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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Thank you 4 d memories...

Sourav Ganguly is on his last lap...arguably India's best ODI player, definitely it's most successful captain and probably the greatest player on the off side ever...Sourav will say his final hurrah in the upcoming home series against the Oz. Fittingly so too, coz it's the Aussies against whom Sourav has had the most memorable of his battles...right from that amazing series in 2001 to that keenly contested one in 2004...from the 2003 World Cup Finale to the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy quarter final...it's India vs Australia which has been the marquee series in world cricket in the last decade and Sourav has had a lot to do with it becoming so.

12 years of international cricket and if there was one word which would aptly describe Sourav, the cricketer it would be "fighter"...a born fighter is what he has shown himself to be...right from coming back from the dead in 1996 after a horrendous start in 1991 to his rising back from the ashes last season after his unsavory dumping from the team in the Chapell era...Sourav has always known how to fight, silence his baiters and see the pinnacle of success.

When the history of Indian cricket is being penned down Sourav Ganguly will be remembered as undoubtedly it's finest left handed batsman...there was none who could better his drives through the off side which was famously testified to by Rahul Dravid's statement "there's God on the off side and then there is Sourav". There was a time in the period of 1998-2001 when Sourav was undoubtedly India's best ODI player...even surpassing the titanic Tendulkar in terms of match winning performances...that was the time when Sourav even surpassed Sachin in scoring centuries...22 is what he finished with but that number would have definitely been significantly higher had Sourav, displaying team-b4-self attitude, not demoted himself down the order to accomodate the advent of Sehwag...as far as test matches go Sourav will be remembered for his successive centuries in his first two tests in England, the amazing 144 @ Brisbane which is widely regarded as the innings which set up India's dominance of that series and of course his faultless double century knock against arch rivals Pakistan last year.

However...probably even greater an effect, than all these achievements, on Indian cricket was caused by his captaincy. Sourav Ganguly will always be the man who taught India to win...this is not to say that we did not win matches b4 2000...but Sourav brought about that dynamism, that killer instinct, that toe to toe vying for every inch mentality among the players...Sourav will always be the man who created Team India, not only by unearthing scintillating talent of the like of Yuvraj, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Sehwag, Dhoni n Pathan but by honing their raw talents, nurturing them through their passage towards greatness and by instilling the winning mentality in their nerves.

The amazing team man that Sourav is, even in his final farewell he put the team before himself...by announcing his retirement on the eve of this high stakes series he has provided his team another very good reason to win this series and send him out on a high...it was probably because precisely this quality of his was questioned by Chapell that hurt Sourav so much, it was a mark on his credibilty, for someone who always followed the "team b4 self" mantra such an accusation was the darkest blot that any could ever try to tarnish his image with and it was definitely that which fired up his senses to fashion that phoenix like rising from the ashes comeback...a comeback in which he went on to be named as the Asian Cricketer of The Year...nothing was a more fitting reply to his critics than that award, there was not a more resounding slap to their ears than that effortless pulled six off Ntini in his comeback inning.

A glorious career it has been and this will be the swansong of that career...by doing what he has done Sourav, even in his exit, has defied the norm...he's going out on his own terms, he has chosen to exit when many are still asking "WHY" rather than "WHY NOT".

12 long years and it's been filled with memories...memories of triumph, glory, ecstasy and agony!!!
There are memories of those two centuries on English soil...of that glorious 144 @ Brisbane...that match winning 98* @ Kandy on rank turner against Murali n co, that chanceless double century against Pakistan and that gritty century on a minefield against Pakistan as well.
There are memories of that scintillating 183* @ Taunton...of that 5 wicket match winning haul in Canada...that timely century in the finale @ Dhaka...those back to back centuries against Australia n South Africa in the quarter and semi finals of ICC Champions Trophy @ Nairobi...that 252 run opening stand with Sachin.
When I think of Sourav...I think of those glorious off drives...I think off that dancing down the wicket and lifting the ball for a six...I think of that yorker from Cairns which you impossibly despatched for a six...I think of that mauling you gace to Giles in the dark...I think of you recklessly charging down to Shoaib and piercing an off drive through a 6 man packed off side.
The image of you waving your shirt on the Lord's balcony will be forever etched in minds of cricket followers...your infamous tiffs with Steve Waugh have become part of cricketing folklore.
There are many memories that you have provided us with...the next 4 matches will add to the collage...hope you have a glorious swansong...it's the least that you deserve.

Thank you for the memories, Dada!!!



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14 eulogies: on "Thank you 4 d memories..."

¢яŷştąŁ said...

I hope he does really well in ths tournament.

Aur btw,graveyard ka scene kyo laga rakha hai?

(I sense somethin' wrong,dost..kya hua?)

Akshaya Kamalnath said...

Always been a huge dada fan..right from the pencil mustache days! enjoyed the easy sixes and partnership breaking wickets. His captaincy was unique - team huddles, banana for Nehra after a hatrick, biting his nails, etc. Most of all love his spirit...hes been one spunky guy never afraid to say/do anything he wants to. Even now he frankly said he never expected to be picked. I'm sure cricket without him will be much less entertaining.

comfortably numb said...

@aayushi
me hope so too
graveyard ka pic to bahut din se hi hai...kuch wrong nahi hai
just goes with d name of d blog "sepulchre"

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