Differing strokesI'm a little nonplussed with this Ganguly affair, mainly concerning the various reactions. For long, the wishlist of Indian fans has been for the Indian Board to be more Australian-like. The Aussies showed no compunctions in dropping the likes of Healy or Mark Waugh (please correct me if I am wrong) when they felt their time was over and even denying them fond farewells at home. I think Steve Waugh got away with it because he'd made it clear he was going to retire.
In SCG's case, he is not going to retire (frankly, he is just 32 or 33 and surely he would feel he has a couple of years left), so I don't think what Gaurav suggests Dravid should have done in his post was feasible or even required (more on this post later).
If you want a professional board, you need to be able to take and swallow such "harsh" decisions - atleast in this case, there is a sufficient cricketing case rather than the lows of Noel David in the past. Whether this is any indication of a more professional selection committee, I don't know, but Test players have been dropped after doing much better in the past and it wasn't as if Ganguly was on top of the world.If you want a kinder board based on what a player has achieved in the past, then you need to devise severance/VRS packages and have a broad and kind HR policy :-)
Coming to Gaurav's post, I'm not very sure about Dravid being likened to Brutus. Let's examine the comments made by Dravid and Chappell. Their response to each question about Ganguly would have been (and was) examined under a microscope, perhaps even run through a voice processor for subtle tonal inflections! You expect the Indian captain (known for his political correctness) to say anything less than what he said about Ganguly's contributions in the match? Upto you to decide whether he was speaking the truth or willfully misleading everyone - he never said something on the lines of "oh, what a genius and how we missed him and if he hadn't been there, we'd have never won", did he? Also if Chappell says SCG is a "mentor", that thought should still hold in a professional setup - after all even if India's most successful captain is no longer among the top 6 batsmen in the team, he has a lot to offer off the field. Does he have to be in the playing 11 to provide these inputs? (could he have been in the 14? it's a call on how he'd respond to being in the squad without being in the 11 - perhaps they had just needed to leave him in the 14 and add another opener). At the same time, consider a selection meeting where Dravid is asked: who would you prefer, Ganguly or Yuvraj at 6? If his reply was Yuvraj, does that make him a Brutus-like figure. I think not. If Dravid had said "oh Ganguly made no worthwhile contribution in the Test", he'd have been crucified too. I don't think anyone is saying Yuvraj is the next Bradman, but it's a question of available resources and investments, ain't it? Instead of focussing on sorting out the opening problems, off we go on a tangent.
Whether Jaffar is the best option or not, I don't know - I haven't been following domestic cricket to that extent. The vacancy was in the opening slot, especially if you want to take 3 openers on a tour. But do you also want the Yuvrajs & Kaifs to get a run - of course. IMO too, Kaif could be a better Test player than Yuvraj, but so far Yuvraj has been preferred and I'm glad they haven't made an abrupt change. I don't understand what Gaurav and others mean by Ganguly having been denied a dignified exit - how do you decide this and how exactly do you ease a player out (who is not yet contemplating retirement)? Do you want to take him down in degrees?
Secondly, Gaurav wants Dravid to take a saner stand. He feels Dravid should have spoken his mind. But if the captain had spoken aloud and said "I don't want Ganguly at the cost of so and so player", he's a Brutus-like figure. If he'd said "Let's give him an honourable exit", then people would have been happier, but I think that would have shamed Ganguly more - being treated like an old family retainer people are too polite to speak the truth to. Let's cast our mind back to that famous declaration at 196* (at Multan, was it?). Dravid has shown this ruthless streak before and similarly caused a split in opinions. I refuse to believe yet that Dravid is anything less than a professional and like many of us who work in a professional setup, we must accept that such decisions have to be accepted without too much mollycoddling, for it's always going to come down to a question of subjective degrees. What does a phrase like "forced out" mean? Unless if a Test player voluntarily steps down (like one of those English captains once did - was it Mike Denness) or retires (like SRW), any player has to be "forced out" or "dropped" or "rested" depending on what turn of phrase catches your fancy. Why would it be any other way? Decorated Generals hopefully also need to know when their time is up - this general still feels (and why shouldn't he?) that he still has it in him. It's not time to make him a Field Marshal yet, is it? We need something like what they do in Britain to the annoying politicans - bump them up to the House of Lords! :-)
I guess my point is this: like most other people, I continue to be a Dravid fan, but unlike some of them, I don't want to be cynical of his motives.