Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sourav to retire after the Oz series

The curtain is beginning to fall on the Fab Four with Sourav Ganguly announcing his retirement from international cricket at the end of the Australian tour. Of course the immediate question on peoples mind would be whether there was any “compromise formula” that was arrived at with the new Selection Panel for a dignified send off. Whatever be it I think he has chosen to go at the appropriate time.

When I look back at Sourav’s career it is not his silken grace on the off-side that immediately comes to mind, not the ease with which he took on spinners, not the imperiousness in captaincy or the lethargic running between the wickets and not even the impromptu jig on the balcony of Lord’s. It very clearly is the 2001 Test Series against the Australians.
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The 2001 Test series was definitely the crowning glory of his career primarily because of the way in which it was won. I particularly liked the way in which he got under the skin of Steve “oh I am ice cool” Waugh.

Was it proper to keep Waugh waiting for the toss? Was it proper to not give him the list of the final eleven on time? Not really. But was it (is it) proper for the Aussies to sledge in the middle? According to them it was mental disintegration. So was this. Just that it was a different kind of mental disintegration. It was a gutsy, in your face, devil may care attitude that India had not seen from her cricketers in a long time or maybe never at all. No wonder people were surprised to see that. And it worked. (Of course assisted by Messrs VVS, The Wall and Bhajji.)

The satisfying part was that Steve Waugh was made to eat humble pie. I remember all that talk of the “Final Frontier” was really beginning to grate. It was almost as if, on the back of their 15 test winning streak, they just had to turn up and they would achieve it. But boy were they in for a surprise. To me, more than the victory itself it was the humbling of the Aussie pride that was satisfying.

Just for achieving that one series victory, in my book, Ganguly deserves his place in the pantheon of Indian greats.

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