Sunday, March 9, 2008

ODI omission hurts Ganguly

Still unable to come to terms with his omission from the Indian one-day side, Sourav Ganguly has said he doesn't know "what more" he must do to regain his spot.

Left out of the side prior to the CB Series in Australia, Ganguly felt he was dropped "despite being in good form" and is unclear whether a good showing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) would help his case for a recall.

"I was left out despite scoring close to 1300 runs (sic. 1240) in a year,"

Ganguly said.

"I really don't know what more there is to do. The best bit was I was in good form. So if I was left out then..."

Did he think a fine showing in the Twenty20 matches in the IPL would strengthen his case?

"I'm not really sure if there's a link between Twenty20 and one-day cricket. It's a completely different format. I've not really thought about it that way also."

Ganguly is set to play the Deodhar Trophy zonal one-day tournament, starting on March 14, but he didn't want to read too much into those performances too.

"I am looking at it as practice for the Tests against South Africa,"

he said.

"I'm not viewing it in any other way. It's an important series and I'm gearing up for that. We've played some good Test cricket recently and it will be nice to do well against a good side like South Africa."

Ganguly returned to the one-day side in January last year, marking the end of 15 months in the wilderness. He enjoyed a fine year with the bat, scoring 1240 runs in 32 matches at an average of 44.28, including ten half-centuries. However, his performances in the last ten matches saw the average dipping to 25.66. The team management in Australia had reasoned that Ganguly was overlooked for the sake of blooding youth, with the added emphasis on fielding abilities.

He was excited about leading the Kolkata franchise, a power-packed line-up that includes star names like Ricky Ponting, Shoaib Akhtar, Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle.

"It's a new format, a new tournament, new concept, in fact. I'm looking forward to it. It's a great opportunity for young players to play alongside the greats. They can learn a lot from them."

Ganguly spent half a day at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore to undergo routine tests prior to the selection for the South Africa series. He went through a medical examination, bleep test, body strengthening and fielding practice and was passed fit at the end of it.

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