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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Sourav deserves laudable farewell

Sourav deserves laudable farewell

December 20, 2005 20:15 IST

If I remember right, those were the days when the die-hard fans of the sub-continent were yearning for fresh air, digesting their team's appalling show in the World Cup semifinal. The need for fresh blood in the team that was ostensibly dying seemed inevitable.

Selection committee naming Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid as young debutants for the England tour seemed no surprise.

I fear that anyone then had the faintest idea that these rookies are going to change the face of Indian cricket forever.

Sourav announced his arrival in a stupendous manner. His elegant groundstrokes on the lush green English outfields were pleasure to watch.

An astounding century on debut that too when the team needed it the most, no surprise that he took the headlines of most journals in the following days.

He carried on his form in the second Test with another brilliant century alongside the Little Master, but never was overshadowed.

By now Azharuddin's record of three consecutive centuries on debut had come under threat.

Down here at home, first time ever people were witnessing the emergence of Team India; of course till then it was just a One Man Team.

Sourav - A prodigious talent gifted with natural timing and invincible technique allured the entire cricket community. Some people do remember seeing him in early 90s but for a very brief time and not a memorable one too.

In the following seasons, he amassed runs with sheer elegance and on the way tumbling few records.

No one could either possibly undermine his bowling prowess as he established himself as an all-rounder. He usually chipped in with decent pace and bounce, while on bowler-friendly tracks he was lethal.

In late 90s when he begun to open the innings with Sachin, turned to be the best phase of his batting career and the pair dominated the limited version of the game for a long time to come.

Sourav's aggression coupled with prolific technique and smart moves startled even the best bowlers in the game. Arguably one of the best players of left-arm spin, his massive hits carrying the red cherry outside the park was a bowler's nightmare.

He was especially lethal in the shorter version of the game which best suited his cricketing style. His unmatched brilliance in one-day cricket earned him the crown – "Prince of Kolkata".

The turn of the millennium seemed to turn on his fortunes as well, when he took over the captaincy. The team was in complete disarray and needed a serious overhauling.

Ganguly with his innate leadership abilities developed a young, dynamic team. The faith and motivation he provided to young talents showed off well through the emergence of Yuvraj, Bhajji, Zaheer and kaif.

His man-management abilities both on and off the ground were duly appreciable. The team and nation referred to him as DADA (which means Big Brother, in Bengali language).

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Sourav was known for his impregnable attitude. No one could ever forget his impetuous outbursts on winning the Natwest series in England, which any Indian could be proud of.

The series successes against the unassailable Australians both in and out of home, taking India to World Cup finals, historic series victories against their arch-rivals - Pakistan all adds glitter to his crown.

He had to traverse through an arduous epoch to achieve the status of the nation's most successful Test captain.

Recently, Ganguly has drawn a lot of media and in fact the entire nation's attention. This time not for the good reasons it used to be. He has been criticized for his lack of commitment to the game and the team following the atrocious spat he had with the new coach, Greg Chappell.

His prolonged batting slump and team's dismal performance have cost him the captaincy. Now being dropped from ODI and Test team, his cricketing career seems to be doomed with emergence of dazzling young talents across the country.

His strenuous body, mind and age don't seem to help the cause. 

This unyielding warrior has entertained the entire nation time and again throughout his cricketing life. His heroics over the years have driven crazy - the young cricket lovers.

He, apparently reaching the end of his cricketing journey, deserves a much laudable farewell; for once he has admirably carried the entire nation's passion.

Logesh C