November 10, 2008

Eastern son

Sourav Ganguly fired Bengal's imagination. He was a talisman the state had waited too long for
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For all Bengal: in Ganguly came the answer to years of prayer for a hometown boy who had made good © AFP
 

I am writing this in the early-morning Sunday quiet of my Mumbai flat, an eye on the clock, my nerves tingling a bit, the sense of keyed-up anticipation that all addicts know flowing through my system as I wait for the fourth day's play in Nagpur to begin.

I am relishing the wait; the hours leading up to the first ball are an excruciatingly slow, gorgeously pleasurable wind-up. Thank heavens for Test cricket - again: play gets underway as early as 9.30am.

It's a big day in a big game in a big series. But hang on. Isn't there something else too? Yes, at some point later today, Sourav Ganguly is likely to come out to bat for the last time in his international career.

I have just returned from Kolkata, my - and Ganguly's - hometown, and the public discourse over there in clubs, bars and street corners (sorry, that may not be a fabulously representative sample, but those are the places I tend to hang out at when I go to Kolkata on my annual visit) was dominated by the former captain and his decision to quit. Was he pushed? Should he have quit? Couldn't he have played for a little while longer? Oh, Dada!

Hell, the largest-selling Bengali daily put Ganguly in as part of the headline the day Sachin Tendulkar got his 40th Test hundred. (Ganguly was 27 not out at stumps.)

You wouldn't think it talking to the man on the street and reading the Bengali papers but there is among many members of the educated elite in Kolkata a tendency to go against the grain and profess no extra love for Ganguly. The way it works is to specifically say that the masses illogically, irrationally support Ganguly. In a way, this stands to reason: Kolkata is a city of self-conscious irony; it is bashfully apologetic about itself and is suffused with a severe abhorrence of self-congratulation in certain circles.

Several of my friends resort to this sort of thing. I never have. I have always been an admirer of Ganguly's. And I insist that my admiration has nothing to do with being parochial. Nor do I think I need to go against the grain in this respect to exhibit my distinctiveness from the masses.

But I have been thinking about it this morning. And, you know, I've been asking myself if it is at all possible to entirely divorce parochialism of some form or the other from support. Isn't all support a sort of tribalism? Isn't that what it's all about? I mean, I am a big fan of Roger Federer and John McEnroe and Diego Maradona, but with cricket, a sport in which we are actually good? You tell me.

Well, Bengal's fanaticism about Ganguly is to do with parochialism. I am not sure if this is something to be bashfully apologetic about. Sport, you see, as Nick Hornby writes in The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, is part of popular culture, however much some of us try to deny it sometimes. And Bengal has been traditionally big on culture - and tremendously proud of it. If you don't have much else to show - like, say, top industrialists, or a lot of money, what else can you do? Culture is your badge of privilege, of genuine distinction.

Now we always had people who would talk about cricket; who would pride themselves on forming the most literate, intelligent cricket crowd in India (a patent lie. I think it went by a name in the popular press: congnoscenti); who would say that the Eden Gardens had the most atmosphere (a nebulous assertion because one isn't quite certain what "atmosphere" might really, objectively, mean); and who would talk about Kolkata's culture of following cricket in a, well, cultured way.

We had everything, you see. The trouble was, there was no one to follow. We didn't have the players. I mean, okay, Pankaj Roy was from Bengal, but to find people who could recall him in his pomp - well, let's just say you won't find too many of them hanging around at street corners or clubs or bars.

Ganguly fired Bengal's imagination because he was the talisman Bengal had been looking for for decades; he gave us someone to specifically root for. Every state had its players in the national team. Where were Bengal's?

Here was a state that had historically produced nearly no Test players of any stature. In Ganguly came the answer to years of prayer for a hometown boy who had made good. And how good he made. But that's not quite why I admire Ganguly. Or at least that is what I think.

All this I have figured out, keyed up, in the early-morning, Sunday quiet of my Mumbai flat, waiting for play to begin.

I think I am a huge Ganguly fan because of the way he has changed Indian cricket. I have written about this before, but it bears repeating. (Fans can't ever have too much of repetition.)

Becoming captain in November 2000, he forged on the anvil of his spectacular, stare-you-in-the-eye-and-not-blink, tough, provocative leadership a side that went from being crumbling-pitch bullies in India to the team that has beaten the (still) world champions, Australia, on more occasions than any other side in this century; the side that has won around the world; the side that has played with audacity and impunity and courage and guts and beauty.

Indian captains were supposed to be polite, stoic, decent, not overly, demonstrably ambitious, middle class in sensibility if not lineage. Ganguly changed all that.

He was the fulcrum around which the contemporary game's premier confrontation, India versus Australia, was built. Indian cricket was always about silk, about splitting cover and extra cover with neither fielder moving. It took Ganguly to put the steel in it.

 
 
Bengal's fanaticism about Ganguly is to do with parochialism. I am not sure if this is something to be bashfully apologetic about. Sport, as Nick Hornby writes, is part of popular culture, however much some of us try to deny it sometimes
 

This has been a thrilling decade - why, a thrilling century, I realise as I write this - to be an Indian cricket fan. And we shall be remiss if we don't acknowledge the extent of Ganguly's contribution to that fact.

It is probably true that his record as India's most successful captain ever has somewhat obscured and taken the attention away from his achievements as a batsman. His Test average has never fallen below 40. He is India's fourth-highest Test run-scorer and fourth-highest century-maker. He has played more Tests than all but a handful of players in the history of the game, and he has, in them, offered us numerous beautiful, gutsy, unforgettable performances.

