Passage through Bengal

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Life at Bhutan: Tough Going Here Boss!!!!

Passage through Bengal:

Nothing has changed so far, even after 10 years after leaving Bengal. Life comes to a standstill over here. The people are so simple, elegant in their approach. Perhaps that is why it is called, “Aamar Baangla, Sonar Baangla” (in Bengali), i.e., My Bengal, Golden Bengal.

The journey began on 4th February, 2009, when I left my EmPower and started chasing my dreams of becoming a Mentor or a Lopen (in Bhutanese) or a Teacher. Mentorship runs deep intro my blood, so choosing a career in teaching was easy for me after spending more than a year in the corporate world.

It took almost 2 days to reach Kolkata as the train was 8 hours late. Reaching Chandernagore, I started my work immediately. Already late by a day, I was lucky to get a citizen ID proof from the District Magistrate who was kind enough to let me go. Then me and my dad went to the bank, then to the counselor where I submitted my Voter’s ID application. Finally the same day I booked a tatkal ticket to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) via the Teesta Torsa express the next day.

Next day early morning was busy as usual. I caught my train at 2:30 in the afternoon and left my hometown for NJP. I had to spend a sleepless night and reached NJP at 3:00 next morning. Immediately I had to catch a bus from Tenzing Norgay Bus stand to Jaigaon, the border area with Bhutan, which took a nerve wrenching 8 hours in bus. I reached the border at 3:00 in the afternoon of 10th February.

I had to spend a disgusting 4 hours running from Indian Embassy to Bhutan Immigration office and finally after persuading the officers on either side, I obtained my permit to Thimphu. I had to regain my energy with generous doses of “Beef Thupka”, a dish made from rice, Red Chillies, cheese and fried beef.

Luckily I got a land roaster, a 8 wheeled land rover, from the bus stand to Thimphu at 4:30 in the evening the same day. I had to donate 600 Nultrums to the driver to take me to my destination. The ride started well, but 6 kms from Phuentsholing (after Jaigaon border, it is the first Bhutan town on Bengal border) the road became extremely bad. There was no metallic road, and the ride till Thimphu entrance (a distance of 176 km) was a spine buster one. It took a heavy toll on my body. Winding roads at a height of 7500 feet above sea level, with 1000 feet deep fall on one side, the vehicle moving at 30 kms/ hr. was a ride for me to remember. There was eminent danger lurking all the time that we fall down in the valley. Any ways after 9 long hours at 12:30 in the night I reached Thimphu and was immediately greeted by the amazing beauty of the land of dragons. Mountains on all side with a clean well maintained city, thanks to the managerial capacity of His Majesty, the King, Aum Sangay Zam. I will soon post the amazing photos here. With a temperature of 2 degree Celsius all the year, our “Guna Bhai” would love to have a villa here. I was lucky to witness the first snowfall of my life the next night.

I reported to the Ministry and then became a proud owner of the title “Lopen” given to all teachers here. The very next day we (I met my roommate here. He is Malayali who will also be teaching along with me) were told that we were posted at Samdrup Zonkhar Higher Secondary School. So spending the night in Thimphu we set out for our destination. Reaching Phuentsholing today, we were taken back when we heard that it was a strike in Bengal. So we are stranded now and that is why I thought to pen down my experiences here so far.

Please do let me know, how you like my experience. I will be posting the photos soon. We will start our journey tomorrow at the earliest. We will catch a taxi to Samdrup that will last another 9 hours. So bye for now from your friend. Will catch with you soon telling you about my next saga.

By Arunava Das

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Advantage Asia: Bloom Of CRO Industry

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The CRO that sprung-up in Asia, particularly in India and China, about a decade ago, received its initial thrust from the escalating R&D costs that were immobilizing the R&D programs of many global pharmaceutical companies. The recent economic slowdown in some of the major western economies has further strengthened the need to outsource some parts of the developmental work to countries with cost advantages. The large patient pool, most of them treatment-naïve, was and still remains the most attractive feature of the CRO industry in Asia. This coupled with lower manpower costs, lower investigator costs and lower cost of overheads for conducting clinical trials in India and China, has driven the growth of this industry in the last few years.

