The Indian Cricket Team is going to miss its Bengal Tiger. Sourav Ganguly will no longer represent India on the international front, but Dada has left behind him a legacy of inimitable success, unchaseable runs, and a never-say-die attitude.
Ganguly made his debut in 1992, but was included permanently in the team only in 1996. He was crowned as the captain of the Indian team in the year 2000. With his will-power and motivating spirit, he is credited for fostering the younger generation of cricketers under his captaincy. Yuvraj Singh, Virendra Sehwag, Mohammed Kaif etc., found sufficient grounds to exhibit their talents to the world because of their captain’s faith in them.
Ganguly received the Padma Shree award in 2004. He has also won the Arjuna award and the title of the Wisden Cricketer of the year. He is generally seen to be reserved and quiet. His unapproachable facade makes people consider him to be haughty. He encountered much flak in his stint in the county cricket, where the media accused him of being ‘Lord snooty’.
However, for all the Indian cricket fans, he still remains the man who occupies only the second place to Kapil Dev. He is the leader who inspired Team India to face the Australians in the finals of the 2003 World Cup.
The year 2002. The Natwest trophy at the Lord’s in England. India wins the match and an aggressive Ganguly takes off his shirt and waves it in the air as a victorious stamp. It did raise some eye-brows, but it is one of his most memorable videos for his fans.
Controversies have always been a part and parcel of the cricketing genius’s life. His tiff with the former coach Greg Chappell was made to be a public spectacle. His personal life seemed to be on the rocks when he was linked with Nagma, a former Bollywood star.
Do you remember the Pepsi advertisement featuring Dada, when he had been dropped off the squad in 2005? A bat in his hand, sitting in an empty stadium, he talks about himself practising hard to come back in the team. He had been written-off completely. Some said that Sourav had now lost his energy and some blamed his captaincy for over-burdening him. People thought that he was finished.
To everyone’s amazement, Ganguly made a comeback and really, what a come back it was! He scored 51 runs in his test come back and 98 in the ODI one.
Today he has bid farewell to a flourishing career, but he has eleven thousand ODI runs to his credit. He is also the captain of the most popular IPL team owned by Shah Rukh Khan, the Kolkata Knight Riders. There is still more to come and his fans are waiting with bated breaths for yet another extra-ordinary innings by him.
The tiger is still roaring to go. As he himself says, it is a “new beginning for him”.