Ganguly himself is acutely aware of this fact. A couple of days ago he was quoted as saying (in - where else but? - a Bengali daily) that he has made more than 2000 runs in the past 22 Tests. He is very conscious of his stats. And why not? If others aren't, perhaps not as much as they ought to be, the man who made the most stirring comeback in contemporary Indian cricket ought to be. It's not something to be exactly ashamed of, is it? Or bashfully apologetic about, perhaps?

But the fact remains that more than Ganguly the batsman, it is Ganguly the captain - the "game changer", as the marketing blokes like to call it - I shall remember. And I shall miss him when he is there no more to remind me of how he did what he did.

Wish you luck, Sourav. Have a good one, mate - as your favourite opponents would say - now that it is all over. And thanks for what you gave us.

It's still nearly an hour to go for the start of play.

Soumya Bhattacharya is the editor of Hindustan Times in Mumbai. A (sort of) sequel to his book You Must Like Cricket? will be out in 2009

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RISHAV003 on November 12, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    everything ok about dada but being a true fan of him i felt miserable when dada was dismissed on a duck. but why media comainting on this. have he not played well through these long years. dada said one match made his carrier dark. i fell no my cricketing idol. upssssssssssssss whole bengal idol

  • Rajesh. on November 12, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Well..... I have read many posts here, some praising Ganguly and some pointing out that Ganguly may not be as great as he is portrayed to be now..... But one thing is sure...... Saurav really matured a lot during his last few playing years..... And when he finished he was not just a better player but had evolved into a much more mature and mellowed human being too...... Good Luck for your future endeavors Saurav.

  • ganguly_rocks on November 12, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    dear quicksingle...you are right when you say bengal has hardly produced any cricketers representing India till sourav..infact there was hardly anyone significant from the eastern region...but thats the whole point of this article...after ganguly, young players from this region have started believing that they can make it too...we already had a bunch of players from lesser known places/states (orissa for eg) representing India..the current captain Dhoni is from Jharkhand..before Ganguly's time these were really unheard of...cricket representation was hardly beyond mumbai/karnataka..and that is why sourav is a role model...young players from this region can now hope...or should I say, dare to dream...something u obviously won't understand...

  • silypoint on November 12, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    continued from my previous post...dearquicksingle, i seriously don't get u'r point when u say he nurtured some guys for his own benefit...so he is at fault in bringing up & backing (to the hilt) up guys like shewag, harbhajan, yuvraj,zaheer...not to mention dhoni...these players have acknowledged that many times in their career...that also suggests he did have that narrow minded regionalistic approach which was so evident before his time... Ganguly has been a great servent of Indian cricket...pls have the courtesy to show him some respect...i believe i'm not being 'too radical' in asking that...

  • quicksingle on November 12, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    Continued from my previous post.....I must add that none of the posts criticizing my opinion have bothered to answer my questions. They have simply lambasted the post in the manner intolerant radicals do. One more question: Do you guys disagree that Ganguly behaved like a small time feudal chief (given his upbringing) where he nurtured some guys in the dressing room and worked to leverage and secure his place as a batsman as he felt others could be a threat. I have posed a question in my other post as to how middle order batsmen did not develop (or - were not nurtured deliberately) during his time. Is it a mere coincidence you feel, my friends here? Where was the killer instinct at Nagpur when he refused to play for India. is that a great model of love for your country?can my friends who dislike my views here, answer that. Or if you want to still look the other way and praise someone blindly without even questioning the follies he created,I cannot say more.

  • quicksingle on November 12, 2008, 7:30 GMT

    I think a few people have been utterly shocked by my views on Sourav and cant seem to tolerate a difference in point of view. Well, thats my point - we need to ask questions...was Sourav that good as he is being made out to be, or is it the sentimentality of the occasion that gets the better of some of our cricket bloggers. Bengal hasnt produced any sportsman of note in 30 years and here is someone who comes along and plays for India.Its kinda natural for the state to look up to him as a symbol of their presence in the Indian sports pantheon, but look deeper...isnt it an innate insecurity that elevates a regular Indian sportsman to a superhuman status. Karnataka doesnt go gaga over Kumble or Dravid as much because they've had Padukone some years ago...or Vishwanath or Srinath etc. Sourav should've inspired a whole generation of cricketers in Bengal. Has he done that? No, unless u feel Manoj Tiwary is the next Sachin Tendulkar! Thats why I say he's far away from the local cricket idiom!

  • SGBatsForever on November 12, 2008, 0:17 GMT

    Thank you Soumya for a wonderful piece on my favorite sportsman, Saurav C. Ganguly. Sourav Ganguly is one of the finest batsman and greatest captains in the history of the game- his numbers speak for themselves. Thank you Dada for so many inspirational and enjoyable moments over the last decade. We love you for them. As for quicksingle and his moronic comments- Ganguly was not as great a leader as Imran Khan, he was much much greater. Thank you Sourav and all the best wishes for a happy and more successful retirement. I cannot wait to see you in the IPL. God Bless you an yours.

  • chooha1 on November 11, 2008, 22:53 GMT

    Ganguly was an awesome player. Even though I'm a Pakistani supporter, I used to watch Ganguly play beautiful strokes. He has scored more than 11000 runs in tests and over 7000 runs in ODI's. This shows how great he was as a batsman PLUS as a bowler!

  • chooha1 on November 11, 2008, 22:48 GMT

    Well said "bharatM". I totally agree with you. Ganguly was, without any doubt, one of the greatest players India had EVER had! Good Luck with the future DADA!

