Friday, November 14, 2008

Saurav Ganguly

Note: I am currently going through a busy phase in life and so cannot sit down and write in leisure. Here are some random memories I have of Ganguly (not all of them are negative and not all of them are about cricket - since it is not fashionable to write about cricket w.r.t Ganguly);

Before I get too far into a post about his retirement, let me put out a disclaimer that I am not a big fan of Ganguly. Kumble and Ganguly are among my least favorite players in the senior group of 4-5 players who have been around for over a decade. In a way, I am saddened by the fact that the team I grew up with is slowly getting dismantled. Ganguly has provoked fierce debates and probably has broken friendships among cricket followers. Above all he has been integral part of the team that has brought great joy to many in the past decade. I am genuinely sad to see him leave the game. I did not expect him to get out first ball (in his final innings) and had a lump in my throat when they showed a slomo of him taking a look at the sky before beginning his final walk to the pavilion.

Here are my series of posts on Ganguly and his cricket career.

1. Ganguly Series I : Ganguly's Selection & First test Tour.

2. Ganguly Series II: Ganguly As a Test Batsman

3. Ganguly Series III: As a Captain.

4. Ganguly Series IV: On His Aggression

5. Ganguly Series V: Ganguly as an ODI Player.

To sum up, he was the kind of character who was needed for Indian cricket. It was my dream to see India winning test matches and Test series outside the sub continent. Ganguly made that happen. I also respected him because of his ability to do unpopular things. Intentionally or unintentionally he made people criticize him. Intentionally or unintentionally he just carried on with his stuff. Most paths to success aren't difficult but hugely unpopular. Every time, the stupid Indian media toned up its criticism against him - it was a good contra-indicator that Ganguly was on the right.


Alan Smithee said...

Srikkanth's straight drive was a sham. I once went to meet him in his office in pentasaoft (or polaris?) building and he asked me if I knew what the score was. He had a small team of 3-4 watching TV and updating scores in a computer then, I believe it was one of the many dotcom websites that offered live scores. I blurted out something like 87/5 to which he asked "yaaru?". I finally asked him if he watches the matches at all and how he came up with his straight drive columns. He said he had a team which gives him the gist in the evening and he watches tv highlights and commentary in the night and rehashes stuff. Momentary candidness, but he probably did not think blogs wold be a phenom and I could get space to publish the story.

After that we went to nanganallur aanjaneyar temple where an old man kept asking him if he was a certain srinivasan from Pondicherry... That must have hurt..

Alan Smithee said...

Probably the previous comment is unfair to Srikkanth.. He is a cool dude without pretense or the celebrity air..

Anonymous said...

well done hawkeye,

come to think of it, this is also a kind of obituary(from cricket; Dada fans don't flame me) post!

Anonymous said...

During 90's, I constantly saw Indian cricketers taking the quote that sports is not about winning or losing way too seriously. Fielding - people would literally not even try unless otherwise it lands right in their hand, Out of Form - not scoring runs with whole team claiming to be out of form, in short no aggression. Extremely frustrating for a normal viewer with only outcome of a raised blood pressure.

With Sourav as Captain and John Wright, that whole attitude changed. Fielding improved not to the extent of SA/Australia but it did. People were trying to at least to play up to their potential. I believe both the coach and captain had a huge role to play in it. I see Dhoni in the same way.

The whole writing above is because I felt you somehow ended up projecting him as a mere right place at the right time Captain. Newspapers might some stupid example for aggression and rejecting the example makes sense, but rejecting the whole idea..?


siva said...

u really hate kumble, don't you?

Vijay said...

Very good summary...Yes I liked his innings against SF in Jo'burg, I think he hit like 5 sixes including one cross batted slog (which he might claim was a pull:) against Ntini which probably went out of the stadium.

Yeah, we also need to thank Sidhu for injuring himself(?) in Auckland, which made Sachin open and produce an innings that probably got several people into cricket.

The Talkative Man said...

I havent been Ganguly's biggest fan, as after-all I am a die-hard admirer of Chappello and Chappelli! But credit has to be given where it is due.

I wasnt too surprised by his Eng selection 1996 as during the period 94-96, Ganguly was very consistent especially in the A tours and Ind A vs Eng A games. Dravid was also part of these teams which were often captained by Amre. They had some successful outings such as the SAARC Asia Cup and I was thinking he would break into the team soon. Of course I only saw the scores and didnt expect him to score a debut 100.

Kambli...guess what? Career avg 54 looks good on the outside..
First 7 tests avg :113
Last 10 tests avg : 22
The dip explains the end of his test career. An interesting world record he has[ Avg(career) - Avg(last 10)]
1. Kambli : 90
2. Azhar Mahmood : 37
3. Basit Ali : 35

Rest of your write-up is spot on...SG was India's all time best southpaw

Anonymous said...


it is not ganguly who should have retired.

it is YOU who should retire... from writing such stupi stuff.

Crappy article.


Venkat said...

When Dravid & Ganguly scored again in Johannesburg - a rare abroad victory was in sight (Kumble's poor bowling on 5th day screwed that one out).

Rain and Cullinan screwed it actually. And Cullinan is a very good player of spin bowling (except Warney). Nopes, Kumble didn't screw it.

Regarding Dada dropping Kumble, what did Bhajji do in Tests abroad? Kumble is one of the best bowlers India has ever produced. Fine, he may not have been as great as Warney (who incidentally has a kevalamana record against India, I wonder how he is the 4th best player of the 20th century) or Murali, but he still great in his own right.

sundar said...

/* There are a million factors that go into creating a winning team. Some of it is planned and some of it is random. */


/*It is impossible to isolate a single reason and articulate it. */

Not really. There are some key ingredients of success, without which it may not be possible at all. We cannot quantify these factors but we can tell they are there. Ganguly as a leader was able to channelize the team's pumped-up state into a bunch of great wins. As a team mate, you look up to the leading man and he had that thirst to win.

Shankar said...

Saurav was good even with or without pushes from East Zone selectors. He should have played for 2 more years, along with selective matches....

I wish he plays in IPL for 2 more years.

I also agree that G.R.Vishwanath had 6 Ranji players of Karnataka in the Indian team one day, which I have asked him about, for which he has replied, "so whatz the prob?'

Anonymous said...

Good post!

Ganguly had his moments and sucesses as Captain and ODI player, a little less so as a Test player. Not a bad career.

India's record in Ganguly's best days as Captain or as player was still not among the best in the World.

Does that mean Ganguly did not have the team to be better than what it was or was he was not good enough to make the team better than what it was??


Anonymous said...

Something like your post.

So where is your take on the economy now, or is it the Indianness, I have my job comfy thing.

How are Indians coping there with job losses.

adi said...

B, Vaaranam Aayiram review enge?

Sowmya Srikrishnan said...

Nicely written post...and a good read.

I used to enjoy watching cricket years back, but now, i just read the news to know if we won or not.

Brought back memories of my cricket watching days. Good one!


Anonymous said...

For getting attention people do a lot of of them is throwing dirt on some famous people so that they also get noticed..the writer""""doesnt hav time""""""" but stil wants to criticise the bestest captain nd southpaw india evr had...
i dnt think the writer is aware of the usual indian mentality of "let it be"..dada changed all that nd created the in form team india...
"""""dont kno if sourav had a say in their initaial selection""""

agloco said...

good idea..thanks