Pune: Sourav Ganguly will no longer be the captain of Pune Warriors in Indian Premier League and will serve only as the team`s mentor, putting an end to intense speculation over the struggling batsman`s fate following a string of poor results.
Ganguly`s future role in the team was spelt out by franchise owner Subrata Roy who said that the veteran batsman wants to remain in the team as mentor only.
"Sourav will be the mentor next season. We rather pushed him to play in IPL 5 as he is such a fantastic captain," Roy said. The Warriors are already out of the race for the play-offs berth and Roy said Ganguly would like to sit out the team`s last three matches for the youngsters` sake.
"Sourav wants to give youngsters a chance in the last games," Roy said.
Ganguly has been under the scanner for his failure as a batsman in the current edition of IPL while the team`s below-par show has also put a question mark on his waning leadership skills. Pune have lost nine of their 13 matches in the league so far.
"I did not want to be the captain but was asked to do so. Now I want to give chance to youngsters," Ganguly said.
Ganguly was appointed skipper after Yuvraj Singh, currently recuperating from a rare germ cell cancer, was ruled out due to health issues.
After a decent start, Ganguly has gone through a lean patch both as a batsman and skipper and his captaincy of late has been a subject of speculation.
Roy, however, came to the left-hander`s defence. "Ganguly is a fine captain, our team lacked good Indian talent," the owner said.
Team sources had earlier told PTI that the management wants the former India captain to take a call on his future in the remaining three matches.
"If Ganguly himself offers to step down from captaincy and decides to sit out for the remaining three games, the owners will certainly be only too happy to accomodate. The general feeling is that, they have lost with Ganguly at helm and with new players, it can`t get worse," a senior IPL official in the know of things said.
With Ganguly out of the reckoning, there is a possibility that either Aussie Michael Clarke or find-of-the-season Steve Smith would lead the side.
With 261 runs from 13 games at a strike-rate of shade over 100 and fielding which is at least a few notches below the standard set in a competition like IPL, the soon-to-be 40 Ganguly has struggled to fit himself to the demands of the shortest version. "The Warriors management may be resorting to a "wait and watch" policy as their officials are finding it difficult to go up and confront Ganguly over his team selections," the official added.
Some of the decisions made by Ganguly that have come under scanner include Bangladeshi opener Tamim Iqbal not getting a single game despite being the top-scorer in Asia Cup. Also, T20 specialist Alphonso Thomas being repeatedly ignored in favour of West Indian Marlon Samuels who did precious little with the bat or ball.
India international Rahul Sharma got dumped after being clobbered for five consecutive sixes but the feeling among the doemstic players is how and why the likes of Rahul and Manish Pandey are getting repeatedly ignored in favour of someone like Mithun Manhas who is not known to finish off games.
Last but not the least is Ganguly`s own form. Whether at the top or in the middle-order, he looked totally out of sorts.