  • JASH on November 11, 2008, 20:45 GMT

    ganguly was the man .. you all know that he and tendulkar had best opening pair in ODI's .. its not about just bengal if you read carefully the writer is just trying to convey how ganguly had made bengal proud .. that is true he was the most successful captain ever in Indian cricket history .. and the team selectors have ignored him to max extent just because he did bad in series against srilanka .. even sachin and dravid did pretty bad ... anyways i think he made a good decision of retirement

  • RISHAV003 on November 12, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    everything ok about dada but being a true fan of him i felt miserable when dada was dismissed on a duck. but why media comainting on this. have he not played well through these long years. dada said one match made his carrier dark. i fell no my cricketing idol. upssssssssssssss whole bengal idol

  • Rajesh. on November 12, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Well..... I have read many posts here, some praising Ganguly and some pointing out that Ganguly may not be as great as he is portrayed to be now..... But one thing is sure...... Saurav really matured a lot during his last few playing years..... And when he finished he was not just a better player but had evolved into a much more mature and mellowed human being too...... Good Luck for your future endeavors Saurav.

  • ganguly_rocks on November 12, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    dear quicksingle...you are right when you say bengal has hardly produced any cricketers representing India till sourav..infact there was hardly anyone significant from the eastern region...but thats the whole point of this article...after ganguly, young players from this region have started believing that they can make it too...we already had a bunch of players from lesser known places/states (orissa for eg) representing India..the current captain Dhoni is from Jharkhand..before Ganguly's time these were really unheard of...cricket representation was hardly beyond mumbai/karnataka..and that is why sourav is a role model...young players from this region can now hope...or should I say, dare to dream...something u obviously won't understand...

  • silypoint on November 12, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    continued from my previous post...dearquicksingle, i seriously don't get u'r point when u say he nurtured some guys for his own benefit...so he is at fault in bringing up & backing (to the hilt) up guys like shewag, harbhajan, yuvraj,zaheer...not to mention dhoni...these players have acknowledged that many times in their career...that also suggests he did have that narrow minded regionalistic approach which was so evident before his time... Ganguly has been a great servent of Indian cricket...pls have the courtesy to show him some respect...i believe i'm not being 'too radical' in asking that...

  • quicksingle on November 12, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    Continued from my previous post.....I must add that none of the posts criticizing my opinion have bothered to answer my questions. They have simply lambasted the post in the manner intolerant radicals do. One more question: Do you guys disagree that Ganguly behaved like a small time feudal chief (given his upbringing) where he nurtured some guys in the dressing room and worked to leverage and secure his place as a batsman as he felt others could be a threat. I have posed a question in my other post as to how middle order batsmen did not develop (or - were not nurtured deliberately) during his time. Is it a mere coincidence you feel, my friends here? Where was the killer instinct at Nagpur when he refused to play for India. is that a great model of love for your country?can my friends who dislike my views here, answer that. Or if you want to still look the other way and praise someone blindly without even questioning the follies he created,I cannot say more.

  • quicksingle on November 12, 2008, 7:30 GMT

    I think a few people have been utterly shocked by my views on Sourav and cant seem to tolerate a difference in point of view. Well, thats my point - we need to ask questions...was Sourav that good as he is being made out to be, or is it the sentimentality of the occasion that gets the better of some of our cricket bloggers. Bengal hasnt produced any sportsman of note in 30 years and here is someone who comes along and plays for India.Its kinda natural for the state to look up to him as a symbol of their presence in the Indian sports pantheon, but look deeper...isnt it an innate insecurity that elevates a regular Indian sportsman to a superhuman status. Karnataka doesnt go gaga over Kumble or Dravid as much because they've had Padukone some years ago...or Vishwanath or Srinath etc. Sourav should've inspired a whole generation of cricketers in Bengal. Has he done that? No, unless u feel Manoj Tiwary is the next Sachin Tendulkar! Thats why I say he's far away from the local cricket idiom!

  • SGBatsForever on November 12, 2008, 0:17 GMT

    Thank you Soumya for a wonderful piece on my favorite sportsman, Saurav C. Ganguly. Sourav Ganguly is one of the finest batsman and greatest captains in the history of the game- his numbers speak for themselves. Thank you Dada for so many inspirational and enjoyable moments over the last decade. We love you for them. As for quicksingle and his moronic comments- Ganguly was not as great a leader as Imran Khan, he was much much greater. Thank you Sourav and all the best wishes for a happy and more successful retirement. I cannot wait to see you in the IPL. God Bless you an yours.

  • chooha1 on November 11, 2008, 22:53 GMT

    Ganguly was an awesome player. Even though I'm a Pakistani supporter, I used to watch Ganguly play beautiful strokes. He has scored more than 11000 runs in tests and over 7000 runs in ODI's. This shows how great he was as a batsman PLUS as a bowler!

  • chooha1 on November 11, 2008, 22:48 GMT

    Well said "bharatM". I totally agree with you. Ganguly was, without any doubt, one of the greatest players India had EVER had! Good Luck with the future DADA!

  • JASH on November 11, 2008, 20:45 GMT

    ganguly was the man .. you all know that he and tendulkar had best opening pair in ODI's .. its not about just bengal if you read carefully the writer is just trying to convey how ganguly had made bengal proud .. that is true he was the most successful captain ever in Indian cricket history .. and the team selectors have ignored him to max extent just because he did bad in series against srilanka .. even sachin and dravid did pretty bad ... anyways i think he made a good decision of retirement

  • Dheerajmaster on November 11, 2008, 18:03 GMT

    Sourav Ganguly is the only good player Bengal have produces. Well Done Dada

  • OnlyT20 on November 11, 2008, 9:28 GMT

    Typical column from a typical "Bhattacharya". Give yourself a break and please dont thrust such nonsense upon the readers. I would love to know the reason behind this column and what it signifies..care to drop me a line?!

  • neel007 on November 11, 2008, 3:27 GMT

    Mr quicksingle probably is too quick and single on his views..without knowing cricket and what Sourav means to the game. i am sure these kind of people either do not follow the game properly or has always has biased attitude towards their own state players...leaving all this as side..because comments like that wont mar the achievements of a legend like Ganguly..

