Unlike Sanjay Subrahmanyan, I was (and still am) a fan of Sourav Ganguly. I consider him to be the “first real leader of men in Indian cricket”.
So it gives me great pleasure to see, today, a re-invented, hungry, fit, fighting Sourav Ganguly. He is contributing healthily with the bat. He is throwing himself about in the infield and outfield. He is running those sharp singles. His work-rate is healthy. This is the kind of Ganguly that India yearned for; the kind of Ganguly that India needs. Admittedly, it is also the kind of Ganguly that India did not have a year ago. He went back, cleared his head, and returned, a re-invented cricketer.
Things weren’t looking that rosy for him a year ago. Today, he is back.
Today, Greg Chappell says that he wasn’t surprised to see Ganguly back in the team. But that may be nothing more than post-event rationalisation. One never knows. However, the fact is that the two of them had a huge and inglorious spat.
Ironically, it was Ganguly that “chose” Greg Chappell to succeed John Wright as Team India Coach. The inside story is that Steve Waugh recommended Tom Moody to Ganguly. However, Ganguly plumped for Chappell.
The two had misunderstandings. Ganguly did not play his cards right. The outburst in Zimbabwe cost him. And so he was on the outer. In a way this was a sad outcome to a terrific career. He is one of a few players in ODI history to have scored over 10,000 runs in international cricket. A year ago, only 4 players had scored over 10,000 runs in ODIs — and he was one of them! This was not the way for India to farewell its most colourful and successful cricket captain in her cricket history. A postscript was badly needed.
At the time that he was dealt his body blows, he had had a great career. It would have been sad for all of us — Team India fans — to not remember him for the good things that he did for Indian cricket. It would have been inappropriate for us fans to confine him to the dark pages of Indian cricket history as a clown who came to a sad end.
But his comeback saw a re-born Ganguly. Indeed, he was out of the team for almost exactly 9 months — a suitable and appropriate gestation period given a “re-birth” scenario! Clearly, even Lady Luck deemed that Ganguly deserved a better place in Indian cricket archives!
But the important thing is that he got there in the end and now has an opportunity to leave his mark…