Opinion · sports

The Departure of the Prince

If there was ever an Indian cricketer who could associate with himself the words passion, fight, aggression and desire, it had to be Sourav Ganguly.

There are millions of Indians who would not admit that they love Dada. And there are millions who would. There was a time when the debate between Ganguly haters and Ganguly lovers was the most interesting thing in Indian cricket. I have been part of such debates and quite unabashedly, taken both the sides at different times.

It is tough to be labeled as one of the most hated man in the country. Though if someone really said that, you or I would have dismissed it as hyperbole on second thoughts, but I doubt if Ganguly would. It is easy to be a Sachin Tendulkar, to be loved every second, and to have bad patches dismised as bad lucks. It is easy to be a Rahul Dravid, with no one ever doubting your technique or skill. It was never easy to be Sourav Ganguly. And to have your passion and dedication questioned at every step, it is indeed hell.

Dada taught India how to look in the eye of the opponent. If not for him, the subsequent captains and teams wouldn’t have been half as aggresive as they turned out to be. Many regard Ganguly’s act of making Steve Waugh wait for the toss as unethical. In retrospect, I wouldn’t consider it to be an unethical act. Yes, Steve Waugh is an amazing cricketing mind and respected senior, but a little bit of egoism and a little bit of high handedness from the Indian captain probably set the tone for the series. Of course, it would have been shameful had India lost, but the team went  on to complete a historic series victory. Ganguly deserved all that.

As Indian cricket fans, we do the same mistake again and again. Most of the time we are ignorant of how to measure success and talent. Like how evaluating Sachin’s success in terms of India’s victories and defeats is pedestrian and narrow line of thought, it is equally pedestrian to think of Ganguly’s contribution in terms of the runs he has scored and the batting average he holds.

Seldom do people with a quiet disposition and straightforward thinking succeed in life. A little bit of eccentricity and craziness is often associated with deep thinkers and intelligent men. They approach problems differently. They do so because they are passionate and immensely love what they do. Sourav Ganguly had nerves of steel, who could take on the world’s greatest captains and their teams, and turn the tide with his leadership. India would undoubtedly miss Dada, the leader and also Dada, the offside specialist.

It is a season where we are all watching a presidential candidate trying to gain some foothold by proclaiming himself as a “maverick”. Why is that suddenly such a positive sounding word? I am not sure if that candidate is worthy of the term but if there was ever a maverick in the Indian cricket team, worthy of our respect for exactly those qualities, then it had to be Sourav Ganguly.

So long, and thanks for all the clenched teeth.

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22 thoughts on “The Departure of the Prince

  1. Machan, Totally agree on the aggression part.But his comments after that in a newspaper show him in real bad light,crying sour grapes over selection policy and hints at gang-war like situation within the team.

    To be honest,dhoni is now doing to ganguly,what ganguly did to others while he was captain.Kumble and Laxman’s ODI career are examples.Many more are there.So i dont really understand why he has a pblm with such behaviour now.

    Adi: Well, yeah, he is not exactly a perfect guy who would keep quiet and accomplish things!

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  2. I agree man! If ever I was proud of our killer instinct, it was during his captaincy.

    I’m not saying much because I’m tired of this topic thanks to someone who lives with me!

    Adi: Ganguly hater?

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  3. nice da… i love ur postings:) i am not much of a cricket fan except IPL: ) so…oops i dont know what to comment… and i dont have a fave cricketer except sangakkara… i ve only bothered about him always…and my loyalties were always wit the team he played in unless India was the opposite team…

    Adi: Worstu! :P

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  4. well its was bad to be dropped form the ROI side. Did they mean that he isnt even good enough for the ROI team? Also after his selection by srikkanth maama the media brought up the VRS rumors.

    I guess it was a good decision, for this series will be known as the Ganguly series much like the waugh farewell.

    ‘idhuku ellam kudthu vechurkunum’

    Adi: Yes, it was definitely a good decision. The right time as if he had gone beyond this series, it would have been difficult

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  5. Very well written. It must be said for Ganguly that he was tough as nails. Ability is secondary to attitude, as any Harvard MBA will tell you, since he has only the latter, but I digress. It does take a tiger to lead snarling from the front. Pre Ganguly, we had a big bunch of pussies.

    We owe him, surely.

    Adi: Yep, we owe him! Very few ppl seem to understand that

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  6. I am waiting for Dilip Vensakar’s reply to Dada’s interviews.

    I agree he should have been be given a fair deal. esp last bunch of selectors always targeted him.
    His SA tour was one of best comebacks !

    team india has to move on!
    i am happy he is atleast given a fair deal now..

    Adi: Lol, yeah Vengsarkar has said he’ll respond after the series.

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  7. I agree with Mr Shenoy. As a captain, Ganguly brought aggression to the game, and that was something new for Indian cricket, which was still under the colonial misconception that cricket is played for gentlemen in tweed jackets while they enjoy their afternoon tea. I am just glad that now with Dhoni at the helm, we can show that Indian are every bit as bad-ass as the Aussies.

    Adi: Bad-ass may not be the right word. Not yet at least. We need people like Steve Waugh, Michael Clarke or even a Symonds!

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  8. I forgot to add this to my previous comment!

    I guess everyone has to move out at one point or other…we (as in indians) have a biased attitude towards senior players…even sharad pawar went on record to say not all rules apply to all senior players he referred to Sachin. Yeah we love Sachin..not matter whether he is inform or not…i want him to play..same is millions of indians..but look how CA handled Steve Waugh..someone i admire the most..the greatest captain of test cricket..he was dropped from one day side just because his team didnt qualify to finals of CuB series …that too one series for someone who inspired Australia to win 99 world cup they gave such a bad exit..not just to him…even to bevan.. but bevan went hussey came in… thats how CA works on..

    now the sad part is BCCI should not try to copy CA style of selections..if thats the case then Sachin should be same as Dada … BCCI should understand that indians are emotional and sentimental about the stars…

    i dont know why we give so much buildup for young players..
    harsha bhogle n one of his interviews said..he dint like the way how indian under 19 world cup winning team celebrated after finals… he said they must be honed properly or else they will lose cricket to money…

    There are players like Hussey who made debut @ 29 and in 2 seasons became ICC world player of year..

    Adi: It’s not so hard to leave what you’ve been doing for more than 10 yrs. Especially when that is the only thing you know and only thing you are good at. You should read Rohit Brijnath’s article in cricinfo on the Big Five.

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  9. Cant agree more. He set the tone for the team that currently is. If not for him, the team would not have the confidence that they currently enjoy!

    Adi: Yeah, we would have still been like that oh-so-soft team led by Azharuddin and Anshuman Gaekwad!

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  10. This is definitely the beginning of the end for the fab four… i don’t think test cricket will ever be the same for me once these giants leave

    Adi: Yeah, I cannot see a match without Tendulkar. And without the fab four, it is absolutely a different ball game altogether!

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  11. I used to think Ganguly looked good. Thats the closest I am to Indian Cricket.

    Forgive me for the insight in my comment..or the lack of it. :D

    Adi: I can see the insight in your comment! I noticed the “used to”. Someone may get angry, no? :P

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  12. Indian cricket is just not gonna be the same..Somehow he was nevr given the credit he really deserved…Aggression and bein an Indian dont really go well together, i guess!

    But Dada rules and your post was awesme…total justice :)

    Btw, hi :)

    Adi: Hi! Onna engyoo paatha mari irukke! :P

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