    Sourav is a true legend in his time..he is only one who took the reins of a weak and lamented Indian Cricket team in 2000-2001 and showed what "attitude" and "aggression" means on the field of cricket..which is right now getting reflected in modern Indian Cricket..I wish DADA all the happiness and joy in his life after his retirement..

    we will miss you always..DADA..you were..you are.. and you will be our own DADA...

  • bharatM on November 11, 2008, 2:58 GMT

    Someone called "quicksingle" is smirking at the fact that Ganguly is called a leader of men. I don't know how some people can be so blinded in their bias that they ignore plain simple facts. Ganguly is a GREAT leader! That is an unquestionable fact - from the inspiration he draws from his team mates, and the way he has helped rejuvenate Indian cricket, if nothing else. Plus his charisma! No certificate is needed from any outsider.

    Now whoever questions his quality - here are the facts: 11000 plus runs in One dayers, and 7000 plus run in Tests. These are numbers one doesn't see very often. His class as a batsman wipes out any shortcomings as a fielder. If cricket was only fielding, why, we should seek out 11 players whose only skill is fielding. That is not the case. So, if you can't appreciate, stop raking up dirt. Everyone has shortcomings.

  • SureshIyyapan on November 11, 2008, 2:01 GMT

    Ganguly was a great captain and a great player who has done a lot for India over the years. Actually he has taken the initiative to form a young team when he captained India in 2000. I was really pleased with his comeback where he scored lot of runs for India. That shows he has great determination and talent. He is a key player in Indian test team. Cricket will miss his presence. It would be great if he had scored a century in the final test match. Bye Sourav, it has been a pleasure!!

  • Koushik_Biswas on November 10, 2008, 22:01 GMT

    Not repeating the same praises, here is one about Ganguly that has kind of got lost in the flood: look how he has managed to get a dream farewell. That's stunning when compared to what he had to go through before that. Go back to the day he was dropped form Irani Cup. I bet no creative bloke, on that day, would ever write a fiction or novel imagining the positive coverage he got at the end. Of course he deserves all this, but pulling this off from that situation is just like him. Not all of fab four might get this. But they should. There are some posters here who are voicing their hatred for Ganguly, which is good - people like him paved the way to Ganguly's greatness. Thanks quicksilver for being there - otherwise we would not have experienced the awe-inspiring magnitude of will and grit that Dada showed in overcoming narrow-mindedness and bias. Please always be there as darkness and thorn so that light can shine through, and assure us that good guys always win at the end.

  • tothesummit on November 10, 2008, 20:10 GMT

    Aww give it a break ! The comment by quicksingle is a shocker . Have u ever seen cricket ? Do you know what Captaincy stands for? Do you know what indian cricket was about ? is about ? Ganguly brought that one thing in the indian team that was rarely there - that one spark needed to beat all odss - Killer Instinct !!! He had that and infused the whole team and the country with it . And that is why Ganguly will be india's finest captain ever . And that is why comments like the one from quicksingle are shocking .

  • passionate.indian on November 10, 2008, 19:34 GMT

    sourav ganguly does not need a certificate from people like "quicksingle" ( from the post below)... the crux of the matter is we as indians don't deserve our heroes one bit... we are an utterly shameless and thankless nation when it come to acknowledging our heroes... I mean the way the seniors as a whole and sourav in particular have been targetted relentlessly by an idiotic media and the people in general is so disgusting... who doesn't have faults... but the point is why dont we remember with the same gusto the memorable moments these greats have given us... who can forget that image of sourav in his debut match at lords, his arms held aloft after his century... what joy it gives us even today... and the other irritating factor is the extreme parochial and narrow vision the author of this piece tries to convey... why cant people like him picture these greats as only Indians.. all said and done,Saurav,you were and will always remain a source of inspiration. cant control my tears now.

  • sportsguy on November 10, 2008, 19:01 GMT

    Why is Cricinfo even publishing an article that talks about Ganguly and Bengali??? How loooooooooooooooong before we start recognizing players as Indian playeing for India instead of Bengali being on the team, 4 Karnataka players are in the team, 3 Mumbai players are on the team etc...how looooooooooong? Are we ever going to come out of prior to 1947 mold...divide and rule concept? What is wrong with journalists, columnists and the media? Caste based, party based, language based, region based, state based, gender based...is there anything written or said that is not based on anything?

    You must be thinking why am I saying it here on cricinfo instead of somewhere else? Because, Cricket is what most people in India read than actual news. No one cares if a bomb goes off in Assam and kills 100+ people but people do make a note of reminding everyone where the cricketer is from and actually fight about it in all forums? They even have the time to fight about North or South heros!!

  • CricketCrazy19 on November 10, 2008, 17:47 GMT

    Hey Soumya, it's unfair to say Ganguly was an eastern son. He was born an indian and will die as one. Let the test cricket be departed from the parochialism crap, we've IPL for that. I'm not from Kolakata nor am I a bengali, but I still cheer Gannguly over Dravid or even Laxman for that matter. He was a fearless Indian who brought life into Indian cricket and I strongly support him for that. Also I'd like to offer my criticism for the tone of this article; Never until now I thought dada was more of a bengali than an Indian. But certainly, there's no replacement for dada not from bengal nor from anywhere else in India, he made us all proud. Hope he fares well.. Cheers!!!

  • Mina_Anand on November 10, 2008, 17:42 GMT

    Thanks Rajesh NJ.. Yes, I'm the same mina !

