December 9, 2007

Ganguly's fairytale

Sourav Ganguly is living out a dream at the moment, and nothing he achieves will be a surprise anymore
92



The most noticeable feature of Sourav Ganguly's batting since his return to international cricket has been his poise © AFP

If you're looking for a clue to what has helped Sourav Ganguly sustain his spectacular run in Test cricket since his return at the fag end of last year, don't bother looking at his footwork or the flow of his bat. Take, instead, a close look at his eyes while he is batting. They speak of a calmness that borders on serenity, and a combination of composure and resolve. You could see it in his comeback innings in Johannesburg, which fetched him an unbeaten 51, and you could see it through his epic innings in Bangalore that marked a new high in his career.

In his bowling, and on the field, we have seen the more familiar Ganguly; excitable, emotional, even fiery. He has appealed cantankerously and celebrated his wickets and catches with child-like gusto. His batting hasn't lacked his natural flair - in fact, he has been batting with greater freedom than he did in the period leading up to his temporary banishment - but the most noticeable feature about his cricket has been his poise. It hasn't left him even after he has occasionally been cornered into an awkward position by a short ball.

He has let himself go only once: it was an emotional moment, getting to his first hundred before his adoring home fans. But his celebration after he got to his first double-hundred, a landmark he sought and will cherish, was far more subdued. There was the raising of the arms and the acknowledgment of applause from his team-mates and the crowd. But then there was also a series of little pumps of the fist, and a waving of the helmet. Those were for himself. There was an air of fulfillment, of a man celebrating privately in public. His smile touched a million hearts: his struggle to regain his place, and some would say his honour, have been among the most stirring and uplifting stories in cricket.

Let's be done with the numbers first. Incredibly for a man who was given up for dead, 2007 has been his most successful year statistically. Potentially he has three innings left still, and he has already scored 932 runs at 62.13. His most prolific year to date has been 2002, when he managed 945 runs - but it took him 16 Tests back then. Put together, 2005 and 2006 yielded him only 422 runs from 11 Tests at 28.13, and that included a painstaking hundred against a hopeless Zimbabwean bowling attack.

The manner of his removal, first from captaincy and then from the team, continues to rankle with his supporters, and surely with him. But it is undeniable that from that low has emerged this high. It was perhaps a bit disingenuous for Greg Chappell to claim credit for Ganguly's revival, but in the cold light of the day, the exile, the sheer indignation of it, did make the revival possible, and ultimately far more poignant.

The credit for it must go entirely to Ganguly, for few rational observers would have seen it coming. It wasn't just that the runs had dried up; his skills, his responses, seemed to have deserted him, and he bore the look of a haunted man.

He owes his return to a change in the selection committee, but the rest of the story is about a man who simply refused to surrender to what seemed inevitable to most. Much can be said about his improved footwork and the decisiveness of his stroke-making, but in the end, it has been a triumph of spirit, of incredible strength of mind and faith.

Ganguly is living out a fairytale at the moment, and nothing he achieves will be a surprise anymore. There are many, me included, who believed Ganguly's time as an international cricketer was over. We owe him an apology and a salute

Remarkably, in a batting line-up featuring Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Ganguly has been India's best batsman since his return. Not merely for consistency and the number of runs scored - during the course of his double-hundred he became India's leading run--getter this year - but for the assuredness of the manner in which he has made them. His half-century in his return Test in Johannesburg, though subdued and a bit laboured, helped India to what ultimately turned out to be a match-winning first-innings total in a low-scoring Test. And in the decisive Test in Cape Town, only he looked fluent and in control in the fateful second innings; his dismissal induced a crawl that proved terminal.

In England he had a series of vital contributions, and none better than a 79 on a challenging pitch in the second Test at Trent Bridge. Apart from Zaheer Khan's inspired swing bowling, my warmest memory from that match is of Ganguly's square-driving.

Michael Vaughan set an off-side trap, with four men between cover and gully, and Ganguly teased and mocked him by caressing, punching and guiding the ball repeatedly through that cordon: one to the right of point, then one to the left, and then a couple between the two gullies. He was denied a hundred by a wrong decision, and his response to that dismissal told a story. In an earlier time he would have left kicking and stomping; here he did so with an ironic, rueful smile. The protest was registered, but without causing offence.

Admittedly his hundreds in the current series have come against feeble opponents. The pitch at Kolkata offered nothing to the bowlers, and Shoaib Akhtar was drained by illness. But at Bangalore he was not so much up against the bowlers as the match situation. He provided the calm cushion for Yuvraj Singh to flow at the other end without ever sacrificing his own strokes.

Personally, my favourite Ganguly innings of the series is a small but vital one. It came during the run-chase in the final innings of the first Test. Shoaib had just cleaned up Rahul Dravid with a ripper; India had over a hundred runs to get; and Tendulkar was finding non-existent demons in the pitch. In this banana-skin situation, typical to India, Ganguly, who had fallen cheaply in the first innings, set about cutting down the target nervelessly, with deliciously timed fours against Shoaib, Mohammad Sami, and Danish Kaneria.

The toughest challenge lies ahead. Australia will come hard at him, and the pitches will test his skills. But he is living out a fairytale at the moment, and nothing he achieves will be a surprise anymore. There are many, me included, who believed Ganguly's time as an international cricketer was over. We owe him an apology and a salute.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shakarmaharaj on December 15, 2007, 22:13 GMT

    Ganguly has always been an cricketer whom I have alot of belief in after the 2001 defeat of the mighty Australians. He has again shown the kind of mettle Indian cricket needs at this time to gain world class status. Together with Sachin, Dravid, VVS, Sewag,Dhoni and Yuvraj, the Indian team can definitely battle the Aussies. I look foward to seeing him dominate some Aussie bowling and then conquer his detractors through his peformance. I am sure there are few who can dispute his SIX hitting prowess !!!!!!!

  • nepal9211 on December 14, 2007, 20:52 GMT

    For a moment even I thought that his carrier is over. When he was dropped from the team I really thought that now he would be staying out like Kaif and Raina for at least 3 or 4 months but after S.Africa series he was like playing every match till now. I never thought that he would perform so fluently and consistently. Ganguly worked hard and this was an inspiration for me and all those people who wants to achieve their target. "FOR ME GREAT PLAYERS ARE NOT THOSE WHO HAVE AN AVERAGE OVER 50 OR 60, BUT THOSE WHO DOESN'T GIVE UP EASILY WITHOUT A FIGHT" like Ganguly, the Bengal Tiger

  • faraz.ishaq on December 14, 2007, 19:14 GMT

    I am an all time Ganguly Fan, I hate indian team because I am from Pakistan but I loved watching Saurav. He is one hell of a batsman and since his comeback in South Africa, he has a chip on his shoulder and just want to prove it that Indian Board was wrong who supported Chappell and now after every single inning he is rubbing into the face the fact that he still got the firepower..Keep going Dada, at least I am sure that he is a better cricketer then Sachin because I think the success is the only motivation for winning and Sachin has never won as many games as Dada did for India...

  • BEAUTIFUL_LANKA on December 14, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Well only Sachin can do no wrong - he even scores a "duck" gloriously. Let's give credit where credit is due - to grit, self belief and the will to excel. That's all what Ganguly has been since his come back. He has done it and done it in style. Well said Sambit Bal and you could not have finished your article on a better note.

  • SGBatsForever on December 14, 2007, 3:44 GMT

    Good and honest article, Sambit. As for Ganguly what more can you say of the man and warrior! The spirit and fairytale comeback we have seen from him is inspirational stuff straight out of Hollywood epic.It is,however, cruel how some of his critics still continue to hound him and refuse to give credit for what has been a great year for both him and India.Even if the Pakistani attack was depleted-it had reduced the Indian top order and top middle order to shreds almost everytime he walked on to the field in this series.Also let's not forget he was the top batsman in South Africa and one of the top batsman in England this past summer. Guys like "ClearViews" should stop grudging the man the honor and respect that are well overdue, especially in a year where he has been by far the best batsman for India. If there is one man who deserves a place in the Indian batting line-up based on form it is SC Ganguly.If you want to drop someone look at Karthik or Dravid a little more critically.

