My bit on Sourav Ganguly

One of the best written chapters in history of cricket came to an end as the “Prince of Calcutta” walked out of the field, never to return. King of controversy, the most stylish batsman I’ve ever seen, the most successful captain India has seen, Dada will be known for many things including his brave come backs.

He was the one with the highest risk of having his career being ended with being dropped from test team one day or the other but when the decision finally came from him, it still hurt. Though, he did himself a favour by doing so saving himself from the shame of being dropped forever from the team.

Saying, I like Sourav Ganguly, would be an under statement for me. He has been my favourite sportsman at many stages over the past decade. Even though I loved cricket more than its heroes, even though other sports like F1 took my attention away from this game at times, even though the clash of Soccer and Cricket, at times, gave way to Soccer, I always was drawn to cricket because of the pride and unabashed courage I saw in Dada. At times I would be amused by his ability to irritate Australia’s on-field Mr Unflustered. And at times Ganguly could melt The Iceman just by turning up late for the toss:)

Dada was a great tease:) I am positive if he was born as an Ozzie, he would have been celebrated as a rascal and an incorrigible bright man, but because he was the opponent (Indian) – he was rude, elitist, prickly, a time waster and serial pest who couldn’t play the short ball. I don’t know why, but I admire him for these weaknesses. I sincerely do.

To have appeared in 113 Tests while dealing with short balls as uncomfortably as if he was being shot at by arrows is astounding. The game is hard enough without having to cope with a serious deficiency as well, but Ganguly did it. I didn’t really like his replacing of gloves or protective gear every couple of overs, or his calls for socks, blister pads, face wipes and apples. Bowling 90 in a day is hard enough without the batsmen joining the turtles with the ball, although it added to Ganguly's character and ate at his opponents. Hehehe

In Australia and England, Dada was seen as a man of privilege, someone who clicks his fingers and an army of servants arrives to clip his nails or fan his face. Maybe his life is like that, but after being dropped as captain and batsman by Greg Chappell (for GC I reserve some choicest words that would redden his pale skin!) I liked Dada even more, when he was made to sweat and showing his middle finger to all he would come up tops! Not everything in life was laid out for him. But came back he did! And won even more hearts this way! What perseverance for this game he had!

At his felicitation last week to celebrate his playing achievements, Dada spoke about the need to make enemies for the good of India. He talked gently and softly, but with purpose. Of the players I’ve seen, only Shane Warne and Graeme Smith have been as magnetic. When Dada enters a room I’m drawn to him and even when he’s said nothing of real interest, I’ve been entertained. During the times when he’s sniped and picked and teased it’s been even better.

Before the start of this 'Fight of their lives' series between India and Oz, he was defending his form and was reported by a Bengali newspaper to have complained “every Tom, Dick and Harry is playing for India”. For two days he let the story run before issuing a denial. Off the field he was equally good at playing games and scoring points. I will miss Dada for his entertainment and his spice. With each year, more zany characters leave the game and as public life becomes increasingly sanitized, I wonder if they can be replaced by the next generation of media-managed clones. Long live Dada in our hearts!


Venuraj Janakarajan said...

wow... enjoyed reading that. You should have contributed this to a paper.

I was thirsting to read interesting articles the day after his retirement... but most of them were just on expected lines... none did justice to the colorful character that Ganguly continues to be.

ashish said...

Excellent point of view on Ganguly! India will miss his fighting ability and unfailing spirit. I wish him happiness now. He's done his bit for India certainly

sanjiv said...

Sourav - The Ace cricketer! He crafted 21 wins in international Cricket matches out of 42 matches led by him - I mean that is unique for an Indian and for Indian cricket History. Though Souravs early cricket days were full of lacklustre performance his fortunes had a real break in 1999 after the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar as the Captain of Indian team. For certain he brought with him much attitude and fortitude both. Lots of people loved him and hated him. That was our Dada!

gita said...

What fabulous leadership qualities, right attitude , professionalism and above all the will to win. His performance as the captain of the Indian team out performs his performance as a batsman to mind.
Sourav ! We will miss you in the coming days.

sheila said...