The Asian CRO industry has been estimated to be around $1 billion in 2007 and is all set to double in size by 2010. The largest share of this industry will be held by India, China and Australia. Other Asian countries that are fast developing the technical expertise and trained personnel to cater to the growing global trend of outsourcing clinical research are South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

India is the fastest growing outsourced clinical research destination in the Asia Pacific region; with the clinical research market in India (which was about $100 million in 2005) estimated to triple in size by 2010. India’s big advantage remains the availability of large numbers of well-qualified personnel. The cost benefits of conducting a clinical trial in India are well proven by the whopping 50 percent savings in conducting phase I, and nearly 60 percent savings in conducting phase II & III trials in India. The government too has done its bit by signing the TRIPs agreement and setting up a regulation to protect intellectual property rights; by providing fiscal incentives to research-based companies and by allowing the same phase studies (as the country of origin) to be initiated in India. This growth is further augmented by the rapid advances made in the improvement of medical infrastructure in India. Local corporate hospitals like the Apollo group are expanding their presence in various parts of India and are adding several different types of specialties to each center. Also, International hospital chains like Columbia-Asia have entered India and are all set to scale-up the medical infrastructure in India to International levels. These changes have increased the confidence of global pharmaceutical companies in India being able to provide quality CRO services.

China is the next in line. According to some reports there is a 15 percent cost advantage in conducting phase I studies in China; and a 20 percent cost advantage for phase II & III studies. Like India, China too has abundance of well-qualified personnel and its government too is providing easy access to financial assistance to entrepreneurs interested in setting up R&D related businesses through grants and loans; in fact the Chinese government has set up International level pre-clinical facilities in Beijing and Shanghai. This commitment to R&D has resulted in China being able to attract some global players to increase their presence there; for instance, in early 2006, AstraZeneca announced its plans to add a further $100 million to its research program in China.

Recent Challenges

The Indian and Chinese CRO industry could have proliferated at a much faster pace had they not been held back by some of the issues that are unique to this part of the world. The major issue has long been the lack of skills (particularly among Indian and Chinese clinical research personnel) that are taken for granted among personnel of similar qualifications in the West. The other issues include the lack of adequate infrastructure required to ensure quality of the study; inaccuracies in the documentation; improper interpretation and implementation of global regulatory requirements and growing concerns regarding confidentiality of study outcomes.

Some of the more recent challenges that have been thrown at the Asian CRO industry are the need for global data, EU Clinical Trials Directive and Electronic Data Capture (EDC). Global pharmaceutical companies seek CROs with global presence because of their need for global data; this is often challenging to local CROs in Asia who have limited global presence. According to Gregory Holmes, Executive VP for Clinical Operations at SFBC, a contract research organization based in North America, “A lot of our business is driven from the US and North America but we continue to diversify. We find that it’s necessary to run clinical trials on all continents; it’s just part of the regulatory package.”

The EU Clinical Trials Directive has made the conduct of clinical trials in Europe increasingly complicated, thus driving the pharmaceutical industry to look for CROs who can provide greater regulatory support in this changing environment. Sources indicate that the complexity of conducting clinical trials has increased manifold; for instance, by 2005 the number of clinical procedures involved in a clinical trial had reached >85, a 70 percent increase over those required in 2000.

EDC has now become a way of life in the clinical research industry as this is believed to improve process efficiencies. This will require CROs to either create their own EDC software or partner with IT service providers that have the expertise to convert the paper-based records to electronic ones.

As safety has become the focus of most research, CROs who can partner with pharmaceutical companies to provide additional safety and efficacy data that will inevitably be requested by the large regulatory bodies like the FDA are now more sought-after. In this scenario, the Asian CROs now increasingly have to find global partners who can take them up the value chain.

Future outlook

Even as the pharmaceutical industry is evolving and adopting newer business models, by moving away from the blockbuster, me-too brands towards research in understanding disease pathways; the CRO industry remains the backbone of the pharmaceutical industry’s research efforts. This is reflected in the fact that the worldwide CRO industry which was believed to be about $18 billion in size in 2007, is all set to grow by 14-15 percent annually in the coming years. This is reflected in the confident statement by Greg Holmes, Executive Vice President of Clinical Operations, SFBC, who says, “There’s a huge surge right now and I think in terms of supply and demand, there’s more demand. It’s a great time to be a CRO. In turn, the number of drugs being developed through phases II-IV has also increased.”

