Sourav Ganguly scored an impressive 83 today in his first tour match in South Africa. Does this herald the return of the former captain as a regular member of the team?
It is often heard that the pitches in South Africa for the tour matches are invariably a far cry from the pitches served up for the test matches. In other words, flat batting tracks welcome the touring batsmen for the preparation matches, while hostile, bouncy, seaming tracks tear the same batsmen apart in the test matches.
Was this the case today also? Indeed, it was heard in the media yesterday that the Potchefstroom (it’s hard to spell, isn’t it? Did I get it right?) pitch is quite conducive to batting. If that was indeed the case, why, oh why, were the top six batsmen, excluding, of course, Sourav, found wanting? It is quite amazing to note that the only two players who stayed at the wicket for some time in the morning session were the two men brought in from India for the test matches! Sehwag, Jaffer, Sachin, Dhoni… they have spent almost a month in SA, and yet they are found wanting, that too, apparently on a track that is not so bowler friendly?? It was only in the afternoon session, when the ball had lost its potency, that Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh were able to get in some useful runs.
In any case it feels good to know that Sourav is back where he belongs. Yes, he got hit on the helmet. Yes, he had a few streaky shots early on. But the bottom line is that he stayed. The mental strength is there; the gritty ‘never say die’ attitude is there; and so are the shots that make him one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket. In short, Sourav Ganguly is right as we know him to be: crunching the drives through point and cover point; getting hit behind the ear and still giving the bowler an eyefull.
Welcome back, Sourav. Hopefully this is only the start to a wonderful tour.