  • TruSport on December 13, 2007, 22:38 GMT

    If one is to analyze Saurav's career, you have to take into account the burden of Indian Captaincy. After Azhar, no Indian captain has come out with his batting reputation intact - be it Sachin or Ganguly or Rahul. They all played in the form of their lives before captaincy and just faded as batsmen when burdened with captaincy. Sachin has never been the same batsman since that experience. Rahul has found a few chinks in his wall after his captaincy stint which he didn't even know existed before and is definitely looking a lesser batsman. Only Saurav has actually put aside his captaincy experience and is batting like a dream and bowling better than most of the other Indian bowlers in view. Wonder why he does not get to bowl more because he looked like taking wickets more often than the others. Possibly this has to do with retirement thoughts that Dravid keeps showcasing and Sachin keeps suggesting. Saurav clearly thinks there is a lot of cricket left in him. That must be the key

  • MuraliKumar on December 13, 2007, 16:57 GMT

    Fantastic article on Saurav.No one in this world can be written off and the Bengal TIGER-Truly Royal has the last laugh.I am searching for comments from the likes of More and Greg who would want to take credit for his comeback. Truly a hard fought way back. It is needless to mention that under the able captaincy of Saurav we have seen the revival of positive Indian cricket and make the world take note of this dangerous team.His Ton in Kolkata was a SLAP on the face of Kiran More and his double ton was two SLAPS on either side of Greg Chappels Cheeks. Had he completed his ton in the II Ings of the III test it would have been another slap in the face of (EX) at his home town who could not stand for Sourav during his trying times and instead kept pushing for a non performer Shewag. Certainly Performance is above Politics. Hats off DADA. Continue your good work we are here to cheer for you. Sambit DADA's bat made you eat your words. But I appreciate your article written in its true spirit.

  • badnoc on December 13, 2007, 15:17 GMT

    STOP boasting about Ganguly's fairytale - wait till he performs in Australia. He played and scored a couple of hundreds in this recently concluded test series against Pakistan's weakest bowling attack ever in their history with 1/16th fit Shoaib Akhtar and no one else to bowl. Also the wickets were not made for fast bowlers nor for the spinners.

  • vsssarma on December 13, 2007, 13:35 GMT

    Now that the India-Pakistan series is over, let us give a relative rating to each of the players. Let us also see the matches, runs scored, wickets taken and catches taken by each player. India: Ganguly 10(3-534-4-0), Kumble 8.2 (3-28-18-1), Laxman 6.7 (3-209-1-1), Jaffer 6.1 (3-378-0-2), Harbhajan 4.7 (3-5-10-2), Yuvraj 3.6(1-171-2-1), Dravid 3.6 (3-191-0-4), Dhoni 2.9 (2-144-0-2), Pathan 2.8 (1-123-1-0), Tendulkar 2.6 (2-139-0-0), Zaheer Khan 2.5 (2-9-5-1), Karthik 2.3 (3-115-0-4), Ishant Sharma 1 (1-0-5-2), Munaf Patel 1.5 (2-0-3-1), Gambhir 0.4 (1-8-0-2). Total 65. Pakistan: Misbah 8.1 (3-464-0-2), Kamran Akmal 5.1 (3-249-0-10), Kaneria 5.1 (3-4-12-0), Younis Khan 4.4 (3-260-0-2), Shoaib Akhtar 3.9 (3-3-9-1), Salman Butt 3.6 (3-197-1-1), Yasir Arafat 3.5 (1-44-7-0), Mohammad Sami 3.2 (3-76-4-0), Sohail Tanvir 2.6 (2-17-5-2), Yasir Hameed 2.5 (3-158-0-0), Mohammad Yousuf 2.2 (3-129-0-0), Faisal Iqbal 1.5 (2-73-0-2), Shoaib Malik 0.2 (1-11-0-0). Total 46.

  • KASTURI_RAY on December 13, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    I got goose pimples while reading S Bal's article & the comments on Dada. Needless to mention I'm a diehard fan of Ganguly so much so that India's highs & lows are linked to that of Dada's. Once he was ousted I stopped involving myself in anything related to Indian cricket. It's such a relief to see him back in true style! He has brought the zing back to Indian cricket. His body language while congratulating Yuvi on his hundred (which was in the front page of most newspapers) speaks for itself. There is nothing cut & dried about him. He wears his heart in his sleeve, & we love him for it!

  • shakarmaharaj on December 15, 2007, 22:13 GMT

    Ganguly has always been an cricketer whom I have alot of belief in after the 2001 defeat of the mighty Australians. He has again shown the kind of mettle Indian cricket needs at this time to gain world class status. Together with Sachin, Dravid, VVS, Sewag,Dhoni and Yuvraj, the Indian team can definitely battle the Aussies. I look foward to seeing him dominate some Aussie bowling and then conquer his detractors through his peformance. I am sure there are few who can dispute his SIX hitting prowess !!!!!!!

  • nepal9211 on December 14, 2007, 20:52 GMT

    For a moment even I thought that his carrier is over. When he was dropped from the team I really thought that now he would be staying out like Kaif and Raina for at least 3 or 4 months but after S.Africa series he was like playing every match till now. I never thought that he would perform so fluently and consistently. Ganguly worked hard and this was an inspiration for me and all those people who wants to achieve their target. "FOR ME GREAT PLAYERS ARE NOT THOSE WHO HAVE AN AVERAGE OVER 50 OR 60, BUT THOSE WHO DOESN'T GIVE UP EASILY WITHOUT A FIGHT" like Ganguly, the Bengal Tiger

  • faraz.ishaq on December 14, 2007, 19:14 GMT

    I am an all time Ganguly Fan, I hate indian team because I am from Pakistan but I loved watching Saurav. He is one hell of a batsman and since his comeback in South Africa, he has a chip on his shoulder and just want to prove it that Indian Board was wrong who supported Chappell and now after every single inning he is rubbing into the face the fact that he still got the firepower..Keep going Dada, at least I am sure that he is a better cricketer then Sachin because I think the success is the only motivation for winning and Sachin has never won as many games as Dada did for India...

  • BEAUTIFUL_LANKA on December 14, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Well only Sachin can do no wrong - he even scores a "duck" gloriously. Let's give credit where credit is due - to grit, self belief and the will to excel. That's all what Ganguly has been since his come back. He has done it and done it in style. Well said Sambit Bal and you could not have finished your article on a better note.

  • SGBatsForever on December 14, 2007, 3:44 GMT

    Good and honest article, Sambit. As for Ganguly what more can you say of the man and warrior! The spirit and fairytale comeback we have seen from him is inspirational stuff straight out of Hollywood epic.It is,however, cruel how some of his critics still continue to hound him and refuse to give credit for what has been a great year for both him and India.Even if the Pakistani attack was depleted-it had reduced the Indian top order and top middle order to shreds almost everytime he walked on to the field in this series.Also let's not forget he was the top batsman in South Africa and one of the top batsman in England this past summer. Guys like "ClearViews" should stop grudging the man the honor and respect that are well overdue, especially in a year where he has been by far the best batsman for India. If there is one man who deserves a place in the Indian batting line-up based on form it is SC Ganguly.If you want to drop someone look at Karthik or Dravid a little more critically.

  • TruSport on December 13, 2007, 22:38 GMT

    If one is to analyze Saurav's career, you have to take into account the burden of Indian Captaincy. After Azhar, no Indian captain has come out with his batting reputation intact - be it Sachin or Ganguly or Rahul. They all played in the form of their lives before captaincy and just faded as batsmen when burdened with captaincy. Sachin has never been the same batsman since that experience. Rahul has found a few chinks in his wall after his captaincy stint which he didn't even know existed before and is definitely looking a lesser batsman. Only Saurav has actually put aside his captaincy experience and is batting like a dream and bowling better than most of the other Indian bowlers in view. Wonder why he does not get to bowl more because he looked like taking wickets more often than the others. Possibly this has to do with retirement thoughts that Dravid keeps showcasing and Sachin keeps suggesting. Saurav clearly thinks there is a lot of cricket left in him. That must be the key

  • MuraliKumar on December 13, 2007, 16:57 GMT

    Fantastic article on Saurav.No one in this world can be written off and the Bengal TIGER-Truly Royal has the last laugh.I am searching for comments from the likes of More and Greg who would want to take credit for his comeback. Truly a hard fought way back. It is needless to mention that under the able captaincy of Saurav we have seen the revival of positive Indian cricket and make the world take note of this dangerous team.His Ton in Kolkata was a SLAP on the face of Kiran More and his double ton was two SLAPS on either side of Greg Chappels Cheeks. Had he completed his ton in the II Ings of the III test it would have been another slap in the face of (EX) at his home town who could not stand for Sourav during his trying times and instead kept pushing for a non performer Shewag. Certainly Performance is above Politics. Hats off DADA. Continue your good work we are here to cheer for you. Sambit DADA's bat made you eat your words. But I appreciate your article written in its true spirit.

