By Jaideep Ghosh
Meet Ajit Chandila. Now, according to one of the leading cricket websites, the 28-year-old was born in Faridabad, Punjab. Actually, Faridabad is in Haryana. That is about as famous as he was ever going to get.
Then, with that nothing action of his, Chandila claimed four wickets against Pune Warriors India and became just a little famous, enough for yours truly to check his stats.
But this is not about Chandila. One of the three in his hat-trick was Dada. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the story.
The PWI franchisees realised, after about five consecutive losses that their run-getting was in trouble and Sourav Ganguly wasn’t helping. What had begun as the fifth sequel of the Return of the Prodigal as India’s best-ever skipper got them off to four straight wins, began to sound like a spluttering geriatric moped on its last legs as the matches became tougher and the tournament longer.
So there were some suggestions that Dada be promoted to ‘mentor’ of the team (which essentially meant that he wasn’t to be allowed anywhere near the playing XI) and rumours flew that he had relinquished the captaincy of the team.
One thing the franchisees forgot that having Ganguly in their team is always a double-edged weapon. That can get them a lot of eyeballs and revenue but an equal amount of angst and frustration, since Ganguly was never one to go quietly. Especially when he is playing badly.
So he scotched all rumours and stated that he would play all the remaining PWI matches, including the one against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Sunday and there was no question of relinquishing captaincy. So the franchisees better keep quiet and let him do his thing.
He got two runs off four balls and became a part of Chandila’s hat-trick. PWI lost by a packet. Business as usual.
Sahara beginning to look a little be-Sahara in front of their larger-than-life captain, who never was one to consider diplomacy as a career. For sure, he won’t be bullied into submission. Nor pleading will work. PWI will go down but Ganguly will stay the nation’s darling.
He went on to say that he would always make headlines “for good or bad reasons”. So you can love him or hate him. You cannot ignore Sourav Ganguly.
One more thing. Sport has taught us that having money is not enough to be able to run a team – be it Pune Warriors, the Indian hockey team or the chicken-hearted Blackburn.
In fact, it can lead to enthusiastic and uneducated over-investment, to pay 50 million dollars for putting a sticker on some race car. Owning teams with temperamental stars needs command and the ability to have your say. Doesn’t seem to be the case with the PWI bosses.
By Jaideep Ghosh