Ganguly: A glittering career comes to an end

Whatever may be the reasons for Sourav Ganguly’s retirement, it is time we all stood up in admiration of one of the greatest Indian cricketers and lets just hope that he goes out with a big bang as he had entered the world of cricket in 1996.
Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Sourav Ganguly have something in common. No it isn’t any brand that they are endorsing. They have scripted the best comebacks that any one can remember in their respective fields. It is said that Character is judged at times of adversity. These three men have sprung a surprise whenever they have been written off by the critics. Sourav Ganguly- the most charismatic and successful captain that India has ever produced is said to retire. This will mark the end of a glorious career in cricket. Whether you loved him or hated him but you could never be indifferent to him.
What started off with a bang at Lords in London is said to go down against the most formidable team in the World. The aussies have always been wary of the Indians specially in their own backyard. And as Ganguly said in the press conference yesterday he would like to go off on a winning note. All eyes will be on the ‘Royal Bengal Tiger’ as he goes out for his last prowl against the Aussies. Every time he will effortlessly caress the ball through the off side, millions of people all around the country will jump in sheer delight.
Through out his career, Ganguly has been in the media glare. He got the ‘Bad boy’ image going but he gave the team an aggressive outlook when he took over as captain something that had not been seen too often in Indian cricket. He has had his string of ups and downs but the resilience, grit and determination has always stood out in his tough time. His partnership with Dravid in the match against Sri Lanka at Taunton in the 1999 world cup, his hundred against Australia at Brisbane last tour and his double hundred against Pakistan in the last series were some of his best performances. Toronto perhaps was his favourite venue, where he wom four man of the match awards in a series against Pakistan.
As a captain, Ganguly had great achievements. Won twenty one tests, out of which twelve were won abroad. His famous Natwest series win against England at Lords when he flung his T shirt off and yelled foul words changed the image of Indian cricket and also made Freddie Flintoff a bit more reticent in the future. His series win against Australia at home in which India scripted a great comeback and went on to win a test after following on. This series is regarded as the best series ever where the underdogs sprung a surprise on the champions and is still one of the greatest inspirational stories in the world of cricket. India’s maiden win in a series in Pakistan also came under the captaincy of Ganguly. The Indian team’s performance of reaching the finals of the 2003 world cup in South Africa could also be credited to the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly who also struck two hundreds in the series.
Ganguly was the poster boy of Indian cricket for a long time. Many feel he may not be as talented as Sachin or as technically correct as Dravid, but when it came to stroking through the off side he was the most gifted players ever. He did have his weak points like the rising short delivery, or fending outside the off stump, not one of the best fielders of the side and a poor runner between the wickets. But every one has some weak points including a great called Achilles. Ganguly has called it a day now, and lets not ruin the moment and contemplating as to why he has done it. There are theories of voluntarily retirement schemes, some sort of deal sprung up with the board and even threats of kidnapping his daughter. Lets give attention and credit where it is due. Here’s a cricketer who has devoted his life to the sport and is one of the most loved sportsmen in India. This aint his end yet, just the beginning of the end. We will still see him coming in black and gold and scaring the hell out of the other bowlers in the IPL’s seasons. It is time we stood up in admiration of this great cricketer and hope he has a fitting ending to a great career.

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