  • badnoc on December 13, 2007, 15:17 GMT

    STOP boasting about Ganguly's fairytale - wait till he performs in Australia. He played and scored a couple of hundreds in this recently concluded test series against Pakistan's weakest bowling attack ever in their history with 1/16th fit Shoaib Akhtar and no one else to bowl. Also the wickets were not made for fast bowlers nor for the spinners.

  • vsssarma on December 13, 2007, 13:35 GMT

    Now that the India-Pakistan series is over, let us give a relative rating to each of the players. Let us also see the matches, runs scored, wickets taken and catches taken by each player. India: Ganguly 10(3-534-4-0), Kumble 8.2 (3-28-18-1), Laxman 6.7 (3-209-1-1), Jaffer 6.1 (3-378-0-2), Harbhajan 4.7 (3-5-10-2), Yuvraj 3.6(1-171-2-1), Dravid 3.6 (3-191-0-4), Dhoni 2.9 (2-144-0-2), Pathan 2.8 (1-123-1-0), Tendulkar 2.6 (2-139-0-0), Zaheer Khan 2.5 (2-9-5-1), Karthik 2.3 (3-115-0-4), Ishant Sharma 1 (1-0-5-2), Munaf Patel 1.5 (2-0-3-1), Gambhir 0.4 (1-8-0-2). Total 65. Pakistan: Misbah 8.1 (3-464-0-2), Kamran Akmal 5.1 (3-249-0-10), Kaneria 5.1 (3-4-12-0), Younis Khan 4.4 (3-260-0-2), Shoaib Akhtar 3.9 (3-3-9-1), Salman Butt 3.6 (3-197-1-1), Yasir Arafat 3.5 (1-44-7-0), Mohammad Sami 3.2 (3-76-4-0), Sohail Tanvir 2.6 (2-17-5-2), Yasir Hameed 2.5 (3-158-0-0), Mohammad Yousuf 2.2 (3-129-0-0), Faisal Iqbal 1.5 (2-73-0-2), Shoaib Malik 0.2 (1-11-0-0). Total 46.

  • KASTURI_RAY on December 13, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    I got goose pimples while reading S Bal's article & the comments on Dada. Needless to mention I'm a diehard fan of Ganguly so much so that India's highs & lows are linked to that of Dada's. Once he was ousted I stopped involving myself in anything related to Indian cricket. It's such a relief to see him back in true style! He has brought the zing back to Indian cricket. His body language while congratulating Yuvi on his hundred (which was in the front page of most newspapers) speaks for itself. There is nothing cut & dried about him. He wears his heart in his sleeve, & we love him for it!

  • RockyGomes on December 13, 2007, 8:54 GMT

    Sourav is a part of SIR, Sourav, Imran & Ranatunga. These three captains led three Asian countries with Power. They stood out because they never behaved like the regular sub-continentals. We must salute them. They irked many, because they didn't take the traditional path. But they brought the cricket of their countries in the record books for the right reasons.

    Sourav took a lot of rubbish from many quarters (including the writer of the article), some may even be vested . But he had faith in his abilities. He is a symbol of inspiration. We should not bend our head low 'cause we are from a certain block, we should always believe in ourselves and raise our head high because SIR is from our block.

  • Sekhar_mukherji on December 13, 2007, 8:50 GMT

    He is not only a great cricketer but his willpower is possibly the best amongst all contemporary cricketers. He is expressive yet very composed while fighting the demons within. I believe he is a fantastic role model for Corporate India as stress and tension seems to be key reasons for quick burnouts and Ganguly seems to have the best and most effective recipee to overcome that.

  • leeandtait on December 13, 2007, 2:28 GMT

    As an Australian eagely awaiting for the Indians to arrive, it is great to see Ganguly and other Indian batsman in form. After just witnessing Lee, Tait and Mitchell Johnson slice the Kiwis in half with sheer pace, swing and bounce on a hard Perth pitch, form will be vital. Experience will also be key so Yuvraj may unfortunately have to wait a bit longer to cement his place. Pathan must play to give extra batting down the order, as does Sehwag to provide experience at the top of the order. This should be a great Test series.

  • NeoMac on December 12, 2007, 22:58 GMT

    First thing first, To all those studs who consider themselves cricket gurus in commenting about how Ganguly scored against a weak attack.... What you may be missing here is that, not everyone had a Fairytale Run.... How abt that? True that pakistan was not performing to their potential but whats most commendable is the grit and determination in Ganguly's character... I believe there something to lern from that. May be that will come in handy for all you gurus someday. Down under will be different because its a different scheme of things all together and what we can do is look at the Team and not individuals... Good luck

  • Drpankajda on December 12, 2007, 19:21 GMT

    I think this article is too good so that it can be put in "google" as one of the best resource for a man who is struggling for existance regarding his life. Everybody, just think of yourself: Sourav has not been selected yet and he has taken retirement from international cricker after the tour of Pakistan,Jan'06. Then there was an article from cricinfo like this "Sourav admits defeat- Sambit Bal". According to me, if Sachin is the legend of Indian cricket, then Sourav is the legend of Indian society. Sourav is the spirit for those people who really wants to touch their goal or expectation, even if it is tough. In this concern, I would like to cite one slogan "Weak man says(most of the Indians)-It is possible but difficult, whereas a strong man says(Sourav and few more)-It is difficult but possible". Henceforth, "Ganguly's fairytale-Sambit Bal" should be one of the ticked voice of the nation.

  • 01081955 on December 12, 2007, 19:06 GMT

    Ganguly's good run is as much about poor bowling by Pakistanis, as it is about the greater loss of steam on the parts of Sachin and Rahul. He will face the true test Down Under. The last time Indians were down under, Indian cricket fans had feared the worst, but a dramatic turn of events accentuated by some wonderful batting performance by Indian batters and a cameo by Agarkar saw Indians through unscathed. Here I am, hoping against hope, waiting to see all that happen all over again.

  • Saaron on December 12, 2007, 17:45 GMT

    Being a die-hard Dada fan for over 10 years now, this article emcompassed everything he has fought for. RESPECT! Dada deserves every bit of it since this time around hez had to fight for it with his life! Thanks Sambit! I havent seen many past greats; but of those whom i've had the previlege of witnessing; Dada rates only below the greatest warrior on the cricket field; Steve Waugh! My only prayer now for Dada is that the Aussie tour sees him better last tour and India return triumphant with Dada leading; this time with the bat!! As sweet as a double ton was @home; how much sweeter would it be down under burying the Aussies under his bat!!! Go get 'em, TIGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • v.ilangathir on December 12, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    Ganguly, after his forced exile from team India was taken back on board when the team faced a crisis... the selectors were not very clever in calling up someone like VVS as vice captain for one dayers.... and then unceremoniously dropped him yet again... Dada hasn't looked back since then.. he has constantly been contributing to the team's success... but deep inside him ... there are scars of that manner in which he was literally shown the door....which he couldn't hide after the double ton effort in Bangalore... He's a true warrior... one can be assured of that.He plays the short ball much better these days though he claims he's made more mental adjustments and not much in technique...An important tour down under round the corner... Dada is in terrific form...He'd like to take inspiration from this being his last tour to Oz...Dada would like to end his carrer on a high.....hopefully he carries on his rich vein of form in days to come as well.

  • RajjoGemini on December 12, 2007, 14:44 GMT

    Many many people have written about the new dawn of Indian Cricket post sacking of Saurav Ganguly, but I am afraid all in vain, he is back and what a journey its been. We not just owe a apology and salute to SCG but need to learn that defeat is only a temporary condition, we lose it when we give it up, SCG didn't.

    Feel pity of the Indian Selection high command, and wish many of thier miss-deeds occur just the way SCG !!!!

  • szabir on December 12, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    Sourav is of different mettle. Why was he successful as a captain? Because he could think different - not like a conventional Indian. I believe Indian cricket will always remain grateful to him for his philosophy about this game. Being a Bangladeshi, I never really thought it was over with him. He showed us (people in the Asian cricketing nations) that anything is possible if you know how to dream. The article is good. Sambit's honesty at the end has given it a special value.

  • buro319 on December 12, 2007, 8:04 GMT

    This article is not about cricket at all. It`s about one person`s fight against all odds. It`s a celebration of this spirit to stand tall and make oneself count when other have just written you off. In today`s India, when the media is full of news of corruption, crimes, dirty politics; DADA has given us those moments to feel proud about ourselves, with a smile in our lips and ignited a passion in the hearts of millions to go ahead and fight and make onself count against all odds. He has emerged a hero when people least expected him to do so--the crowd ovations that he got be it Kotla, Eden or Bangalore was just unbelievable. His story is inspiring, we all have a lot to learn from him and hope that a DADA is born within all of us someday.