The main drivers of this growth are early development and phase I activity. By outsourcing early stage development work to expert CROs, global pharmaceutical companies have been able to increase the number of targets that they can put through clinical development. “Pipeline trends highlight preclinical and phase I as the fastest-growing areas of drug development during the last two to three years. One of the factors driving this growth is a greater focus on eliminating drug candidates at an earlier and less costly stage of development,” says Simon Higginbotham, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Kendle.

As the pharmaceutical industry faces increasing scrutiny and tighter regulations, they in turn expect greater rigor out of their clinical research service providers. Since the CRO industry is very fragmented, global pharmaceutical companies often tend to create preferred service provider lists. While large groups like Quintiles, Covance and Parexel can find their way to the preferred vendor lists quite easily, some of the smaller CROs are now heading towards consolidation and forming strategic partnerships in order to compete for a position on these lists. Asian CROs have begun their quest for expansion through partnerships and one such alliance was formed in the second half of 2007 between the Russian, Synergy Research Group (SynRG) and Neeman Medical International (NMI), an India-based CRO, which established a new CRO Worldwide Network alliance to be “able to compete with global CROs in the bids for large international multi-center clinical studies.”

Several local CROs in Asia are now looking at expanding outwards. This trend is clearly visible from the recent acquisitions by Indian CROs of either parts of business or entire CRO set-ups in Europe. Take for instance the case of Synchron Research Services, an Ahmedabad, India-based CRO who announced in the first quarter of 2008 that they had acquired (for approximately $6.7 million) the stand-alone bio-analytical and bio-marker facility of Paraxel in France. This is touted as one of the significant acquisitions in CRO industry in India. Paraxel is also believed to have increased its stake in Synchron from 19.5 percent to 31 percent. This seems to be the perfect example of local focus and global reach.

It is estimated that in the period 2008 to 2012, the top 50 global pharmaceuticals companies are going to face patent expiries on $102 billion worth of brands (Source: Generic Series: Optimizing Brand Lifecycle Management: Winning Strategies to Maximize Revenue in the Face of Growing Generic Competition. DMHC2401 | Publication Date: 15 July 2008). This will further squeeze the margins of pharmaceutical companies that are already struggling with the prospect of low R&D productivity and low ROI on R&D investments. Thus, to save on developmental costs, global pharmaceutical companies are more likely to partner with full-service CROs rather than go about looking for a number of service providers who have proven abilities in several service areas related to clinical research. These services include preclinical/toxicology services; conduct of clinical trials from phase I to phase IV; site management services; regulatory affairs support; quality assurance; data management services; and laboratory analysis services. See figure 1 for services that form part of full-service CROs.

Emphasizing the emerging need for full-service CROs, Dr D’Sylva, CEO, Commonwealth Biotechnologies (CBI) said, at the Second Annual Global R&D Congress in Washington DC, “Simply adding affordable capacity by outsourcing to Asia is no longer sufficient,” and that drug companies are increasingly asking “CROs to provide more value by operating as full collaborators, with integrated service offerings, the ability to innovate and solve problems.”

However, even though full-service CROs are the order of the day, not all large CROs can provide all the specialty services and often this vertically integrated business model is not profitable for mid-sized and smaller CROs. Hence, large CROs are now looking at partnering with specialty CROs that have a proven track record in specialty services like clinical site management services; laboratory services; clinical data management services, etc. This is a win-win solution since it provides the pharmaceutical industry with a combination of the best possible service providers and the large and mid-sized CROs can join hands and gets a sizeable chunk of the business instead of competing for the same
piece of pie.

While the full-service model is followed by very few CROs in Asia, there are plenty of smaller CROs that specialize in and provide many of the associated services like clinical site management, data management, safety reporting, drug distribution and central laboratory services.

The following sections give further details regarding two key associated services of CROs in Asia; namely, clinical site management services and central laboratory services.

Clinical Site Management Services

Site management services include site initiation, site monitoring and project management.

Some of the advantages of using CROs with efficient clinical site management services are:

• Early study initiation due to ability to gain quick regulatory approvals and getting on board good study investigators because of presence of site coordinators.
• Quick ethics committee approval.
• Clinical research coordinators help in speedy patient enrolment and retention up to study closure.
• Constant supervision of site activities ensures quick resolution of issues and maintaining quality standards.
• Ensuring that ‘clean data’ is generated from the site thus reducing data management time and cost.
• Ensuring regular supply of investigational drug to the sites.
• Ensuring that sites comply with ICH GCP and other regulatory guidelines.