  • quicksingle on November 10, 2008, 17:03 GMT

    its funny to hear ppl say that Ganguly was like Imran! Awww c'mon...!Imran was a leader of men who commanded respect, not Ganguly! Ganguly was a rich, spoilt brat who, because of his connections made the tour of England in 1996, after having being written off for bad attitude in 1991.His rise and fall coincided with Dalmiya, and was lucky to have the captaincy crown thrust upon him when Azza and others were down because of the scandal. He has been an arrogant bloke and a poor role model. I have spoken to Bengalis who despise his attitude, however gifted he may have been as a batsman.

    He was an overrated batsman, a fortuitous captain with no eye for strategic brilliance and a poor fieldsman.He, by his own admission, does not read much cricket literature. Its an indication that he doesnt value learning as much. And here are our parochial Bengali cricket writers going gaga over someone who doesnt typify Bengali cricketer at all, far removed as he always was from the local cricket idiom.

  • Rajesh. on November 10, 2008, 14:48 GMT

    I agree 100% with Mina Anand... And Mina, if you are the same person who had earler written an article on the NDTV website about the Fab Four, I take my hats off to you ! It was such a wonderful article and I loved reading it. It was a perfect reminder of what these great player mean to Indian Cricket. Yes, the Indian Cricketing public's memory is indeed vey short !!

  • Saosin on November 10, 2008, 13:42 GMT

    As an avid Australian supporter, who is absolutely DEVASTATED yet not surprised that India has won the series fairly and squarely, I must say I was saddened to hear that Ganguly is to retire. Even more so the fact he got a first ball duck in his final test. I have no shame in confessing my adoration of, and respect for Ganguly. I enjoyed every minute of his batting (even when it challenged us), and a smoother, better off-side player I've yet to see. His silken elegance was second to none, his eccentricities and idiosyncracies were highly interesting and amusing, and his ability to irk the opposition was astounding. I wish him all the best to be honest. And a quick congratulations to India (yes I know, an Aussie who can admit defeat) on a job well done. And a nice big AXE (in my opinion) to at least Cam White (tried hard, but is not up to it yet) and Brad Haddin (get Tim Paine in). Neither are bad cricketers, yet neither are comfortable at the top. Bye Sourav, it has been a pleasure.

  • sunconfused on November 10, 2008, 12:29 GMT

    um from bangladesh, i was a supporter of pakistan in the early 90's beacuse, they had great cricketers like, waqar, wasim and they were flamboyant. On those days i found indian cricket to be very ordianry, so did not hav much interest. But, after Ganguly came, i started to follow indian cricket and slowly i became the fan of indian cricket. And for last 10 years i am cheering for india, GAnguly is the sole reason behind that. After Imran Khan he is one leader from this sub-continent who has got right tactic and aggression. He completely changed indian cricket. Ganguly's contribution to indian cricket is unignorably high, you indians are lucky to have someone like him born in your nation. HAil to dada... he is a true legend. Cricket will miss his presence.

  • Rishindra on November 10, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    Sorry for being pedantic...but think Ganguly became Captain before Nov 2000, sometime that summer I guess when he was appointed for the ODIs right after the test series against South Africa, and he then led India in the Asia Cup that followed too...Nov 2000 was when he first led India in Tests...but otherwise great article, am a Bengali too and I feel my admiration for the man is less parochial and more to do with his fighting qualities as well...

  • K_Nishant04 on November 10, 2008, 11:37 GMT

    Rising like a phoenix, Dada conquered the world with his exuberance and courage. He was instrumental in prolonging Dravid's one day career by asking him to keep wickets. Like a brave prince, Sourav managed to groom and instill belief in Dhoni, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Kaif, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Samir Dighe, Irfan and even the young Murali Vijay in his last test. He had the guts to introduce foreign coaches which eventually back fired and yet take the administration head on. Sourav lead with fierce grit, emotions and determination and often treated the opposition with their own medicine of mental disintegration.

    Thank you Sourav for being an inspiration to people from all walks of life. You are truly the Barrack Obama of Indian Cricket or is it the other way round! Wishing you success in your future endeavour…

    Nishant Kolgaonkar Mumbai

  • Wests_Tigers on November 10, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Maybe 'Gangles' read your article before going out to bat and got a first-ball duck as a result..

  • Fatimadnan on November 10, 2008, 11:09 GMT

    Apt words for Sourav Ganguly are in this shayari it says. "MERE BAARE ME APNI RAAY KAYAM MAT KARNA MERA WAQT BADAL JAYEGA TO TUMHARI RAAY BADAL JAYEGI..... Thanks DADA

  • Savii on November 10, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    Ganguly was a great player and a great captain and he really brought a class and quality to the Indian team which has remained to this day. I'm not from Bengal either, but I've always been an ardent admirer and fan of Ganguly and it's so sad to see him go. It was so decent of Dhoni to give Dada the captaincy one last time, I was nearly in tears during the last moments. There will never be anyone like Sourav Ganguly. Congrats Dada!

  • Mina_Anand on November 10, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    This refers to masterblaster666 and his 'tribute' to Roebuck. Does he know that Peter Roebuck endorsed Greg Chappell's ousting of Ganguly and wrote thus : "Ganguly should be tossed overboard." Kindly refer to Roebuck's 2005 piece, "Face the Facts" The Hindu. And I quote from that piece:

    "The Indian cricketing community must learn to accept 'hard decisions'.." "…Sooner or later the older man must be tossed overboard, especially when he is a poor fielder with a disdain for training. Forget about emotion. Face the facts…." "…No one need be surprised that the selectors have preferred a younger man with fine prospects. "…India is investing in its future." Link: http://www.hinduonnet.com/2005/12/17/stories/2005121705692200.htm

    The Indian cricketing public's memory is very short !

  • Royy on November 10, 2008, 10:35 GMT

    Contd. from previous two posts

    Must say the author utterly blew away the chance of unraveling the myriad emotions and nuances entwined with Ganguly in the Bengali mind, which would have uplifted the article from a selfcongratulatory rabble to a brilliant insight into the psyche of a great race that felt the need to clutch on to its last straw in the form of a fabulous cricketer!

