What’s the story?
Former skipper Mohammad Azharuddin has lashed out at Ravi Shastri for leaving out Sourav Ganguly from his list of great Indian captains. The 53-year old took offence to his erstwhile team-mate placing personal issues over cricket history and went on to term his comments as ‘stupid’.
“It was such a stupid thing to say. Can't he see statistics? It doesn't matter to me what he thinks of people but when Shastri refers to great Indian captains, his personal bias shouldn't be used to insult those who have contributed more to Indian cricket,” Azharuddin was quoted as saying to The Hindustan Times.
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A couple of days back, Shastri triggered a massive controversy by omitting Ganguly’s name when revealing his pick for the best Indian captains of all time. The matter came up after MS Dhoni tendered his resignation as India’s limited-overs skipper.
While praising the 35-year old wicket-keeper batsman for his stellar achievements in national colours, Shastri took an indirect dig at Ganguly by calling Dhoni as a 'dada captain’ (in reference to the famous Bengali nickname given to Ganguly). Not stopping at that, he mentioned the likes of Kapil Dev, Ajit Wadekar and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi in his list before concluding that ‘Baaki koi nahi (there is no one else)’.
The heart of the matter
It is a well-known fact that Shastri and Ganguly have fallen out publicly following the selection of India’s head coach last year. The stylish left-hander, who is also President of the Cricket Association of Bengal, was absent during the former’s interview as he had to attend another meeting. Anil Kumble eventually got the top job owing to his unquestionable pedigree as an icon of the game.
Since then, the duo have regularly traded barbs at each other with Shastri once claiming that there was more to West Bengal than just the ‘Prince of Calcutta’. Even as emotions are running high in the aftermath of Dhoni’s resignation, the former left-arm spinner took the opportunity to ignore Ganguly’s yeoman service to Indian cricket.
Ganguly has not yet responded to Shastri’s comments. It remains to be seen if he indeed does so in the coming days. Meanwhile, Azharuddin has filed his nomination for President of the Hyderabad Cricket Association and will be looking to channel his energy on the elections which is slated to take place on the 17th.
Ganguly’s record as Indian captain speaks for itself. Apart from securing several memorable victories away from home, he played an instrumental role in developing the careers of numerous accomplished cricketers.
Shastri’s views reek of personal bias and it’s highly unfortunate that an experienced sportsman decides to wash his dirty linen in public. While opinions are usually subjective, putting down one individual to praise another does not make for a pretty picture.