With no one bidding for Sourav Ganguly in the IPL players' auction on Saturday, the former India captain should call it quits rather than losing his self-esteem in public eye, feels a disappointed Debu Mitra, who had coached the left-hander during his formative years.
Talking to PTI from Rajkot, the Saurashtra coach said Ganguly should take a cue from Anil Kumble and get into cricket administration for the betterment of the sport.
"We can't take cricket away from him. For a great cricketer like him, the sport will always be associated with him. But everybody has to quit at some point of time. It's better to quit rather than losing one's self-respect.
"Undoubtedly, Ganguly is the most successful Indian captain, who led the side for eight years. Moreover, he built the Indian side, the fruit of which we are enjoying now," he said referring to India's numero uno status in Test cricket now.
"It's very, very sad to hear that no franchisee including Kolkata Knight Riders bid for him. It will be better for him if he does something like Kumble...
"If he is offered to be the mentor of a side, then it will be better for everybody, for every cricket fans. Everybody will feel good."
In the same vein, the 62-year-old, who taught the basics to Ganguly during his initial years, argued that if Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid can play, then the Bengal stalwart might as well do the same.
"The 'Big Three' are almost of the same age group and they are at the same level... But everybody knows what has happened with Ganguly. If they can play, why can't Ganguly?
"It's hard to imagine how bad I felt today after hearing the news of the auction. But going by the rules, he still can be part of IPL IV. Let's see what happens," Mitra said.
Asked whether this was the end of Ganguly's cricketing career, Mitra said: "He is a great cricketer. Who am I to speak on that? Nobody can say about the end. Everybody knows how determined he is...."
As a matter of fact, Ganguly led from the front and top-scored for KKR in IPL III with 493 runs in 14 matches at 37.92 with a strike rate of 117.66. He was also the 4th highest run-getter in IPL last year. But the KKR think-tank thought otherwise as they chose not to retain the Kolkata ace. Ganguly, who had increased his base price to $400,000, was of no use as he found no takers at the IPL players' auction in Bangalore on Sunday. Without the iconic Ganguly, Kolkata Knight Riders will lose its fan-following, felt Mitra.
"Kolkata Knight Riders will not be the same without Ganguly. It will lose its public craze and lose the public sentiments," he said.