Central Laboratory Services

Laboratory services are required in order to analyze the body fluids or other specimens collected from the patients or study participants by the study investigators at the various sites at which the study is being conducted. Large CROs like Covance have central laboratory services that process shipments of specimens received from study sites across the world.

At the time of receipt these specimens are separated according to their storage requirements e.g., those that need to be frozen or refrigerated, need to be separated from those that are kept at room temperature. Once the specimen kit is received at the central laboratory, it is checked against a customized, protocol-specific database to verify the visit number, the tests required to be performed, any optional tests that may be required, patient demographic, time/date of specimen collection and also stability and appropriate storage history of the specimen kit.

When the specimen is being processed or analyzed, each kit containing the specimen and its accompanying tube is appropriately bar-coded to give it a unique identity which links it to the patient and the specific visit during which the specimen was collected.

Some CROs may also offer on-site testing for the simpler studies with short timelines. The larger CROs with well-equipped central laboratory services can offer a range of analytical options which address a variety of scientific disciplines starting from the basic ones like routine chemistry and pathology, microbiology, virology, immunology, hematology, flow cytometry, to the more complex ones like genomics.

In addition to central laboratory services, large global and full-service CROs can also offer what is known as ‘local laboratory services’ which allow the specimens to be processed at laboratories near the study sites but through a software link allow the specimen-related data to be sent to a central laboratory that collects specimen-data and not actual specimens on a real-time basis.

The advantages of having central laboratory services are:

• Quick, high-quality and uniform data availability
• Rapid access to safety data required for quick decision-making
• Laboratory results are consistent and conform to a single global standard that can be understood by investigators across geographies
• Real-time access to laboratory data saves data management time and costs

HAPLESS BENGAL

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HAPLESS BENGAL, If Not HOPELESS

This is in response to the “Brilliant Article”, People!!! No Thank You by Vijai G on EmPower Research blog. Nice to know that Bangalore also had mills that were regarded as spearheads of industry yesteryears. I come from a place known as Chandernagore (Its a French Town on the banks of Ganges, 30 km upstream from Kolkata). It’s famous for Red Curd (Laal Doi) and also boasted of the erstwhile Gondalpara Jute Mills that along with Tribeni Tissues were a common figure in every household not only in Bengal, but also in India. Now the former has been shut down and the latter is running in the midst of losses.

Bandel, 20 km from Chandernagore and 52 km from Kolkata by train, once boasted of the world renowned Dunlop Tyres and Industries. Now it is in shambles.

Perhaps you have heard of Hindustan Motors that manufactures the Ambassador, still the most sought after car for its hardiness and extra comfortability, is also running under losses. It is located at Hindmotor, a place 19 kms downstream Chandernagore.

It is very frustrating for the people of Bengal that whenever it looked like standing on its feet, it has been pecked by unwanted political vandalisms. First it was the CPM, then came the Congress briefly and finally it is now a tug of war between Trinamool Congress and CPM.

God has given us one earth and we had drawn lines on it and divided the land into entities that belong to you and me. I am thankful of the fact that the moon is the satellite of earth and far away from us. If it would have been on earth, we would have divided it too.

Such articles bring out the disgust that the people of Bengal are facing. Sourav Ganguly recently pointed out that he wants her daughter to grow up and settle in Bengal only, but is doubtful as he says “I don’t want Sana to grow up and see there are no jobs in Bengal”.

And CPM led coalition government in West Bengal is seeing dreams out of no-where that Sourav becomes the BRAND AMBASSADOR of HAPLESS BENGAL, IF NOT HOPELESS.

By Arunava Das

Ballistic Yuvraj Powers India To 387

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Ballistic Yuvraj Powers India To 387: Marauding Sehwag, Gambhir And Yuvraj Send The English Bowlers On A Leather Hunt

Match Stats:

India 387 for 5 (Yuvraj 138*, Sehwag 85, Gambhir 51) v England in 50 overs.

England require another 388 runs with 10 wickets and 50 overs remaining at RR 7.81

Bowling card looked rather miserable.

