the very first year, one particular aspect has gone horribly wrong for them. Neither the local players like Arindam Das, Debabrata Ghosh, Yashpal Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara nor the India discards Ajit Agarkar, Aakash Chopra or Sanjay Bangar are the cricketers, who can set the cricket field on fire, whosoever is leading them or however many captains KKR decides to employ.
But this year Kolkata has made some smart moves. First, they bought Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Matthews, who played a stellar role in their first two matches. The move to bring in local lad Manoj Tiwari from Delhi Daredevils is also paying rich dividends. Tiwari is a talented guy, who was not getting enough opportunity in Delhi team. Ganguly, on the other hand, has given him the opportunity to bat at the top and his brilliant show in the second match against Royal Challengers Bangalore proves that Tiwari loves his new role.
In the bowling department too, Ganguly understood that his former India team-mate Ajit Agarkar is a spent force now and bought New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond. His pace would surely help them in the long run.
Agarkar has always been notorious for giving away too many runs in the death overs. Apart from two or three matches in his entire career, he has never won a match for India under trying circumstances.
Maybe his all-round skills, (which are yet to flourish!), might have inspired confidence among the KKR think-tank before the first edition. Aakash Chopra and Sanjay Bangar might have played some gusty Test innings for India, but they never played any significant innings in the shorter format anywhere in the world.
Ganguly, being the astute man, has already taken the charge of the team and picked up some young players, who are more suited to the slam-bang format.
Knowing Ganguly for two decades, one can rest assured that the man has all the capability of turning the wheels of fortune for KKR. And for that, he has Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne for inspiration.