Monday, November 10, 2008

Last day at the office for the leader

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Nagpur 10 November 2008 might be an ordinary day for most people around but for Indian cricket fans it will be the last day at the office for their most respected leader. Sourav Ganguly hung up his boots in a Don Bradman like
fashion scoring a duck in his last test match. The man who always led from the front and was never shy of looking at the eyes of the opposition ended his glorious journey here.

In contemporary cricket perhaps nobody else's career is worth a better movie script than Sourav's. The ups and the down, the controversies and the criticisms, the dropping and the comebacks, Dada has seen it all. Too many armchair experts have regularly handed out sentence to his career time and again. The real pundits of the game admire and envy Ganguly's contribution to Indian cricket. Dada brought in the new aggressive face to Indian cricket and created the Ganguly school of cricket.

The modern Indian cricket can be divided into two eras the pre Ganguly captaincy era and the Ganguly captaincy era and after that. In the former phase Indian team were the greatest ambassadors of the game and too much of a gentleman in a game which had considerably roughed up. Dada turned around the tide and made sure Indians were of the same metal as anyone else. Under Ganguly we learnt winning abroad and not just on the desert like dusty Indian tracks.

His critics argued that Sourav Ganguly will not retire and like to play for ever but he proved them wrong by becoming the first senior to seek retirement. Ganguly is a true example of determination, self belief and hard work. A man who turned the odds when pushed to the wall and believed in himself when no one else did. The comeback that he made in South Africa is the best in the history of Indian cricket and perhaps one of the best in international cricket too.

The biggest legacy the Dada leaves behind are the Virender Sehwags, Zaheer Khans, Yuvraj Singhs and the Harbhajan Singhs. He created champions by backing them and often fighting for them against the super intelligent selectors. The respect that he commanded from these guys was a testimony to his leadership qualities. MS Dhoni's handing over the leadership to Ganguly in the last part of the Nagpur test match was a tribute to the man who taught India the art of captaincy.

The journey has ended and those glorious sixes will never be seen again. His fans will miss the waving of his shirt at Lords. The heavens will wave a sigh of relief as the man who has been the lord of the off side finally rests his bat. The fan in me would never have wanted this series to end but finally it does and in a very glorious 2-0 win for India against the mighty. Thanks a lot Dada you have given us millions of reasons to smile. You retire from the cricket field not from our hearts.


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