  • Royy on November 10, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    Contd. from previous post

    Sporting, let alone cricketing, parameters fell decidedly short to encompass the significance of Ganguly to the minds of his people from the very day he appeared in Lord's - every run he scored then and since has been to the Bengalis the forging of a wondrous journey that is inspirational in its ratification of the value of pride, self-belief, and never-say-due attitude in life. At the same time, to the eternally romantic Bengalis, Ganguly's travails and eventual success against perceived regionalism, internal politicking of the BCCI and lastly the unholy triple entente of Chappell, More and Dravid, took surrealist proportions underscoring the trimph of good over evil. Indeed he caught the imagination of the Bengalis like no one did in the modern times.

    Contd.

  • Royy on November 10, 2008, 10:33 GMT

    The title of this article falsely promises to unearth the significance of Ganguly to the Bengalis. Instead, shortly after the first two paragraphs it meanders into abstruse observations about the psyche of Bengal, which may be altogether incorrect, before it finally becomes a mundane litany of the author's personal opinion about Ganguly, during which he strikes a painfully discordant note in trying to convince the reader about his elitist-yet-open-minded station. And yet there is so much to talk about! Ganguly had long ceased to be a "great cricketer" or "test playing son-of-the-soil" to the Bengalis, to whom he is the personification of character, strength, courage - a rejoinder to years and years of perceived deprivation - be it in cricket or elsewhere. He transcended his human form nigh onto an embodiment of hope in despair to most modern Bengalis. Contd.

  • INDIASONLYHOPE on November 10, 2008, 10:22 GMT

    No doubt that Saurav will remain an enignma for the generation of cricketers to come. He is flambyouant and aggressive. It was nice to see that at the end of the Australia's play, Dhoni gave Saurav the charge of the team. This was in no doubt a wonderful gesture from Dhoni. Good Luck Saurav, we know what you have done for the country, you have made us proud on several occasions. But yes I feel still excited since the Maharaj is yet to finish and I will be waiting to see those off-side drives and those huge sixes during the coming IPL.

  • rpamd on November 10, 2008, 10:22 GMT

    Yes, I will always remember Sourav as a tiger who looked the aussies straight in the eye and did not display the usual Indian meakness ( or weakness?). Remember those concluding ceremonies at the end of Steve Waughs team to India?

  • batsman_keeper on November 10, 2008, 9:56 GMT

    I thought the writing insightful and deliciously ironic. It redeemed Ganguly by recalling the truth of his captaincy - the embrace of contemporary aggression --- as an aesthetic subject.

  • Rummer on November 10, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    The feeling that I will never see his on the cricket field pinches my somewhere deep down.I cant really agree more to this

    "Indian captains were supposed to be polite, stoic, decent, not overly, demonstrably ambitious, middle class in sensibility if not lineage. Ganguly changed all that."

    He is the one who wore the Indian-ness proud on his sleeve...Godd I lovv him....he is just a pride for the entire nation...forget about Bengal.

    PS: I am not from Bengal... a proud-emotional Indian fan.

  • emailmkarthik on November 10, 2008, 9:24 GMT

    Yeah. emotional indeed. Ganguly, even though from bengal, is a national hero. We are going to miss him and his cover drives.

  • quicksingle on November 10, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    Soumya is an unabashed admirer of Ganguly; and in the process he forgets the negatives of Ganguly which are far more than the positives. Sorry but wasnt he responsible for the scrap with Greg Chappell which almost ruined Indian cricket, and also ruined the Australian coach's plans for Indian cricket as ppl got after him after that.Lets not forget that he's been responsible for India copping maximum no. of fines on offences under his leadership.many would be happy to see Dada go, as he has been a divisive influence in the dressing room.Yuvraj,bhajji and zaheer have been hotheads nurtured under his tutelage.he always set poor leadership examples by not working hard on fitness despite being aware of his limitations. The way he conducted himself by keeping Waugh waiting for the toss was abominable.Ever heard of Indian captains committing such offences?Sunny,Bedi,Ajit etc were great captains who led from the front and also conducted themselves well.They didnt need to misbehave,unlike Dada!

  • ajaydesai on November 10, 2008, 9:03 GMT

    Dada was best captain India ever had. He was only captain who had killer instinct. He was treated unfairly by selectors but he proved them wrong. These selectors are habit of exercising favoritism and Dada was victim. Dada has still lot of cricket left in him ,but anyway he has decided to retire. He will be remembered as best captain India ever had.

  • ali_bukhari on November 10, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    I don't understand why Indian Cricket made Ganguly such stressed figure in the past few years. He really didn't deserved that. He was the best Indian batsman from 95-05 specially in the ODI circuit. How did the Indian forgot his contributions to Indian cricket especially in ODI. Instead he was dropped from the ODI side despite string of good performance after being dropped. I still thought he can play ODI's for 2 mote years. I always remember the Gang-Tend opening partnerships that really belted the top side all around the world. I will surely miss Ganguly ...

  • rajiv_kharagpur on November 10, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    To be honest and above all the communal conflicts, i feel proud to confess my tribute to the greatest inspiration from Bengal in the post independence era...Saurav Ganguly. The name that creates sparks in the artery and veins of all people from Bengal not only for his cricketing calibre or his fighting spirit, but above all for his ability to regenerate the pristine glory of Bengal.May be he has made lot of records and has broken lot of records but Saurav Ganguly will be remembered by the people of Bengal for being the greatest inspiration for all kind of people and for all layers of society in the post independence era.. Ganguly has been rekindling the "Selfconfidence" among the Bengalis for the last two decades in every corners of this planet.He has been the last man standing from bengal to unite the whole India above all the provincial conflicts after the great Subhash Chandra Bose 70 years back.We will loose our daily Oxyzened-inspiration from you DADA....!!!!

