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Monday, 27 October 2008

The Royal Bengal Tiger- Saurav Ganguly

"The Prince of Calcutta. Two of his special qualities are his intelligence and articulation, both of which have helped him immensely in the world of contemporary cricket." -Geoffrey Boycott.

"The great thing about Saurav is that he doesn't let any criticism bother him. He is his own man, and an intensely determined one. He always speaks his mind. His batting is a unique mix of touch and power. When he plays those drives, it's all touch, all elegance. Timing is his gift. He has the ability to not only clear the ropes but even the stadium. Against spin, my god, he is really a murderer! One thing I'd love to have from his game is his the ability to clear the ropes. As a captain, he is always encouraging his batsmen, reminding them of past successes. Sourav is among the best one-day players I have seen". -VVS Laxman.


"A quality batsman. There are a couple of things I like about his batting. He is right up there on my list, as far as offside play goes. The other thing he excels at is his use of feet to spinners. He keeps his head down, has nice footwork and a lovely long follow-through. I really enjoy it when he comes down the track to spinners. In fact, you can safely bet that it would go for a six." -Ian Chappell.

"The great thing about Saurav is that he doesn't let any criticism bother him. He is his own man, and an intensely determined one. He always speaks his mind. His batting is a unique mix of touch and power. When he plays those drives, it's all touch, all elegance. Timing is his gift. He has the ability to not only clear the ropes but even the stadium. Against spin, my god, he is really a murderer! One thing I'd love to have from his game is his the ability to clear the ropes. As a captain, he is always encouraging his batsmen, reminding them of past successes. Sourav is among the best one-day players I have seen". -VVS Laxman.

"Ever since Saurav became the captain, I do not feel like a youngster in the team any more. Everybody is treated equally and Saurav himself is extremely approachable and a pillar of strength. Saurav stood by me when I was struggling. I owe a great deal to him for standing by me at the most important time. I can't express my gratitude to him in words." -Harbhajan Singh.

“On the off side, first there is God and then Saurav Ganguly.” -Rahul Dravid.


There once was an Indian team, a team which represented us in the Wills World Cup 1996. Azhar and his bunch of men were just about there, relying heavily on the young shoulders of Sachin Tendulkar. The common dictum was that India would stay in the hunt till Sachin stays at the crease. Too much for an expectation really. Sachin needed a partner and there was one such in a young person of a joint-family of 50 residing in The City Of Joy- Kolkata. [A record, Saurav Ganguly-Sachin Tendulkar ODI partnership measures 8227 runs in 176 innings at an outstanding average of 47.55, Cricinfo]. For a person who wanted to be a footballer- understandable given the knowledge of the intense passion of football in Kolkata- he took up cricket because of brother Snehashish's liking for cricket. And much to the awe of cricketosphere, it still remains a mystery how Saurav could take up left-handed batting despite being a natural right-hander during his childhood!!


His first international appearance dates back to 1992- ODI against West Indies at Perth- where he failed to leave his mark. But that we know Saurav for his qualities today, it's not surprising that he fought his way back to the team by consistent domestic performances. Some were concerned about his problems of attitude and haughtiness, but that apart, Saurav was special in his sense of batting, which enabled him to score a century against England at Lord's in 1996. Alongside came Rahul Dravid, and in the coming years, Indian was cricket built around the core of this strong batting triumvirate.


Though Saurav Ganguly had a decent Test average, it was in the ODIs that he shone to his acme. His best performances have come all around the globe, with Toronto being a paradise for him. It was here that he tormented Pakistan both with the bat and the ball. Coming to Dhaka next year, his 124 was the cornerstone of Indian victory, chasing 315 to take home the series. And then came the belligerent 183 off 148 balls at Taunton at Sri Lanka in '99 World Cup, where he sent several balls drowning into the nearby rivulet. At Adelaide against Pakistan in 2000, Ganguly cruises to 141 displaying a hunger to feast on anything pitched off. These were the knocks which brought Ganguly to the doorsteps of captaincy when India were left reeling under the dark clouds of match-fixing scandal. Tendulkar had faltered in his role as a captain and Saurav was here, raring to go.


It was under Ganguly that the players transmuted from being a mere group of cricketers to Team India. Known for his aggressive style of captaincy, Ganguly's tenure at the top is marked by several accomplishments. A series victory over Australia in India, which included the famous Kolkata victory, in 2001 is regarded to be India's best performance. The remarkable transformation of an under-confident team to a team which reached the World Cup Final in South Africa, 2003 and a series victory over Pakistan in their land remain the most notable achievements of Team India under Ganguly. Players like Sehwag, Laxman, Harbhajan, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Zaheer were groomed well to hold the position that they now play for. A veritable master that he is, Saurav still commands the distinction of being the Most Successful Captain of Team India.


He still is game for come-back, as he famously did once. Over the past couple of years, his Tests average is much better than that of Dravid or Tendulkar. [Test best of 239 against Pakistan in Bangalore, 2007] The selectors might have problems with him, he might not be comfortable against the bouncer, there might be a slow runner in him or a slow fielder, but Saurav still is the architect of the success which Team India now thrives in. There is a great amount of difference in the style of the game being played on either side of Saurav's tenure. He will be missed a lot during the coming days. Team India today has terms such as 'The Fab Four' or 'Team Huddle', contrary to the terms like 'Little Master' before 1996. That alone tells us the impact Saurav, as a captain, has left.

15 comments:

Suchinth said...

Dada was the one who has built the core of the current team with Yuvraj, Dhoni, Sehwag and Harbhajan being the central part.

It is very hard to accept that Dada is playing his final series. But no need to worry, he will get to see him in IPL yet again. :)

Nithin "Kitta" Shenoy said...

Dada was a great player no doubt but I guess now its time for the youngsters to take over.

Ritesh. P said...

Ganguly was phenomenal in his team-building values, no doubt but he has also been among the runs of late. Too good to be dropped at this moment I felt.

shivanandappa said...

Yes, dada is the finest captains to lead the side in the recent times.He is the one who laid the foundation for the current success story of indian cricket.Its his character "to speak out his mind" that got him admiration from different quarters. Probably he is the only player after mohinder amarnath to come back with a bang to the side whenever he was left out of the side.More than anything else he is a "True Champion" and champions never die. They will be remembered as long as this sport exists.

Ritesh. P said...

Yeah Shiva, that's wholly true. True champions never perish, however high the stakes might be. And for one, Ganguly is the main reason for such a wonderful Team India, which severely threatens Aussies to tumble off their reign at the top.

Nazish Rahman said...

Nice article...great job done!!!!

Dada was not only a great player but also a mentor for his young team members. He was the one who started giving importance to win tests overseas and was always innovative in his ideas....thats why u see he is the most successful captain India has ever produced.

nazishrahman.blogspot.com

Ritesh. P said...

Ya Nazish, he really has been the saviour of the current team which is just starting to dominate. Dada and Anil have left on a high, handing over the duty to the swashbuckling MS Dhoni.

Nazish Rahman said...

Well ya m too mad for cricket as most Indians are and ya somewhere our blogs resemble each other...can i add your blog in "My Blog List" if u allow me to.
Why dont u also open an account in wordpress as its layout is good.

And ya in orkut i own a community called Lalit Modi...even he is a great cricket administrator so if u really think he is then do add your self..its owned by me Nazish Rahman.

Cheers Mate!!!
Bye

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Play angry Birds said...

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