JM Anderson 8 0 52 0 6.50 (3w)
SCJ Broad 10 0 74 0 7.40 (4w)
A Flintoff 10 0 67 1 6.70
SJ Harmison 10 0 75 2 7.50 (2w)
SR Patel 9 0 78 2 8.66
PD Collingwood 1 0 15 0 15.00
KP Pietersen 2 0 16 0 8.00 (1w)

First days as captain in India don’t get much worse. Kevin Pietersen’s decision to field because of an early morning start in Rajkot spectacularly backfired as India galloped out of the blocks and never looked back. What seemed a brave decision turned into an utter disaster with India posting 387 for 5 in 50 overs of ballistic stroke play. Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag added 127 for the first wicket, after which Yuvraj Singh overcame a stiff back to slam an unbeaten 138 from just 78 balls. It was the fastest ODI hundred against England, while India’s total was significantly higher than their previous best against this team, the 329 scored at Bristol in 2007, their highest total at home, and second highest anywhere.

England’s decision to field because of an early morning start in Rajkot was in danger of backfiring as India galloped out of the blocks. What seemed a brave decision from Kevin Pietersen turned into a potential disaster, with Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag posting a century opening stand. An expensive Samit Patel removed both half-centurions before the half-way mark – Sehwag fell 15 short of another audacious hundred – but not before an ominous platform had been laid.

In the absence of Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad was entrusted the new ball alongside James Anderson. Both were wayward in their first spells and India started briskly. There is no margin for error when bowling to Sehwag, especially on a quick outfield, and he flicked Anderson and Broad towards the square-leg boundary when they strayed on to his pads. And when Broad offered the slightest bit of room outside off stump, third man retrieved the ball from the boundary.

After 15 quiet deliveries, Gambhir walked down and lifted Anderson over mid-on. He then hit Broad for three fours in the sixth over, the gentlest of open-faced steers – which took him past 2000 ODI runs – sandwiched between slaps down the ground. The understanding between the two Delhi batsmen was further evident with some smart tip-and-runs as well.

India had made 53 in ten overs and Pietersen took the second Powerplay immediately. After three overs from Andrew Flintoff, Pietersen turned to Samit Patel’s left-arm spin in the 13th over. Sehwag drove him inside-out through extra cover after which the batsmen took easy singles and doubles. The second Powerplay cost 40 runs.

Paul Collingwood, playing his 150th ODI, took the ball after the drinks break and Sehwag slammed his first two balls for six. The second shot, a disdainful sweep into the stands at midwicket, raised his fifty, from 44 balls, and India’s 200. Sehwag gave Patel scant respect, hitting consecutive boundaries.

Gambhir followed Sehwag to fifty, from 59 balls, but became the first casualty. Dancing down to Patel, he holed out to Owais Shah at long-off. Sehwag smashed Patel for 15 runs off four balls in the 24th over before he was splendidly caught by Ian Bell at midwicket. England needed something extraordinary to stop Sehwag, and they were relieved to see his back after a 73-ball 85.

By Arunava Das

Eco Drive Debate Link 2

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National Environment Policy (NEP) 2004

The need for a comprehensive policy statement on environment in India has been felt for some time now. There are many sectoral and cross-sectoral approaches to environmental management and a holistic picture of these is required. It is also necessary to review the earlier objectives, policy instruments, and strategies. The National Environment Policy (NEP, 2004) has been formulated with these concerns in mind. It supports India’s national commitment to a clean environment, mandated in the Constitution in Articles 48 A and 51 A (g), strengthened by judicial interpretation of Article 21. The NEP, 2004 is also intended to endorse India’s commitment to various international initiatives. The policy attempts to mainstream environmental concerns into all development activities. The NEP 2004 highlights the key environmental challenges faced by India at present as also those that the country is likely to face in the future. The draft document includes the objectives of environment policy, normative principles underlying policy action, strategic themes for intervention, broad indications of the legislative and institutional development needed to accomplish the strategic themes, and mechanisms for implementation and review. An extensive process of consultation with experts and various stakeholders has been carried out towards developing this policy. This process has also been documented. It is anticipated that the NEP, 2004 will be used as a guide for action: in regulatory reform, programmes and projects for environmental conservation; and review and enactment of legislation, by agencies of the Central, State, and Local Governments. The policy encourages partnerships of different stakeholders, i.e. public agencies, local communities, the investment community, and international development partners, in harnessing their respective resources and strengths for environmental management. It also expects to raise financial support through innovative processes to meet its objectives. The draft of the National Environment Policy, 2004 can be found on http://envfor.nic.in/. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has put this draft up for comments. The present debate under this forum hopes to stimulate discussion on the draft policy.