  • Thewinners on November 10, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    Ganguly, we will always miss you on field. Thank you for all that you have given to us all these years. Hope to see you in IPL for a while. Every great one quits in a way that leaves some dissatisfaction in us (like we all would have wanted him to play for some more time for the form he is in, like we all would have wanted Bradman to reach the average of 100), but this dissatisfaction is also(apart from the other nice memories) what hooks us to them even further and makes us remember them more.

  • BHARATLIFE on November 10, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    If Peter Roebuck artfully potrayed "complete" Ganguly,Soumya has skillfully potrayed "great" Ganguly.But this by no means is a article of a partisan.And the delighted is how skillfully describes the emotions of Bengali's.This article is a complete eye pleaser,colorful vocabulary ,brilliant description oh yes Ganguly deserves this, every bit of it,he brilliantly describes why we adore Ganguly.This is just the kind of article one player of such magnitude deserves,especially on his "swansong", instead of blah blah Greg Chappel,short pitch,well could you tell me an obituary where a departed soul has been talked negatively about?? Completly irrational.As human beings we all can take a leaf out of Ganguly's book especially after his stunning comeback in 2006,i think we could use this model in our daily lives,and i think he deserves Phd in "Elevation from Nadir to Zenith".Thanks to Soumya and thank you DADA.

  • drinksbreak on November 10, 2008, 6:42 GMT

    Sorry for moving away from the subject, but Soumya, perhaps you should write your stories when you are awake. The coherency and flow of this article is, speaking as a professional editor, appalling. You may think it is poetic and eloquent and heartfelt - which I concede it very occasionally is - but for the most part it is plain fatiguing: overwritten, indulgent and verbose, with some shocking sentence construction for the edtor of a national newspaper. You could have said twice as much, twice as well, in half the length.

  • mukesh.hrm on November 10, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    i am a keen admirer of Dada since he started leading the indian team.he impressed everybody by the leadership qualities he had and the innovative approaches we indians tend not to implement.The great comeback would always be there in our sweet memories.And i personally believe that the tiger isnt going to take rest,rather he would emerge in a new role pretty soon...may be as a coach..we all wish him all the best and i would say from the core of my heart--------Dada....we would miss u a lot....

  • masterblaster666 on November 10, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    I have to agree with Cricket-err. I wouldn't say that the problem is to do with writing too high brow - god forbid if this article was supposed to be too high brow for readers!! - , rather I think you have tried to cover too much ground. You speak of your own admiration for Sourav, Bengal's relationship with Sourav, Sourav's contribution as skip and the refrain of unfulfilled potential as a batsman. It would have been better to focus on one aspect and explore it in more detail. I am afraid Roebuck has set a hard example to follow for all Ganguly tributes to come, Mr.Bhattacharya. :D

  • jin4cric on November 10, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    Didn't realize till the very last sentence that Soumya is actually a male.The language also caused me to think otherwise.Yes,what a great player.You have to credit him for getting rid of that wimpish attitude that Indian teams of the past had.Really?The upper circles don't think that high of Ganguly?That's stupid.

  • jimbond on November 10, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    This may strike a few discordant notes with Dada's fans. I have been a big fan of Dada but have always been disturbed by one fatal flaw- which like an Aristotelian hero, has prevented him from being where he could have been. Great leader and supremely talented batsman, but apparently not so hard working. When bowlers unearthed his susceptibility to the short ball, and limited his range outside the off stump, he never changed his game. And he missed the chance to be India's greatest allrounder since Kapil Dev, by ignoring his god-given talents of moving the ball at a reasonable pace. In the days when he was captain, he was trying to give balance to the team by doubling Dravid as wicketkeeper, instead of himself working hard on being an allrounder. As a result, we would always remember his name after the names on the top like Sachin, Dravid, Gavaskar, Merchant, Kapil, Anil, Bedi, Sehwag, Azhar, Laxman- when he justifibly belonged at the top himself.

  • Dadagiri2011 on November 10, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Hi Soumya,

    You have hit the nail on the head when you say that people are parochial. Yes, we all are Indians and would love to see India win. But when it comes to home town boys each and every one will be selfish. But, returning back to Ganguly, I am not from Kolkatta, but very far from it down South in Kerala and am a great great fan of Ganguly. I even went to the extend of not watching cricket when he was ousted from the team due to the Chappel episode. I admire him to the hilt. He is human and has negative traits as well. but his story can be a case study for every one on how one could achieve things as a leader if you have the right attitude. How to galavazie people to achieve great things and motivate them. But his story also tells us that one should not be complacent and take their successfor granted, not shy away from effort when one sense that their performance is not upto the mark. He needed a wrap on the knuckle to make him understand and he came back.and what a come back!

  • Cricket-err on November 10, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    Hello Soumya

    I appreciate your article on Saurav Ganguly. I do admire his skills and potential to galvanize the Indian cricket. This comment has nothing to do with Saurav Ganguly, but about my experience while reading the article of yours. It certainly demonstrates immaculate vocabulary and use of fine adjectives. But as a reader my personal opinion is that the article should be such, that the reader can read and understand in flow. I should not be going back in a sentence to re-read it to make the whole meaning. The construct of the statement is little long too. Pl use this as a constructive feedback. Apologies for troubling. Thanks

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  • Cricket-err on November 10, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    Hello Soumya

    I appreciate your article on Saurav Ganguly. I do admire his skills and potential to galvanize the Indian cricket. This comment has nothing to do with Saurav Ganguly, but about my experience while reading the article of yours. It certainly demonstrates immaculate vocabulary and use of fine adjectives. But as a reader my personal opinion is that the article should be such, that the reader can read and understand in flow. I should not be going back in a sentence to re-read it to make the whole meaning. The construct of the statement is little long too. Pl use this as a constructive feedback. Apologies for troubling. Thanks