    DADA, if you have read this article and the comments you will know that the whole nation salutes you!!!

  • Snyper.Doc on December 12, 2007, 7:30 GMT

    First of all, appreciations to Sambit Bal for a good article. And these days we are not short of reading and hearing praises about him. I always believed Sourav is the all time best left handed batsman for india, even before his latest string of test success.There are a lot of homies who would say that Steve Waugh needs to be admired for his tough, on the field , and professional outlook .In contrast , Sourav needs to be admired for ability to rise , when he was not only regarded as unprofessional and fuel off at one stage but also arrogant to change lines from his proudy self.It is never easy to be what he is today especially when he had nobody behind except one person right in front him ,in the mirror.My tribute to this brave heart of indian CXricket .Love him or hate him , he has done enough!

  • VJ_MAVRICK on December 12, 2007, 5:49 GMT

    Its great to see the most successful Indian captain answer his critics in a typical "Maharajasque" style. Though an ardent Sachin fan, I was always in awe of this determined southpaw who led from the front. Not many have such virtues of fighting till the last frontier is conquered and Sourav stays much ahead of such erstwhile beleagured men written off by many. Hats off to his grit and guts and I always knew he will do his timber talking and he proved me right and whenever he answers his critics it makes me smile. Its a great tale of victories, failures and above all his unceremonious omission and back to the summit after hitting the ebb in cricket tales.

    I salute this hero who deserves every little appreciation from all the cricket crazy fans making it a point that perseverance pays.

  • ClearViews on December 12, 2007, 5:24 GMT

    Sambit Agreed that by sheer volume of runs socred by Ganguly in this series has made his comeback look so marvellous lets not take anything away from the batsman but i am forced to see the other side of the equation that stat's dont speak the real story of the effort, of course india was in a spot of bother when he socred his runs but one has also to look at attack he has faced and scored against out of four bowler's one carrying a injury one spinner other two rookie's what needs to be seen is that can he keep up with the same sort of consistency down under only then one can appreciate in all senses, else he is still blocking someone else entry into test cricket way

  • sukrity on December 12, 2007, 3:50 GMT

    Ganguly's fairytale comeback reflects the triumph of human spirit. It speaks volumes of a "never say die attitude".

    Ganguly's self esteem didn't wish to go down as it was in 2005. He definitely wanted a dignified exit from the game where his contribution cannot be questioned. That zeal and fire within has pushed him to glory. I hope he continues to march ahead and prove his mettle as a uncompromising, gutsy, aggresive character in Indian Cricket History.

    And not forgetting to say THANK YOU to SAMBIT for acknowledging the fighter in Saurav, which on print was due for a long time.

  • R.K.Datta on December 12, 2007, 0:08 GMT

    Sambit,

    A good article,more so because you are honest. From the comments here and else where,one knows there are still Ganguly bashers who would still worship Greg Chappell.My salute to you for being honest. Most Sports journalists must beg apology for all that they have said,special reference to Rajan Bala. Some these journalists not only brought dishonour for themselves but defamed the profession.

  • Grudge.Kid on December 11, 2007, 20:01 GMT

    A lot of people might not agree with me on this: Ganguly is a great ODI batsman and is probably at his peak as far as test cricket is concerned. But I never really thought of him as a test cricketer. It could be because he belonged to an era the test greats such as Sachin, Dravid and Laxman. This year is exceptional for him, but I still will not agree that he is the best Indian test batsman (overall). Ask me and I would put Indian Test cricketers are: Laxman, Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly.

  • SibaMohanty on December 11, 2007, 19:58 GMT

    Brilliant stuff, Mr Sambit Bal. I am no fan of the Bengal Tiger. In fact, I am fanatic about Rahul Dravid who I think has been one of the two unsung heroes (Kumble is the other) in Indian cricket. But Saurav's strong resolve has come like a revelation, an example or sorts for young cricketers. I still remember the advertisement he featured in - after he was dropped - where he would say: I hope you did not forgotten me...He has proved, it is all in the mind. Great going Dada, it augurs well for Indian Cricket. Vengy can go to hell with his rotten senior phase-out policy.

  • mustufa on December 11, 2007, 19:22 GMT

    I think the flat pitches are all helping these batsmen, what have we come to. Talking about eyes of a batsman, and how determined they are, all well and good, at the end of the day, it is where you play your cricket, and how you play it that matters most. Make a slightly better wicket, and all these run machines in this series will struggle to notch up a decent 50.

  • anil_cdg on December 11, 2007, 19:04 GMT

    i am thirteen years old . though i am indian i now live in a country where we dont get to see live telecast of india matches . my dad when in office asks me to log on to cricinfo and keep in posted on results . for the last one year he keeps giving me examples of sourav ganguly and tells me that in life when you are down never give up , if you work hard you can always come back . i will follow this

  • kingston on December 11, 2007, 17:44 GMT

    nice article

    Comment by Ivan Joseph was the right way to express our appreciation.

    The fightback by Saurav will be long cherished in the hearts of his fans if not others.

  • On-Drive on December 11, 2007, 17:32 GMT

    Let us not blame Chappell for every problem of this world. GC told SG to quit his captaincy and focus on batting. Who unceremoniously took this private conversation to public? What unceremonious exit are we talking about here? When SG was dropped, instead of making all the noises thru politicians and thru news reporters, he should have just played in the domestic matches, scored tons of runs (?) and returned to the team. A Team is more important than the individuals representing the team. Unfortunately, some fans and some players think that individuals are more important than the team.

  • bigfan on December 11, 2007, 15:20 GMT

    Sambit, This is one of the best article about Ganguly I have read in my Lifetime.Folks should not forget that the way Dada was booted out from Indian cricket was a shocker even outside of India.He is a brilliant cricketer, and most of my English cricket fans could not believed the way he was treated.Those few months were the darkest days in his career and Indian cricket. This all reflects in the poor performance Of Indian cricket in World Cup. Hope Ganguly will be among the runs with aussies, and good scores over there can bring him the glory and fame he had outside India.

  • Shaju.K on December 11, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    Hi, great to get an opportunity to express the happiness to see Sourav back again with a bang..!!! He has already proved himself that all his critics were wrong. Shame on you Chappel & Kiran More team and Sachin-Dravid too for supporting the Australian coach earlier which resulted in the unceremonious oust of DADA from the team. Thanks to all Ganguly supporters who stood beside him on his hardest days. I strongly disagree with comments like only Bengalis are fans of Saurav, and here I would like to mention that I am not a bengali and ofcourse would like to be known as a true Indian!!!! East or West, South or North, India is the best!!!! and Sourav is our Gourav!!!!!!!

  • ssukumar_2007 on December 11, 2007, 14:01 GMT

    Dear cricconnossieur, I am not a Bengali. I am a Tamilian from Tamil Nadu which is far away from Calcutta. Persons supporting Ganguly (including me) questioned only the way he was treated at the time he was dropped from the team. Can someone show a team apart from India which gives a bad treatment to a player who is the best captain the country has ever produced and who has more than 16,000 international runs ? Do you think scoring runs away from home (in SA and England against a decent attack) not good enough for a batsman? Will you consider only Australia as the cricket playing nation? Since his comeback he has been the best performer in both forms of cricket. I am sure any team captain (including Ponting)didn't have the guts Ganguly have. He had proved that in the World Cup 2003 and the Australian tour of 2003-4.Count his 183 against Srilanka at Taunton in the 1999 World Cup. It was a must win game for India to stay in the World Cup. Won't you consider a must win game as a pressure?

  • ADSONU on December 11, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    It'll be an huge insult to Sourav if one owes the credit to Chappell-More partnership for his unbelievable return to form and international cricket. Simply because, to bring Ganguly back into his form was never their intention. They wanted to remove his name from Indian cricket. The way he was treated and got dropped,was pathetic. Only a man with iron-mind can return this way. We worship Sachin-Dravid and sometimes don't give the deserved credit to Sourav. But he is the man who transformed aimless Indian Cricket into Team India. Depending on his timing,lofting ability and mental strength only he has come upto this and be sure...many surprises are still to be unfolded. We can have debates to find the best batsman-(Sachin/Sunny/Dravid)?? or the Best Bowler-(Kapil/Kumble)?? Those are for personal achievements. But there will be no doubt, taking Kapil into count, to find the most influential person in the history of Indian Cricket - its none other than Sourav. He has to be. Thanks DADA.