Never in my worst dreams would I have thought that soon I will have to write a farewell letter to The Bengal Tiger. But alas! That’s the way life goes.He was the dominating FORCE that united the Indian team, that made them strong, that made them realise their own strength, and that led from front. Adios Tiger, keep roaring in newer chapters of your life.

Jim said...

November 9th will be remembered in many Indian hearts. The day when ‘the god of the offside’ bid adieu to the world of International Cricket. He brought in several youngsters like Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Sehwag etc and started building a team for the future. He guided them in such a way that he instilled in them some of his own qualities. This change was evident in that epochal series against Australia when India, playing in Ganguly's home ground, made an improbable comeback and went on to win the series. That was when the legend of Dada was born. He really became the big brother to his team mates as well as to millions of young Indian cricket fans.Well done Dada.You have got yourself a spot in Indian history, well done!

RavneetSingh said...

We, Indians, know how to lead a man to disgrace, maybe also know how to form a mob to beat him to death, but we don't know how to hoist a hero on our shoulders and carry him around the city in triumph. We carry only hardened criminals around like that.Shame on you Vengsarkar - you have in one fell swoop got the nation to hate you!Shame on you!

melinda said...

I hear Saourav will soon be a columnist- o man! I am looking forward to his writing:)

Shweta said...

Why is our very own Dada so revered and I found the answer in a journo's interview- his theory is that the key lies in the fact that Ganguly has been a very different character to the constellation of other great cricketers — the so-called Fab Five — assembled around him. Sachin Tendulkar has always been ‘The Master’, a cricket deity to be worshipped from afar. Rahul Dravid has been ‘The Wall’, solid and dependable, the kind you want as a son-in-law. VVS Laxman has always been Very, Very Special, a man of few words who prefers to let his bat do the talking. Anil Kumble was ‘The Silent Assassin’ who, like Laxman, spoke with his deeds.

Ganguly, on the other hand, is both ‘Maharaj’ and ‘Dada’: feudal lord and paara (neighbourhood) gang leader, both protector and aggressor. He has been alternately perceived as arrogant (remember the stories that were spread of how on his first tour he was not too keen on carrying the drinks trolley) and resilient (has anyone made as many successful comebacks as Ganguly?). He has looked the mighty Aussies in the eye — including the famous incident when he kept Steve Waugh waiting for the toss — and yet has been accused of shying away from fast bowling. At home, he is a most gracious host. And yet he is remembered as the captain who bared his torso on the balcony of Lords. He has pushed for Greg Chappell as coach and has also fought with him. He has been criticised for being selfish, yet arguably no other Indian captain has backed his players more firmly. Perhaps, it’s the complex nature of his personality that makes Ganguly so attractive, a fallible human in a cricket universe populated by robots.I simply love this guy!Well done amigo Ganguly!

Anon said...

When i got to know about his retirement, I was very very deeply disappointed. I was badly disappointed. More than disappointment, I was frustrated to the core.
Why ?

Because, Sourav did not quit cricket, just because he was 36 years old or for any other reason. But, due to sheer humiliation from the selection committee, he had to quit.

The people in selection committee, Vengsarkar the asshole, did things to settle his own personal scores despite Dada's merit and contribution to the game. Vengsarkar was settling personal scores with someone like a politician strumming him like a lame duck. Injustice is ruling our world of cricket and the billion plus nation looks on dumb founded.

What more can one say? Pia

Anon said...

my favorite cricketer …. Bengal Tiger …. Souabh Ganguly ….. positive was his attitude …. aggression was his passion … winning was his desire …. and success .. his hunger ….

such a strong personality in Indian Cricket….. Dada , you have given a lot to Indian cricket … added a number of stars in Indian glory ….. the vacuum created on your retirement can , undoubtedly , never be filled by anyone else …. You were the one of your kind … and will remain to be one ….Harsh

john said...

I simply loved your point of View Mee, you obviously adore this chappie! Well from an Australian perspective all I can say to you is, we looked on in partial horror and partial disbelief that so much politics was being played out during a live series on hand. Sad state of things I agree! Btw he has a tremendous fan following in this country and infact post retirement his following has become even more well done Ganguly ol chap!

Swamy said...

Considering that I am a huge fan of Sourav, I could not have written this piece as well as you have. It captures the man's essence so very well. India will be hard pressed to find a replacement of someone of his stature and caliber, not to say the grit and determination.