  • Dadagiri2011 on November 10, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Hi Soumya,

    You have hit the nail on the head when you say that people are parochial. Yes, we all are Indians and would love to see India win. But when it comes to home town boys each and every one will be selfish. But, returning back to Ganguly, I am not from Kolkatta, but very far from it down South in Kerala and am a great great fan of Ganguly. I even went to the extend of not watching cricket when he was ousted from the team due to the Chappel episode. I admire him to the hilt. He is human and has negative traits as well. but his story can be a case study for every one on how one could achieve things as a leader if you have the right attitude. How to galavazie people to achieve great things and motivate them. But his story also tells us that one should not be complacent and take their successfor granted, not shy away from effort when one sense that their performance is not upto the mark. He needed a wrap on the knuckle to make him understand and he came back.and what a come back!

  • jimbond on November 10, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    This may strike a few discordant notes with Dada's fans. I have been a big fan of Dada but have always been disturbed by one fatal flaw- which like an Aristotelian hero, has prevented him from being where he could have been. Great leader and supremely talented batsman, but apparently not so hard working. When bowlers unearthed his susceptibility to the short ball, and limited his range outside the off stump, he never changed his game. And he missed the chance to be India's greatest allrounder since Kapil Dev, by ignoring his god-given talents of moving the ball at a reasonable pace. In the days when he was captain, he was trying to give balance to the team by doubling Dravid as wicketkeeper, instead of himself working hard on being an allrounder. As a result, we would always remember his name after the names on the top like Sachin, Dravid, Gavaskar, Merchant, Kapil, Anil, Bedi, Sehwag, Azhar, Laxman- when he justifibly belonged at the top himself.

  • jin4cric on November 10, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    Didn't realize till the very last sentence that Soumya is actually a male.The language also caused me to think otherwise.Yes,what a great player.You have to credit him for getting rid of that wimpish attitude that Indian teams of the past had.Really?The upper circles don't think that high of Ganguly?That's stupid.

  • masterblaster666 on November 10, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    I have to agree with Cricket-err. I wouldn't say that the problem is to do with writing too high brow - god forbid if this article was supposed to be too high brow for readers!! - , rather I think you have tried to cover too much ground. You speak of your own admiration for Sourav, Bengal's relationship with Sourav, Sourav's contribution as skip and the refrain of unfulfilled potential as a batsman. It would have been better to focus on one aspect and explore it in more detail. I am afraid Roebuck has set a hard example to follow for all Ganguly tributes to come, Mr.Bhattacharya. :D

  • mukesh.hrm on November 10, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    i am a keen admirer of Dada since he started leading the indian team.he impressed everybody by the leadership qualities he had and the innovative approaches we indians tend not to implement.The great comeback would always be there in our sweet memories.And i personally believe that the tiger isnt going to take rest,rather he would emerge in a new role pretty soon...may be as a coach..we all wish him all the best and i would say from the core of my heart--------Dada....we would miss u a lot....

  • drinksbreak on November 10, 2008, 6:42 GMT

    Sorry for moving away from the subject, but Soumya, perhaps you should write your stories when you are awake. The coherency and flow of this article is, speaking as a professional editor, appalling. You may think it is poetic and eloquent and heartfelt - which I concede it very occasionally is - but for the most part it is plain fatiguing: overwritten, indulgent and verbose, with some shocking sentence construction for the edtor of a national newspaper. You could have said twice as much, twice as well, in half the length.

  • BHARATLIFE on November 10, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    If Peter Roebuck artfully potrayed "complete" Ganguly,Soumya has skillfully potrayed "great" Ganguly.But this by no means is a article of a partisan.And the delighted is how skillfully describes the emotions of Bengali's.This article is a complete eye pleaser,colorful vocabulary ,brilliant description oh yes Ganguly deserves this, every bit of it,he brilliantly describes why we adore Ganguly.This is just the kind of article one player of such magnitude deserves,especially on his "swansong", instead of blah blah Greg Chappel,short pitch,well could you tell me an obituary where a departed soul has been talked negatively about?? Completly irrational.As human beings we all can take a leaf out of Ganguly's book especially after his stunning comeback in 2006,i think we could use this model in our daily lives,and i think he deserves Phd in "Elevation from Nadir to Zenith".Thanks to Soumya and thank you DADA.

  • Thewinners on November 10, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    Ganguly, we will always miss you on field. Thank you for all that you have given to us all these years. Hope to see you in IPL for a while. Every great one quits in a way that leaves some dissatisfaction in us (like we all would have wanted him to play for some more time for the form he is in, like we all would have wanted Bradman to reach the average of 100), but this dissatisfaction is also(apart from the other nice memories) what hooks us to them even further and makes us remember them more.

  • rajiv_kharagpur on November 10, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    To be honest and above all the communal conflicts, i feel proud to confess my tribute to the greatest inspiration from Bengal in the post independence era...Saurav Ganguly. The name that creates sparks in the artery and veins of all people from Bengal not only for his cricketing calibre or his fighting spirit, but above all for his ability to regenerate the pristine glory of Bengal.May be he has made lot of records and has broken lot of records but Saurav Ganguly will be remembered by the people of Bengal for being the greatest inspiration for all kind of people and for all layers of society in the post independence era.. Ganguly has been rekindling the "Selfconfidence" among the Bengalis for the last two decades in every corners of this planet.He has been the last man standing from bengal to unite the whole India above all the provincial conflicts after the great Subhash Chandra Bose 70 years back.We will loose our daily Oxyzened-inspiration from you DADA....!!!!