  • kingshuk on December 11, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    this is for CRICCONEESIUR comment no 4..please approve my comment DEAR MODERATORS.

    dude listen there are more fans of dada post 2005 than sachin if not equal.dada is the highest scorer in tests and odis in 2007.in south africa he was not under pressure?you have not studied physics go back to high school. talking about england he was given two bad decisions which cost him 2 100s and his average still was above 50 nd talking about this series he has scored these runs when india lost 2 wickets in the first test 4 wickets in the second nd then today when india could have lost nd he completely blew the pakistani attack.nd i am not an indian for that matter

  • tusharkardile on December 11, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    A lot has been said about Chappel helping Ganguly by making him sit out. I think the only point people miss when they talk about this, is how unceremoniously this was done. Ganguly was THROWN out of team, out of the team that he had built and led to great success. Chappel was not a selector to ask Ganguly sit out, he was a coach and his job was getting the best out of the team he was given. If he wanted Ganguly to come back stronger, he could have told him so. It was pretty clear that he wanted SG out of the team for some non-cricketing reasons. But I am glad that SG has come back stronger.

  • Nipun on December 11, 2007, 6:04 GMT

    There is no need to say anything-stats say everything-they say that Sourav has been India's best performer in tests & joint best performers in ODIs(along with Tendulkar) since his comeback.Obviously he deserves all the accolades for his tremendous comeback,& in hindsight,it is also right to say that the stint away from the spotlights above the India team helped him to regain his batting skills(just as the case with Michael Clarke).It is time all true Indian cricket lovers acknowledge this man's heart,guts,determination & strength of will.You need a bit of technic to survive,but if you have these 4 qualities,you will be unstoppable.....

  • skn562000 on December 11, 2007, 5:16 GMT

    So much has been (negative) written (on Sourav the player as well as the captain. Wonder how his leadership quality can ever be questioned when he is the most successful captain of Indian Cricket. Wonder how anyone can call him a "shirker" when despite such shoddy treatment when ever since his comebak he has been the most consistent batsman without flinching from the all types of attack on and off the field. The fact that despite the barbs thrown at him by the former coach and Sourav's successor to the mantle of captaincy, he has maintained his silence and continues to carry himself with dignity and poise proves that here is one person to whom all that matters is the welfare of INDIAN CRICKET.

  • cricconnossieur on December 11, 2007, 4:56 GMT

    Dear Bengali fanatics of the world! Please reign in your emotions and get things in the right perspective. Sourav Ganguly deserved to be dropped from the team as his performances were abysmal.No apologies needed for demanding his ouster.He deserves his place in the team now on the back of good showing in the domestic cricket. I simply dont understand why the experts are now falling jead over heels to placate the ganguly fans.Remember he is still the worst fielder in the side.Remember he had scored runs in a series played on featherbeds, with the worst possible bowling attack, not just the worst-pakistani bowling attack. Please remember that when he scored those runs in SA, he scored when not under pressure. He was dismissed of short balls, he didnt contribute when needed, in the last test match. In Eng again, the entire Indian batsmen enjoyed a weak-non-regular Eng bowling attack.Even then he hadnt done great.Australia is the acid-test my dear Bengali-mates!

  • sreenivasab on December 10, 2007, 22:43 GMT

    The Credit ofcourse goes to the Player for his performance, but in this case the credit also goes to the Chappel and the earlier selection committe who was responsible for his outster because he was running not only at this low and the lows of all Captains and Players. So, he had not been out, he would have been running with Zeros and single digits for more time. Since we are prepared to give credit for him for his performance, he should also prepare to accept the break infact helped him to regain the performance without any strings attached to it. Thanks.

  • Iyer on December 10, 2007, 21:57 GMT

    I am an ardent fan of sourav ganguly, and I stood by him even during the worst of his times, unlike many others who wrote him off. He has proven that he is a man of determination and one who relentlessly strive hard for success. Cricketers like Ganguly bring in crowds to the stadium and more people to the cricketing world, they have the necessary the flair and grace. I still believe he has more shelf life and he should be utilized by the Indian cricket and the best way to utilize his services is to make him captain until Dhoni / Yuvraj acquire some good experience. Rahul, Sachin and Sourav have fed the ever insatiable Indian cricket fans for more than a decade, and for godsake never throw them off unceremoniously. They deserve a better treatment. Congrats Sourav for scoring a point! It is not that I am a person who doesn't like change or youth, but I am person who would like to rely on merit - proven merit!

    Best regards,

    Iyer

  • ivanjoseph on December 10, 2007, 19:59 GMT

    Thank you Sambit - you have the good grace to accept that you made a mistake when you wrote Ganguly off. That shows your character and makes me as a reader want to read more of the things you write. When you say his smile touched a million hearts, I know it touched mine watching from the US in the middle of the night. Great stuff!

    This is such a wonderful 'feel good' story. It is inspirational. This is what touches one down to the core. Of all the sporting heroes, the ones that we identify with the most are those who seem human like the rest of us, who stumble and also fall occasionally but then who reach for the stars and actually touch them. Sourav has done that in the most endearing way possible and for that he has a special place in our hearts. May he continue to enjoy succcess - he deserves it.

  • dishNub on December 10, 2007, 19:59 GMT

    They should have done exactly same thing with Tendulkar. He has taken his place for granted for too long and it shows in his performance. A sword hanging on his head with 6 months on sideline would have definitely seen his average soar over 58.

  • SABARISWAMY on December 10, 2007, 19:02 GMT

    I Think it's time for all DADA's fans to relish this moment of success and truimph conquered by DADA. It's never that easy to get back into this current INDIAN team comprising some promising younsters & exciting talents. Definitely, DADA has worked his way into this team & has proved his mettle as a class act. Leave alone the stats and figures on his comeback, do look into his attitude & approach to the game post his comeback as suggested by Mr.Sambit. He has mellowed down a lot & has started taking things in his own stride - as rightly cited by sambit, DADA's disappointment on his dismissal in the recently concluded england tour just had a RUEFUL SMILE & a DEJECTED WALK - a quality that one needs to develop in the game's highest level. Certainly he has not only been scoring in bulk and better in each series that he has played post his comeback, his mental outfit has also been considerably growing better than ever. Let's pray & wish him the best in DOWN UNDER. Just do it for us DADA!

  • bprad on December 10, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    More than his talent, his best attribute has been his perseverance and his fighting qualities. It was visible when he was a captain and now in his comeback. I don't remember any other Indian captain "giving it back" to opposition teams in their own turf. I still remember how he got under the skin of the Aussies and the English. We need characters like him in the game - especially against teams like Australia - where you need a bit more than just raw talent. Respect!

    In any case, for India to do well Down Under, we need to bowl well - really really well. If you look at the stats, India has scored more than 600 four times this year (and tops the charts for most runs in an innings) but three of them resulted in draws. Only one - that too against Bangladesh - resulted in victory. I'm suppose the Indian think-tank has worked out something for this, but its not obvious in this 3rd test against Pakistan...

  • Nampally on December 10, 2007, 16:20 GMT

    Ganguly's dropping from the Indian team was marred by severe conflict of opinions between Chappel and Ganguly. The event was also marred by lot of ill feelings between the two. As a result Ganguly realised that he will have to be more than just a captain and contribute his share as a player. He really applied himself to the task and all credit to him his fitness and skill level rose by several notches. His talent was never in doubt but his record as a batsmen was not as good when he lost his place. Now he has shown how great a batsmen he is. He is head and shoulders above all other inian batsmen in 2007 and has even contributed with the ball. In fact he is easily rose to his highest level as a batsmen. I think dropping him made him more determined than ever to fight back but he himself says the dropping was very shabily done by the selectors. I feel the treatment of Yuvraj also falls in the same boat. He is the best Indian batsmen today but cannot find a permanent place in the team.

  • Kumar_cricket on December 10, 2007, 15:04 GMT

    Yes,Ganguly is living out a fairy tale at the moment and I wish his fariytale shud go on as long as it can.Thing is , being dropped and getting back into the team is always part and parcelof a player who is been in international cricket for more than 10 yrs,that the player who lead the team for 5 yrs.But the sensation created by the media and heroworship by us(fans) are all targeting on our heros which will devastate them.

