Home > Features > Moments in history >

Dodda Ganesh:  A fast bowler who was rushed into international cricket and made to pay the penalty

image_20130630120735

Dodda Ganesh… played a big role in Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy triumphs.

Dodda Ganesh, born June 30, 1973, was one of Karnataka’s finest bowlers, but only made a fleeting appearance on the international stage. Karthik Parimal looks back at the career of this domestic stalwart.

In the second half of the 1990s, Karnataka churned out more bowlers for India than any other region. The likes of Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble, to name a few, were mainstays in the Indian bowling line-up and, understandably, were first-choice bowlers for their state too, but there were others like Sunil Joshi, David Johnson, Vijay Bharadwaj and Dodda Ganesh. That attack explains Karnataka’s success in the Ranji Trophy during the aforesaid period — they were victorious in 1995-96, 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons — and it left many other good bowlers on the fringes. However, some managed to make the cut despite the high level of standards set; Dodda Ganesh certainly belonged to that bracket.

The rise

Despite starting out as a wicket-keeper batsman, it didn’t take long for Ganesh to shine as a bowler, thanks to the legendary Gundappa Viswanath, who recognised his latent potential. His skills were further sharpened in First-Class cricketer-turned-umpire AV Jayaprakash‘s training camp and he was soon drafted into the Karnataka side thereafter, where he gained an opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the world. Sharing a dressing room with some of India’s finest players quickly propelled him to the next level. But on hindsight, one feels that perhaps the transition should have been delayed a bit.

Running in with ball close to his chest and delivering it with an orthodox action that angled in towards the batsman, Ganesh caught the eye of many in the domestic circuit despite being surrounded by stalwarts himself. If his intentions were to try and impress his high-profile team-mates, he did a fine job of that. Soon, some of the other Indian batsmen would face Ganesh and witness his rise from close quarters.

A topsy-turvy ride

In the 1996 Irani Trophy, Ganesh bagged 11 wickets (six for 84 and five for 89), including some of India’s frontline batsmen like Navjot Sidhu and VVS Laxman (twice) which shot him to limelight. He was immediately on the radar of the national selectors and received a call up for India’s tour of South Africa in 1997. Despite the bowling line-up being stacked, Ganesh’s medium-pace was given priority. It was a moment he would have expected to meet a little later in his cricketing career, but the powers that otherwise.

Ganesh boarded the flight to wear the India cap. However, once there, the demands of international cricket swiftly brought him down to earth. In the two Tests, he bowled 43 overs and took one wicket at an average of 165. He was a novice with the bat and did little to prove otherwise in that department. Soon after the tour of South Africa, in what was to be his only One-Day International (ODI) against Zimbabwe, he conceded 20 runs for a wicket in his five overs. 

Lacklustre performances notwithstanding, he was retained for the upcoming tour of West Indies. He played two of the five Tests, one of them featuring India’s collapse while chasing a modest total of 120, and tasted little success. He finished with match-figures of four for 98, but the outing was clearly insipid. After that, Ganesh donned the Indian cap just once, in the final Test at Georgetown, before being duly dropped. Thereafter, he never staged a comeback.

Dodda Ganesh: A fast bowler who was rushed into international cricket and made to pay the penalty

Dodda Ganesh… 365 First-Class wickets © Getty Images

Perhaps, like Kumble had stated, Ganesh was too raw when he made his international debut. In an interview to ESPN Cricinfo, the latter concurred with the former’s observation. “Everything was new to me, the flight journey, the five-star hotels, the country [South Africa], and the whole touring. I was bit overwhelmed,” Ganesh said. But, the confidence he gained from being a part of an international unit was reflected when he went back to the domestic scene.

Karnataka’s stalwart

With a young breed of Indian bowlers emerging from other regions, Ganesh’s hopes of returning to the international fold slowly faded. However, the fact that Srinath, Prasad and Kumble were away on national duty for most part of the year meant that Ganesh took over the mantle for Karnataka. He delivered on a consistent basis, his 20 First-Class five-wicket hauls is a testimony to that fact, and stood up for the team. Although a mug with the bat, he scored an unbeaten 18 in a last-wicket stand that saw Karnataka trump Hyderabad in the semi-final of the 1998 Ranji Trophy. They went on to win the title that year.

By the time he called it quits from all forms of cricket in 2007, Ganesh had 365 First-Class wickets to his name. His contributions were rightfully applauded, by former and current greats, for his services were tireless. “I always put my state first and only then me. Karnataka cricket gave everything that I owe today and I am grateful for all the help from various quarters,” he stated in that interview.

Although politics managed to grab his attention, his love for cricket never vanished. He was roped in as Goa’s coach for the 2012 Ranji Trophy.

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal )

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: The last great pace bowling all-rounder

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 4 at Southampton: Hosts in command

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 Ian Bell India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Manoj Tiwary’s five-wicket haul helps India A bowl Australia A out for 228

James Anderson-Ajinkya Rahane incident: Joe Root unaware of event

Tino Best remains an integral part of St Lucia Zouks: Darren Sammy

New Zealand to introduce law which entails seven-year prison sentence for those guilty of match-fixing

Virat Kohli has dinner with Michael Vaughan

A Harry Potter XI

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s lacklustre performance, Moeen Ali’s rise as a spinner and other highlights of play on Day 4

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How the legend began

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Manoj Tiwary’s five-wicket haul helps India A bowl Australia A out for 228

Hrithik Roshan angry after Rs 400 crore alimony rumours become the butt of jokes!

Heavy rains disrupt the normal life of Mumbaikars

James Anderson-Ajinkya Rahane incident: Joe Root unaware of event

Pune landslide toll reaches 25, 160 still trapped

Lara Dutta to be a brand ambassador of a new channel

Government making effort to challenge TDSAT order on 3G roaming

Airtel may hike call rates; Sell towers in Africa

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here