By Arunava Das

Eco Drive Debate Link

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Ecotourism – Boon or Doom?

2002 – International Year of Ecotourism

The term ecotourism has come into existence fairly recently and now evolved as a concept. Simply stated ecotourism is environmentally responsible tourism, which must be:

1. Environmentally, socially, culturally, and economically sustainable
2. Educational and
3. Locally participatory

Ecotourism as defined by IUCN is, environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, to enjoy, study and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features both past and present), that promotes conservation, has lower visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations

Some Socio-economic and Environmental benefits of Ecotourism

• Tourism revenue generated can be channeled in to the management of the protected areas
• Tourism could generate local employment, both directly from the tourism sector and from various support and resource management sectors
• It could stimulate local industry i.e., hotel, restaurants, transport systems souvenirs and guide services. It generates foreign exchange
• It diversifies the local economy, particularly in rural areas where agricultural employment may be sporadic or insufficient
• It could benefit local people by stimulating development and improvement in support, infrastructure of services i.e. local transport, communications and water and energy systems
• It serves as an effective educational tool for visitors, creates awareness and instills in them a degree of concern which could perhaps eventually translate in to active support for the conservation of the area, the revenue earned from tourism prompts by convincing government officials and the general public of the value of natural areas.

Some Negative Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of Ecotourism

• Tourism may cause degradation of the habitat by polluting waterways, accumulation of garbage, overharvesting of flora etc. *Unregulated tourist activity may cause disturbance to the flora and fauna e.g. Visitors may disturb nesting birds, use of spotlights shocks and disconcerts animals. Frequent damage to flora may affect their regeneration potential
• Ecotourism ventures often alienate local people if they are denied access to the area in question on one hand while outside tourists are encouraged on the other
• Influx of outsiders as tourists and entrepreneurs cause social and cultural degradation of the local population

The Debate

Although planned as an approach to make biodiversity pay for itself as also provide a financial incentive to communities to conserve, it remains a highly controversial concept. Ecotourism has been promoted the world over and raises several questions. A key question is who benefits from ecotourism? Several case studies show that profit from this enterprise ultimately goes to the exchequer or the private enterprises and not to the local people. Also, when does draw the line beyond which ecotourism starts to cause degradation and disturbance to the very elements which are to be conserved? There is a strong lobby that feels that ecotourism has alienated local people and caused social and cultural degradation. On the other hand supporters of ecotourism quote examples where the biodiversity and local people have benefited from ecotourism. Both points of view need to be debated.

By Arunava Das

Tendulkar Reveals That Ganuly’s Decision to Quit Came As A Surprise To Him

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Tendulkar Reveals That Ganuly’s Decision to Quit Came As A Surprise To Him

Sachin Tendulkar has said the senior players in the Indian team must be respected for the “major contributions” they have made over the years. Tendulkar, who recently became the leading Test run-scorer, said the decision on retiring from international cricket should be made by the players, whom he felt will know when the time is right.
© Getty Images

The seniors – Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble – were under intense scrutiny by the media after poor performances in the 2-1 defeat in the Test series in Sri Lanka. Ganguly, who was not picked for the Irani Trophy, announced the Tests against Australia will be his last international appearance for India.

“Lack of respect towards senior players doesn’t happen anywhere,” Tendulkar told the news channel NDTV. “We all know when to move away from the sport. But people have their opinions. Sometimes these opinions are not correct. But one is made to believe that this is the right opinion. The individuals will take their decisions when they feel it’s the right time.”

Tendulkar said he was “surprised by Sourav’s [Ganguly’s] decision to quit”. “I am sure it must have taken him a long time to reach there. And it’s a big decision. But if he feels that it is the way to go, then we all should respect his decision.”

Does this not throw any light as to what were the circumstances under which Ganguly had to take such a tough decision, a man who has served Indian cricket for the past 10 years.

Tendulkar and Laxman played crucial innings to save the first Test against Australia in Bangalore. Tendulkar then became the highest run-scorer in Test cricket during his 88 in the second Test in Mohali, while Ganguly went past 7000 Test runs during his 16th Test century in the same match, which India won by 320 runs.

By Arunava Das

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