  • onlycricket on December 10, 2007, 14:18 GMT

    We Indians target our heroes with maniacal zeal.This is egged on by media.Ganguly case is a a classic example of how we demolish our own heroes.Fortunately Ganguly is strong to overcome and make a comeback.Lesser players are devastated like Shewag.Now many are after Dinesh Kartikh.My advise to Indian fans is just support the team and support the players unflinchingly.Let the selectors do the job.Media please keep your reports objective.Clssic example is that after Yuvraj scored a ton instead of appreciating the effort of the team to climb out of a hole Media started speculating who Yuvi will replace in the 11 in Australia.Please Media enjoy the moment.There are no Mujrims in the Indian team if we lose there are only heroes. Whether we win or lose there is absolutely no need to hang the albatross of expectations around the teams neck.Case in point is the 20-20 world cup.No presure of expectation a brilliant performance.Please back the team whoever is playing is a hero in every respect.

  • wordssayall on December 10, 2007, 13:51 GMT

    Well what has Saurav got? Not the technique of Rahul Dravid, nor the shots of Sachin Tendulkar, not even half the power of Yuvraj Singh, neither the reflexes of a Ricky Ponting. Yet he scores runs, and lots and lots of runs and yes Mr.Ashish Singh he will score plenty Down Under(mark my words time will prove it). The reason being cricket is a game best played with 40% of your skill and 60% by your brains, that's what makes this game special. It is 2 against 11 when on field, and then it is all about out thinking the opposition, this is where Saurav Ganguly thrives.

  • guru_rao on December 10, 2007, 12:55 GMT

    Hi all....congrats to DADA once again.I am a die-hard fan of Ganguly.I should say that I believed that he will be back, but never expected that it would be in such a spectacular fashion, to be frank.Like they say....the best in you comes out when you are under testing conditions...and Dada is no exception.He emerged out as the leading run getter for India proving his rigour and capabilities and making all those silent who once pointed out at him.Hoping that the upcoming series against the Aussies would be a feast and wish a small desire to see Dada play a spectacular pull shot come true!! Sambit....this was one of the best!!Thanks for putting it in.

  • On-Drive on December 10, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    There is no doubt that decision to leave out Ganguly in 2005 was the right thing to do. Such 'benchings' to 'shake-up' players are very common in pro sports. That is what exactly happened to Ganguly. Instead of taking such decisions personally, Indian players should strive to work harder and come back stronger. Good and mentally strong players work harder on their game come back stronger. That is exactly what Ganguly did. Lastly, people who say that SG did not score runs because of his captaincy, is giving an excuse. There are enough examples of Indian captains and other captains who have done very well or better when they captained their side.

  • nonviolence on December 10, 2007, 12:42 GMT

    Well he scored a double hundred, he has played with determination since his return, but where was this determination when India was playing Australia at Nagpur or against Shoaib Akhtar in 2004. Anyone who watched him bat then would have said that he was not a test class batsman. His performance now just proves that he was not trying hard enough back then, that is just not acceptable at international level. Chappell had asked him to quit captaincy and concentrate on his batting to extend his career,Chappll's stand has only been vindicated by Saurav's performance post comeback. Whether people like it or not Chappell has been right about most things. I am sorry if I hurt sentiments of Ganguly fans but truth should be told without fear of retribution.

  • kingshuk on December 10, 2007, 12:08 GMT

    wow mr sambit bal.i had read an article where a columnist for cricinfo blogs if i am not mistaken mr mukul kesavan had said that ganguly has to perform consistenly to stay in the x1.but i completely disagree.he always has a sword hanging over him.i dont understand this.this is for all the readers of cricinfo and mr sambit bal.sourav could have been the best batsmen for india had he not been the captain to focus on his game.he was the fastest scorer in odis and his first 2000 test runs came at a fast pace.he bats at no 5 in tests and by the time rahul and sachin finish their innings sourav is left with tailenders or with the possibilty of declaration.for me sourav is the best .i wish ravi shashtri is chucked out of the commentary team.ravi shashtri whu is known as a sixer rather than a cricketer should not comment on gr8 persons

  • SwarSwar on December 10, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    i am a die hard fan of DADA. I never believed that he would never come back. I knew he will be back with a bang and in flying colours. His struggle in itself is a big motivator for many of the younger sports persons or even for a normal human being, that if you want something you can get it just give it a 100% committment and NEVER GIVE UP. Dada continues to inspire.... all the best from a welwisher.

  • AnindyaCricinfo on December 10, 2007, 8:58 GMT

    Well Sambit, u once again proved that why ur articles are the most discussed ones, u call a spade a spade and rihtly gives due credit to a person. But don't generalize the apology refering to "we", because only few people have the guts to accpt there mistakes and apologize, and I mean it...it takes a lot of courage to accept one's own mistake, some people are really not that courageous !!! But where are these people?? we remember these lines a) "ganguly will never be in the team again" b)" I don't know at this age how his finances were more important to him than his team and performance" c)" I don't think sending Ganguly to SA will improve the miserable batting of India, anyway he is past". d)" If there is any weak link into the team , then it is ganguly"...2007 Mr. Sanjay Manjerekar. Though these were not much of a surprise but the one thing that really surprised me was Dravid's silence.

  • Ashutosh on December 10, 2007, 8:56 GMT

    Congrats to Ganguly for the remarkable scores against a second-string and that-too depleted attack and to Sambit for going ga-ga over it. We get so used to expecting mediocrity from some players that even big innings against an apology of a Pak attack gives people cause for celebrations. Sambit, I wish u had reserved your hosannas until after the Aussie tour.

  • Elvis on December 10, 2007, 8:25 GMT

    To all critics of Ganguly, thank you verymuch for all your embrassing acts of past without which our dada would not had been in this fairytale now. I strongly believed he would comeback. I also believe no one else would repeat such a feat. It his attitude, determination and self-belief thats keeps him going. I still remember how VRV Singh intimidated him with a bouncer in Deodar/Ranji torphy match after dada was sent off from International games. Its a bitter food for Kiram More now. As dada ack, we fans thank the new team of selectors for keeping faith in him. DADA ROCKS.

  • zohir on December 10, 2007, 7:43 GMT

    Dear Mr. Sambit Bal, I am glad to see your coverage on Sourav's comeback. I believe the Pundits of indian cricket need to draw some lessons from the whole Greg-Ganguly episode. I hope that someday you will spare some moments to reflect on these and address such issues as the control over market, choice of a coach, ways to ensure greater unity within the Indian team and ensuring entry of new talents without being mean to the old and great ones. As an editor of this site, I believe you owe the readers that much if your present piece is a sign of positive realization. Thanks again for a good piece and hope to see balanced views even when one or the other cricketer goes through bad days!

  • Ragupath on December 10, 2007, 7:05 GMT

    I would like to give a pat in Sambit Bal's back for accepting that they had make error in judgement regarding Ganguly's Career. Normally critics never accept their mistake. So this is a welcome change. Regarding the centuries by Ganguly in Kolkatta and Bangalooru saying that the pitches are good for batsmen - Mr. Sambit Bal has just missed one point that in Bangalooru India was at a precarious position at 61 for 4 and from which India recovered due to a superb knock by Yuvraj ,a double century by Ganguly and then a century by another comeback man Pathan. So it does not matter how easy the pitch is the game is played in minds of the batsmen. In Kolkatta(where Ganguly hit a century) Pakistan was in a precarious position after a mammoth total by India and required the application of minds of two gutsy batsmen in Kamran Akmal and Misbah Ul Haq to dig Pakistan out of danger and draw the match. So hence I do not agree about the pitch condition.

  • CheckIfTheScreenNameAlreadyInUse on December 10, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    while we all celebrate ganguly's surprising and relatively successful comeback....we must not forget that his exclusion from the team post the zimbabwe tour was inevitable. he had done nothing of note to warrant a place in the side back then and was justifiably dropped. looking ahead, i do not think this fairytale would last any long....a few good innings against this pathetic pakistani attack proves nothing....I, for one, cannot wait to see shaun tait and brett lee running into bowl at him on those demonic pitches :)

  • oopscricket on December 10, 2007, 6:18 GMT

    Thanks for the reporting. Yes I think it was needed that time as he was undergone in a series bad patch. But I must say the manner he was treated and the wordings were used by the Chief Selector that time is not good for a cricketer who lead his country and took the team upto final in 2003 world cup. I must say this is a very good example for all of us in dailylife as we can achieve anything if we hve the strong willpower backed with devotion, strong mind. Saurav show this at this age in international cricket. He has nothing to prove to the so called third graded cricketers who said he will not comeback also this is a message to that time Indian skipper(!!) who was remain silent for diplomacy. Ofcourse history repeats itself.I know if Saurav is unable to perform in coming tours then again the cricket intellectuals will get the stage for their valuable comments about Ganguly. And finally performance will speak the truth.

