Sourav Ganguly, the Royal Bengal Tiger, Dada, The Maharaj, former skipper, gangu teli and a person of many other names and perceptions is leaving. He has finally announced his retirement after the Australian test series. This is a big event in Indian cricket.
Ganguly, apart from being a fine batsman and spectacular run scorer has also been Indian team’s most successful captain, both on and off field. He introduced the aggressiveness, the desire , the rawness and the much needed energy to the team. He was the one who taught the Indian team to dream high and talk big and then walk that talk. He diffused a new sort of electricity and it was under his captaincy that Team India finally looked like a TEAM. The fielding improved and there was visible bonding.
But this successful skipper has also seen many controversies and conflicts in his career. And every time, he has fought and come back. First, when he entered, he was sacked after his first series and remained so for four years. Then he came back four years later and shone and kept on shining. He became the part of dependable and revered Indian batting trio. Then, came the captaincy and the start of wins. It was all good when there was a very public tiff with Greg Chapell and he was asked to step down. He was said to be being manipulative and ruining the dressing room atmosphere. He was then very publicly ousted from the post of captain and later from the Indian team. People said that this was the end of his career and that he could not come back. But, the fighter within Dada never rested. He played at the domestic turf, scored runs and was once again chosen. Controversies, however, did not leave his side and he was said to have faked injury to avoid playing so that he cannot be blamed for poor performance. Again, all very publicly and a couple of matches and poor performances later, he was again dropped from team India. He then went back again the previous route of playing in the domestic turf but this time around Ranji team also did nor choose him. That’s how low it went for this once star of India. But, he persevered and swore that he would not go without a fight, that he would not go this way, that he would leave when he chooses to. And he did so. He has been chosen for the Australian series and this will be his last series and he hopes to end it on a winning note. He wants to go with his head held up high.
The story of Dada is one of patience and tenacity and perseverance and struggle. His is the spirit which never takes no for an answer. His is a courage which dares. He is the one who can battle the whole world and make his stand. As much as I admire him for his skills on the field, I admire him much more for what he is as a person, for what his values are. I admire him for his standing tall when everyone turned his back on him. I admire him for his determination and will to come back when everyone had written him off.
Now, when he says goodbye, Indians should salute him for giving us some fine cricketing moments. Indian team should thank him for giving them the momentum and the taste of winning back. And I thank him for the fire that his story lights up in my belly and the inspiration that he provides. We may get many left handed openers and successful skippers but there will be no other Dada , Royal Bengal Tiger, Gangu Teli or Maharaj.
I wish him good luck and good life. Oh, and my favorite moment of his was when he took off his shirt after the win at Lord’s stadium in England. 🙂