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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Return of a Hero

More than eleven years ago in the middle of an English summer a gritty youngster took the field at Lord’s when the chips were down for his country. Batting with sublime poise at the grandest of stages that the game of cricket can offer to both players and spectators alike he scored a chanceless century braided with rare class. A repeat performance in the next test under conditions considered hostile to batsmen bred on docile dust-bowls in the sub-continent and the message was loud and clear. The message was,

I have arrived.”

The very arrogance of that arrival never waned in a career which saw eleven eventful summers and is still to go some distance before coming to a natural halt, a graceful goodbye.

Sourav Chandidas Ganguly brought to Indian cricket a raw ruthlessness and an inspirational zeal hitherto unknown in these circles and galvanized a team into a formidable fighting unit. A captain known to possess an uncanny knack of spotting talent and nurturing them to the road to success, half of the present Indian team owes him his timely patronage and support. From Zaheer Khan to Harbhajan Singh, from Yuvraj Singh to Irfan Pathan every one was hand-picked during his regime. Not only did his tenure at the helm of affairs promote the blooding of ‘today’s stars’ it also lent a nonpartisan character to the much maligned ‘regional lobby’-culture which plagued Indian cricket from its inception. “Perform or Perish” was his mantra and in no time we were dreaming of new heroes emerging on the firmament of cricketing glory. The most successful captain of India, he was ousted amidst drama in the most preposterously unceremonious manner as a fallout of a bitter battle with the then-coach Greg Chappel.

We do not know to honor our heroes and it is not a tradition, here in India, to give ceremonial farewells to fatigued crusaders of past laurels. As a people inured to a system where power is preserved like private property and only parted with at death we did not even bother to issue an apology that was required of us in the wake of such crass injustice. Politics of the filthiest parochial order was unleashed and 'a leader' was made to wait on the sidelines for what seemed like an eternity to the lovers of the game.

But, time had its say. Tables turned in a manner only known to wheels in animated motion and Sourav was re-inducted into the team. What looked like an ‘impossibility’ going by the vituperative comments issued by cricketing microbes hanging onto power (like Kiran More, the then chief-of-selection-committee) were proven wrong and a rightful path to resurrection was paved for a Fallen Hero. What ensued is there for everyone to see. The cricketing field has turned to be a happy-hunting-ground for the indefatigable ‘Dada’ as he continues relishing the exploits of a ‘deep purple patch’ walking into the twilight of his long illustrious career.

Sourav Ganguly has regained his seat of eminence in cricketing discussions and this time not due to uncalled for controversies but, because of the murderous feats of his tireless willow.

Taking the field for his 100th Test match he has today become only the seventh Indian ever to attain this honor. And what better place than the MCG on the day of the Boxing-day test match.

I wish him luck in his imperious march to more conquests on the cricket field.



Anonymous said...

Indian batsmen may find the pitches of Australia a bit too hot to handle but the MCG test surely has a very special importance for one Indian batsman....Sourav Ganguly or more famously known as Dada will play his 100th test match over here !!..Starting his career at Lords with a century ,our Dada was in business right from the start of his illustrous career ..His opening partnership with Sachin will go down the annals of cricket as a legend..Then came a chance to lead the team..The robe of captaincy fitted him like a second skin...Under him, the Indian team finally turned into a fearless aggressive unit that finally brought the Australian winning chariot to a staggering halt..Even the great Steve Waugh was left clueless. Under ,youngsters like Yuvraj and Zaheer burst into the arena and the team qualified for the World Cup finals only for the second time in its long cricketing history..Then came the ugly spat with Greg Chapell and some key members of the selection committee...The once hero of Indian team was left out of contention for more than a year...But this only fuelled the fire in him..With last years South Africa tour and recently concluded Pakistan series (where he got double ton) our Dada has truely risen from the ashes like the Phoenix....He may or may not scare the daylights out of the Aussies but he will always remain the Bengal tiger , the hero of any cricketing aficionado ,fearless and intrepid as ever....Wishig our Dada all the best for his 100th test !!!!!!!!

Anirban Sen

ArSENik said...

The very name Sourav Ganguly brings to my mind adjectives like gritty and persistent. It is true that I have doubted his batting prowess during the troughs of his career, but I will not deny that he has also held my admiring attention when on song and creaming boundaries through the offside.

I also feel that he is one of the best captains, read leaders, to have ever played the game. Now that he is back to his best with the willow and may even have surpassed previous achievements, I feel a reassured since somewhere along the rocky road, 'Dada' has come to become my Dada.