  • AmitabhCricInfo on December 10, 2007, 6:05 GMT

    For a long time I resisted this part. But finally I register myself with CricInfo just to add my own thoughts to the already well-compiled list. And because Sambit finally apologised after a 2 year wait. Much more than the time we waited for Ganguly to make his comeback.

    Thumbrule for submitting any apology - It has to be at the start of any note or article. Guess Sambit, who probably has been one of Ganguly's worst critics, forgot this part. He will get a second chance some day.

    Statistics - Last 3 test series that India has played. Who has been India's best batsman? Does anybody need to guess? Who has been India's most outstanding captain in the last 50 years or so? To inspire and motivate a team of individuals into a squad that can challenge the best cricket-playing teams in the world.

    Kiran More(His contribution to Indian cricket??), Gavaskar, Shastri, Chappell(hate to even write his name) and NDTV's panel; all should follow suit now. 'Apology', if they forgot the word.

  • Rhododendron on December 10, 2007, 5:51 GMT

    Everytime Ganguly does something commendable since his comeback, my mind skips back to an individual who is supposed to be one of India's most "knowledgeable" cricket experts and who doesnt shy away from hearing his name spoken of in the same breath as Sunil Gavaskar in spite of his amazingly mediocre cricket career.Yes gentlemen, i still remember his comments when Ganguly was recalled for the SA series....."I Honestly believe Ganguly's inclusion is not going to help India's batting worries too much....Ganguly as a player is past his sell-by date....".......Mr. Shastri, is it time for an apology?

  • ajmani on December 10, 2007, 5:50 GMT

    Ganguly was under performing when he was "rested" for the future tours. Yes, he could not prove his worth amidst strong competition and stronger teams. Ganguly getting back to back centuries is applauded by everyone. His bowling has got breakthroughs and we are happy to have him in the team. But remember, these are subcontinent pitches. Lacks pace and bounce. I am more eager to see his performance in Australia, specially in Perth. Will he be injured ahead of a test match in Perth? I fully support his comeback and we all (critics)respect him for the talent. But the greatest talent is to be consistent and he will have to live upto more expectations. All the best to him, his supporters and our Indian team.

  • RSG476 on December 10, 2007, 5:37 GMT

    For a website and a writer who had very publicly given up on Ganguly, it is nice to see this article. I can only hope that this stance does not again suddenly change. While Sambit has talked of the cricketing part of it, the worst allegations, IMHO, were on the supposed politics Ganguly played, specially with juniors, on the infighting he actively promoted and on the allegation that he wanted to hang on for just money. Today papers are going over board on how Ganguly sheperded both Yuvraj and Pathan and even someone as negative as Ravi Shastri has commented on this role played by Sourav as a senior pro. That is where the bigger apology should lie. For a player can suffer a loss of form, as Ganguly undoubtedly did, and one can doubt his class and grit (for which Sambit has apologized). But to suggest malafide intentions, and imply attempts to break up the team are far worse, and deserved cricinfo's condemnation - that was lacking and is yet to come.

  • Amitabh on December 10, 2007, 5:21 GMT

    Dear Sambit,

    Great! You have written the article on Sourav. It is no fairytale. It is the guts to prove to the world what Sourav is Capable of. Chappel is no motivator.. he is the poorest person on this earth and needs only money , otherwise a person with self respect would never have come back to India. I appreciate that You have admitted your mistake, and it will be more appreciable if in future you do not repeat the mistake for anybody else. When a person is down, and who has served his Nation with dignity and responsilbility, needs to be supported not criticised.

  • Supratik on December 10, 2007, 5:12 GMT

    I think that the Ganguly saga will teach us Indians in general, and the media in particular, to be more measured in our approach to the great cricketers that this country has produced. In this regard your redemption is only half done Sambit, though I have always liked your articles without agreeing on many of them. Cricinfo through one and half years starting 2006 was sold on to Chappell/More and what not. That their theories have been debunked and grounded in dust is not only justice but make them look like cartoons of poorest quality. Its laughable when one says that Chappell has done us (or ganguly) a favour. Left to him or More for that matter, Ganguly would have never got a sniff of a chance come hell or high water. Sure Ganguly deserved then to be dropped but not without bare minimum dignity. Chappell didn't even contribute 10% to Indian cricket to what Ganguly did. You and your team need to spell that out to seek total redemption.

  • vinayar on December 10, 2007, 4:59 GMT

    How many of us would have mocked at the Ad posted by Pepsi featuring Saurav, (kaun jaane, Hawa pe shirt ghumne ka ek aur mauka mil jaaye!!) What Saurav has displayed is class, passion and perseverence.. For those who live Cricket, the Saga written by Saurav is some thing unforgettable, and the epic long lived.. Kudos to the prince.

  • partha_sghosh on December 10, 2007, 4:41 GMT

    Cricinfo 2005: The wheel has turned, and Ganguly's time is over.

    For all he has contributed to this team, Ganguly deserved a better farewell - if indeed that's what this is - than being abruptly dropped. He deserved to walk away into the sunset, head held high, not be nudged out, first by coach, then the media, the public, and finally the selectors. But then again, with his batting, his behaviour and his almost stubborn refusal to let go, he barely gave anyone a chance to do any better by him.

    Cricinfo 2007:

    But he is living out a fairytale at the moment, and nothing he achieves will be a surprise anymore. There are many, me included, who believed Ganguly's time as an international cricketer was over. We owe him an apology and a salute.

    From next time onward Mr.Bal & co in cricinfo, please be a journo not a hate community writer. Cricinfo is supposed to have a non-parochical flavour since its audience is throughout the globe.

  • hegdey2k on December 10, 2007, 4:18 GMT

    Even the most admiring of Ganguly's supporters (me included) would not have scripted a comeback which he has done for himself. I remember those days in 2006 when was dropped from the team, critics banished him and his ads taken off air for Brands no longer felt he was relevant... there was this pepsi commercial in which he talked of another chance of playing for India and a chance to take his shirt off and swirl it in celebration! Has he earned his chance or what! I join sambit in saluting the modern day hero. All the best for Australia. No surprise if Ganguly proves his critics wrong, yet again there!

  • Sjsharma on December 10, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    On leg side, its everyone. On off side, its Saurav. In pavillion, its Sambit! Ganguly's comeback is akin rise of phoenix. But no one can put it better than Mr Bal.

  • guna1964 on December 10, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    I request to send the article to Kiran More who vouched that Ganguly will never come back into the team and of course to Greg who also put Ganguly into a coffin. Like Phoenix, Dada has come alive.

  • sammy96 on December 10, 2007, 3:41 GMT

    Its rare that you read an article on cricinfo that praises Ganguly or gives him the due respect for his contribution to Indian cricket. It was good to read Mr. Bal's article. Generally if a similar feat is achieved by a Tendulkar, Dravid, or yuvraj you will read flurry of artciles, pics etc. on this website. But it doesn't miss an oppurtunity to write articles when odds were against Ganguly. But I guess one has to write what sell's well.

    Same applies to Anil Kumble and VVS laxman. I don't think that the duo ever got the credit that they deserve. It was heartening to see that Kumble was honored with the Test Captainship. It was a great move.

  • apyboutit on December 10, 2007, 3:35 GMT

    The apology was the icing on the cake. Until the end of this fantastic tribute to an exciting player, I was reminded constantly of those earlier passages from Bal, which were quite sceptical of Ganguly and his "comeback". I am glad you mentioned it at the end. Among the present lot, only Wasim, Sourav and to a certain extent VVS, seem to start an innings without much uncertainty presently. Sachin, Rahul, Dhoni and any of Wasim's partners are iffy at the crease for the first 5-8 overs that they face. It is this (initial) phase that is dangerous for each batsman, down under. Just for this reason, I think Sourav, Wasim and VVS will be the most consistent and successful this time around against the Ozs. If the rest get ample support from these, initially, then we in for a run fest. We need, first, to wrap up the on-going series against Pakistan 2-0! Our bowling has been lackluster so far. C'mmon guys!

  • kumblefan on December 10, 2007, 3:35 GMT

    Sambit, Your observations are right. Saurav is very focussed. It is not a surrise as we know that he is fighter. All the same we need to thank Greg Chappel for being the motivator.

  • kumblefan on December 10, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    Excellent observation and comments. Perhaps Indian cricket needs to thank Greg Chappel for being the motivator!

  • paultjohn on December 10, 2007, 2:56 GMT

    well written Mr.Sambit Bal, especially the last paragraph has the beauty of a poem.

    thanks paul t john

  • Rudy2 on December 10, 2007, 2:52 GMT

    I have to admire Sambit Bal in having the guts to say he was wrong about Ganguly. His article yesterday barely mentioned him at all and then in a sniffy sort of way. Today, Bal redeems himself.

