Interesting stuff here on Amit Varma’s India Uncut about the clique of journalists with unhindered access to Sourav Ganguly, and how they target V V S Laxman to deflect attention off Ganguly’s failures. If this is true, it makes for another interesting insight into how sports media works. During my chat with Amit last week, he suggested that Ganguly’s time was up and that Dravid-as-captain would bear watching. I’m not too sure about that, having long been a fan of Ganguly’s assertiveness as a leader (along with Mark Taylor, he’s the only captain I’ve ever really noticed as a captain). But Amit’s case is that Dada’s batting has declined to the point where the underconfidence might now be affecting his captaincy (an interesting inversion of captaincy affecting batting, which is the traditional malaise).
About Dravid: it’s a matter of record that his performance as a batsman in the Tests he’s captained has been very poor (5 matches, 138 runs, average 17.25 with a top score of 33 - despite the fact that all these matches have been in his "golden form" period of the past three years). But guess one can only know for sure when he’s been given a long stint in the job.
P.S. Isn’t it strange how quickly things change? Just a couple of years ago we were hearing all sorts of things about India’s Big Four and how they would form the nucleus of the middle order for several years to come. Now, on current form, Ganguly and Laxman are completely out of things (though the latter is always capable of coming good in spectacular fashion). Sehwag has become, and this was completely unforeseen, India’s second-best Test batsman (behind Dravid). Tendulkar - for all the ridiculous amounts of vitriol poured on him - is still easily the third-best, even when struggling with injuries/mental uncertainty. And then - to use a gloriously certain cricketing cliche - there’s daylight. To paraphrase David Mitchell, "What wouldn’t Indian cricket supporters give now for a never-changing map of the ever-constant ineffable?"