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May 8, 2008
The 12th man is Numero Uno: On Wednesday night, almost all the Mumbai Indians replica shirts at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul had the No. 10 and Tendulkar printed on the back. So when you arrived at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, the expectation was that Ganguly would be the name of choice on the black-and-gold jerseys. Not quite. The Ganguly shirts were conspicuously absent, with the Number 12 'Khan' shirt the attire of choice. That should tell you all you need to know about the new breed of Indian 'cricket' fan.
Where the mind is without fear: Right from the moment you land in Kolkata, everything from the radio to posters on the walls inform you that May 8 is Rabindranath Tagore's 148th birth anniversary. The first Indian to be awarded the Nobel prize (1913), Tagore would probably beat off competition from Satyajit Ray, Chuni Goswami and Ganguly if Bengal was ever to choose its favourite son. And with the rain pouring down, Shah Rukh Khan, he of the No.12 shirt, paid tribute by reciting Where The Mind is Without Fear and the Head is Held High, one of Tagore's most famous works. His team followed that message when they came out to field.
Not the Mystic Masseur: As the Kolkata openers prepare to face the first ball after an interminable rain delay, the camera pans across to Shoaib Akhtar in the dug-out. Not fit enough to play this game, Shoaib makes himself useful by giving one of his new team-mates a shoulder massage. A man of many talents.
Double jeopardy: Murali Kartik played a vital role in reviving the Kolkata innings, but when he could only scoop out a yorker from Praveen Kumar, no one was quite sure if it was a bump catch or not. Wriddhiman Saha was already halfway down the pitch, and Praveen, who had taken the catch on his follow-through made doubly sure by taking the bails off long before Kartik had ambled across. The scorer initially said run out, but replays later proved that it was a clean catch.
Anything you can do: Cameron White had come up with a stunning direct hit on the dive to dismiss Ganguly, but then had to watch his thunder stolen by a compatriot. When J Arunkumar cut one hard to point, Hodge flung himself to the left to gather the ball in. In almost the same movement, he switched the ball to the right hand and produced a throw that took out the only stump he could see. Arunkumar departed in a state of shock, and you could scarcely blame him.
O Captain, My Captain: With Rahul Dravid struggling to get the ball away, Ganguly brought himself on to bowl to the man who replaced him as India's captain. Dravid decided to go for the paddle-sweep off the first ball, but the result was anything but pretty. The exposed leg stump was uprooted and Ganguly ran off towards point in celebration, leaving Bangalore supporters to reflect on the first line of Walt Whitman's famous poem about Abraham Lincoln. O Captain my Captain! Our fearful trip is done.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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