  • subbu1970 on December 10, 2007, 2:39 GMT

    Hi Sambit, Like diehard cricekt fans and a player myself who has shred some space with Dada in my early years , I was and am a true believer of the grit and talent that is Sourav Ganguly. He transformed team india , discovered the Yuvarjs and Bhajjis to the cricketing world but Greg would have nothing fo that and sentenced him for a crime he never committed.Guess that was a wake up call and salutations to the begal Tiger that he cme back roaring in style and as they say , its performances that matter and you are just as good as your last innings. Excellent compilation of the character that is Sourav Ganguly and I can only wish him the very best on behalf of the cricketing fraternity that he continues to glow in his 'second innings' and SIGNS off in style. He deserves that kind of a sendoff. Subbu

  • Paul-NZ on December 10, 2007, 2:30 GMT

    Excellent column, thanks. Ganguly would almost definitely produce one of the greatest ever cricketing comebacks if he were to continue this form in Australia.

  • Ayaskanta on December 10, 2007, 1:48 GMT

    Ganguly has been doing remarkabely well after his return but to compare him with Sachin or for that matter Rahul will be injustice to these 2 great players.Sachin scored half-century in the 2nd innings of the Delhi test versus Pakistan and I don't think he was finding any demons in the pitch.The way he hooked and pulled the Pakistani pacers on the fifth day showed his class but Ganguly got out to a pull shot that very day. Please stop praising others at the cost of Sachin Tendulkar!!

  • DadaNationalArmy on December 10, 2007, 1:40 GMT

    Glad to see dada in such sublime form. Nice Article, Sambit. Excited to see him bat Down Under !

  • dusher on December 10, 2007, 1:12 GMT

    Every cricketer goes through a rough patch in his career. We all know that. With Greg Chappell's attitude I'm sure Ganguly had ego issues and this off field conflict affected his performance on the field. It would have all been good for him to have retired then. But for a man to have a comeback out of nowhere, when every person in or related to cricket recognized him as an 'ex-cricketer', is something very commendable! To realize one's failures is the biggest success of all and Ganguly's example just reiterates that. He has been a very important part of the Indian team throughout and he did go through a lean patch but has made a comeback and how!! All my friends used to be very upset at Ganguly's omission coz we believed in his cricketing abilities and recognized him as a very intelligent cricketer on the basis of his captaincy. He is comparable to the likes of Sachin and Dravid if not better! We all salute this sports icon! He makes our country proud!

  • kuntalganitik on December 10, 2007, 0:10 GMT

    First of all I would like to congratulate Ganguly for his success. There is a statistical mistake in the article : in the first innings of first test against Pakistan Ganguly was out by Tanvir not Shoaib (5th line from below).

  • davedave on December 9, 2007, 23:18 GMT

    Excellent article. A man who has scored 1034 runs in his last 11 test matches that includes the current Bangalore test with 4 50s and 3 hundreds had shown that how consistent and a quality player the prince of kolkota. Look at the down (probably 4th or 5th) most of his career he has played, still he has crossed 6000 runs in test matches. Kumble as a captain promoted him ahead of Laxman has made wonders. Ganguly repaid the faith by scoring runs, runs and just runs. 2 years ago he was out of the squad for almost a year although he was not in from it was the politics done by Greg, Kiran More management [that includes Dravid as well] made him out of the squad for long time. Now I would like see those faces as dada is making them to eat their own words. He is at his very best. I hope that his purple patch will be in the up coming series against the mighty aussies.

  • pnvram on December 9, 2007, 23:12 GMT

    Fair comment. I like the tone of admiration and respect for a player whom many of us had written off but who believed in himself and calmly went about rebuilding his career, without histrionics. I appreciate your honest admission you were wrong. Well done!

  • Robin001 on December 9, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    So true, their was a time when Ganguly used to walk in the middle and i used to count the number of balls he will take to walk back. But since his return he has completely transformed himself. Its an inspiration to others like Viru, that you can make a comeback, all you need is determination. Well done Ganguly, hope you continue the good work in Australia.

  • InYourFace on December 9, 2007, 21:30 GMT

    Honestly, you article wouldn't even make it past third grade in elementary school. I wonder how cricinfo has established itself to the extent it has. Definitely not by these standards.

  • sandeeprm on December 9, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    I read the articles here regularly, and this surely has been the best one! Very well written indeed. Hope Ganguly reads it :) -Sandeep

  • avm007 on December 9, 2007, 20:31 GMT

    Hi Sambit,

    I have been a Ganguly believer ever since I started watching cricket. I have come across so many articles in the past 11 years that hez playing, but, hatz off to you for such a brilliant, exuberating and a pledge of an article. For someone who seemed like a critic of Dada, to write such a article...its beautiful. I hope u can take up from here on. Thanks!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • avm007 on December 9, 2007, 20:31 GMT

    Hi Sambit,

    I have been a Ganguly believer ever since I started watching cricket. I have come across so many articles in the past 11 years that hez playing, but, hatz off to you for such a brilliant, exuberating and a pledge of an article. For someone who seemed like a critic of Dada, to write such a article...its beautiful. I hope u can take up from here on. Thanks!

  • sandeeprm on December 9, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    I read the articles here regularly, and this surely has been the best one! Very well written indeed. Hope Ganguly reads it :) -Sandeep

  • InYourFace on December 9, 2007, 21:30 GMT

    Honestly, you article wouldn't even make it past third grade in elementary school. I wonder how cricinfo has established itself to the extent it has. Definitely not by these standards.

  • Robin001 on December 9, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    So true, their was a time when Ganguly used to walk in the middle and i used to count the number of balls he will take to walk back. But since his return he has completely transformed himself. Its an inspiration to others like Viru, that you can make a comeback, all you need is determination. Well done Ganguly, hope you continue the good work in Australia.

  • pnvram on December 9, 2007, 23:12 GMT

    Fair comment. I like the tone of admiration and respect for a player whom many of us had written off but who believed in himself and calmly went about rebuilding his career, without histrionics. I appreciate your honest admission you were wrong. Well done!

  • davedave on December 9, 2007, 23:18 GMT

    Excellent article. A man who has scored 1034 runs in his last 11 test matches that includes the current Bangalore test with 4 50s and 3 hundreds had shown that how consistent and a quality player the prince of kolkota. Look at the down (probably 4th or 5th) most of his career he has played, still he has crossed 6000 runs in test matches. Kumble as a captain promoted him ahead of Laxman has made wonders. Ganguly repaid the faith by scoring runs, runs and just runs. 2 years ago he was out of the squad for almost a year although he was not in from it was the politics done by Greg, Kiran More management [that includes Dravid as well] made him out of the squad for long time. Now I would like see those faces as dada is making them to eat their own words. He is at his very best. I hope that his purple patch will be in the up coming series against the mighty aussies.

  • kuntalganitik on December 10, 2007, 0:10 GMT

    First of all I would like to congratulate Ganguly for his success. There is a statistical mistake in the article : in the first innings of first test against Pakistan Ganguly was out by Tanvir not Shoaib (5th line from below).

  • dusher on December 10, 2007, 1:12 GMT

    Every cricketer goes through a rough patch in his career. We all know that. With Greg Chappell's attitude I'm sure Ganguly had ego issues and this off field conflict affected his performance on the field. It would have all been good for him to have retired then. But for a man to have a comeback out of nowhere, when every person in or related to cricket recognized him as an 'ex-cricketer', is something very commendable! To realize one's failures is the biggest success of all and Ganguly's example just reiterates that. He has been a very important part of the Indian team throughout and he did go through a lean patch but has made a comeback and how!! All my friends used to be very upset at Ganguly's omission coz we believed in his cricketing abilities and recognized him as a very intelligent cricketer on the basis of his captaincy. He is comparable to the likes of Sachin and Dravid if not better! We all salute this sports icon! He makes our country proud!

  • DadaNationalArmy on December 10, 2007, 1:40 GMT

    Glad to see dada in such sublime form. Nice Article, Sambit. Excited to see him bat Down Under !

  • Ayaskanta on December 10, 2007, 1:48 GMT

    Ganguly has been doing remarkabely well after his return but to compare him with Sachin or for that matter Rahul will be injustice to these 2 great players.Sachin scored half-century in the 2nd innings of the Delhi test versus Pakistan and I don't think he was finding any demons in the pitch.The way he hooked and pulled the Pakistani pacers on the fifth day showed his class but Ganguly got out to a pull shot that very day. Please stop praising others at the cost of Sachin Tendulkar!!