Indian cricket’s Dada, Sourav Ganguly finally bade farewell to all competitive cricket, at the age of 40. The good thing about Ganguly is that he timed all his exits very well.
The Master of the off-drive once again got his timing right.
Sourav Ganguly finally bade farewell to all competitive cricket, at the age of 40.
The good thing about Ganguly is that he timed his exits very well. He quit Test cricket at 36 with his cricketing powers still good. He did not wait to be to be shown the door.
And Ganguly knows best. He had to wait nearly four years after his first international match, where he scored just three against the West Indies, before earning a recall.
This always rankled with him. He was supposedly dropped for being ‘arrogant and aloof’.
That was a reputation which he carried right from his school playing days. Coming from an affluent background, Ganguly had an air about him.
But this attitude helped to add a new dimension to India cricket. Ganguly played an important role in changing the attitude of Indian cricketers.
India were always taken for granted by many of the teams because of their timid behaviour. The humbleness of cricketers were often exploited by sledging and abuse.
After taking over as captain, Ganguly instilled aggression in his players. Thankfully he had a bunch of youngsters who willingly adopted the no-nonsense attitude.
India were playing better under him and they wanted to show their toughness.
The purists and the media frowned on him. His shirt waving incident in England after the team clinched the Natwest Trophy in 2002.
But what Ganguly did was to repeat what England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff did in India. Once again it was partiality on part of the critics to single out Ganguly. Indian cricket had had enough.
The aggro reflected on the performances. India were becoming a force to reckon with.
He often got into hot water with the authorities. His constant battles with former coach Greg Chappell are well-documented.
But nothing can take away Ganguly’s contribution as one of India’s most successful captain and batsman.
His 7212 runs in 113 Tests at average 42.17 and and 11363 41,02 runs in 311 one-dayers bear testimony to his prowess as a batsman.
Inspired by David Gower, Ganguly had the same grace as the England batsman. His off-side drives were a joy to behold and he often pierced gap with precision.
Ganguly had his ups and downs in Test cricket but he always came back strongly.
Just before his retirement in 2008, Ganguly struck a rich vein of form, particulary in 2007.
His early Test career was marked by a weakness against the short ball which exploited by the opposition. But he worked on it and towards the end of career had got over it.
But one-day cricket was his forte. He formed a great opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar and both put up some exciting and fast scoring partnerships.
Ganguly always destroyed spinners in the one-dayers. He would often dance down the pitch and hit the ball straight for sixes.
He wasn’t among the best judge of a run and was somewhat of a specialist in run outs.
Ganguly wasn’t renowned for his athleticism either.
That aside, his skills extended to decent slow medium bowling which were useful on many occasions. He was also a good catcher.
Ganguly has now become a TV commentator and a good one at that.
So where does Ganguly stand in terms of Indian cricket? His batting certainly contributed in India climbing up the cricket rankings.
But he will always be known as a top class captain. Many may question his astuteness but results back up his credentials.
The single-most factor which Ganguly did was he converted a bunch of gentleman cricketers into ‘No more Mr Nice Guys’.