The Eye of the Tiger

119 Comments

So many times, it happens too fast
You change your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

—The Eye of the Tiger (OST: Rocky)

As Sourav Ganguly packed one rifle shot after another through the packed off side against the seamers and sashayed down the pitch to loft the spinners into the high heavens turning back the clock many a year, I am sure I was not the only one who had a lump in the throat.

Written off, humiliated, accused of being a mercenary and an injury-faker and haunted by the demon of low scores and by his obvious technical shortcomings, who would have thought he would be back in full cry, playing some of the best cricket of his life in South Africa and now in India?

I for one did not. Yes Mohinder Amarnath scripted a stunning comeback once upon a time. Widely pilloried for his terrible technique against pace bowling (he missed a hook against Rodney Hogg, got hit on the head and lost his place in the team), he came back a transformed man standing tall against the two best pace attacks of the world then, Pakistan and West Indies to become universally acknowledged as the best player of raw pace in the world.

But Amarnath plotted his comeback away from the media spotlight, without hordes of experts waiting for him to trip up so that they can thump their chests with their “told you so”s. He did it without being told by the powers-that-be that they were “looking forward” beyond him and that he would not get back into the team as long as the chief selector was in power.

Sourav was not so lucky. With his every move being watched by the media and an antagonistic team management, from his parachute training and kickboxing sessions to every innings at the Ranji level, Sourav ran the risk of turning himself into the cricketing equivalent of Dev Anand: a legend whose time had passed him by and yet who is unable to accept his obsolescence, clinging instead to the echoes of past glory.

Yes the risk was always there. But the way Sourav overcame this fear of failure, the fear of being laughed at and the fear of proving his critics correct is nothing short of inspirational.

In an interview given before the first One Day International against West Indies, Sourav Ganguly articulates the self-doubt that he was often racked with during this year of exile.

Q: Surely, there must have been occasions when you felt like taking the easy option…

A: (Pauses) I didn’t give up mentally, but there definitely were times when it dawned that a comeback could become very difficult… The thought that it may not happen at all did crop up, but the next morning I’d wake up thinking differently… Woke up with positive thoughts, thoughts which kept me going…

So what drove Sourav on through those dark times? As he says subsequently in the interview, it was the desire to prove to himself that he had given it the best shot, so that when his career ended he would know that it was not for the want of effort.

Call me a sentimental boy’s scout but it is this attitude that defines a champion. In sport and in daily life.

Q. What kept you going? After all, you weren’t in the Test team either for ten months… Was it just self-belief?

A: Had a lot to do with self-belief, yes… I knew I was still good enough to play for India… It’s easy to give up, very easy to hang up one’s boots… I didn’t want to do that… I gave myself a year (from after the Test series in Pakistan)… I wouldn’t have hung around endlessly, but I didn’t want to leave without convincing myself that I’d given my best shot towards a comeback… I wasn’t emotional and accepted that sports is different from fairy tales.

True. However, this fairy tale has come true.

And really, how could it not?

It had a prince in it.

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119 thoughts on “The Eye of the Tiger

  1. I’ve said it in this forum before and I will say it again.
    Dada will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix and bring the world cup back home.

  2. Commenting on ur blog for the first time. Hope it is the first comment.
    Dada, has really shown the world what stuff he is made of.
    Great pieces on ur blog, keep it up.

  3. I think it would be a big mistake if we failed to see the beyond the obvious learnings of SG’s comeback. Yes, there is the expected reaction like relegating it in a list of ‘Great Comebacks’ or just ‘Great Bengalis’.

    I would say it is a great lesson for life and work. Self-belief, determination…cliched words that you find in a Dale Carnegie book suddenly comes alive and becomes relevant.

    I mean, this guy is no more just a role model for a hero-starved race. He’s bigger than all that.

  4. A bit over the top, I think. The overall tone gives the impression of Ganguly being a lone crusader with the whole world ranged against him, but that is not the case. Yes, More and Chappell had made unwarranted statements against him, but Ganguly is hardly the first cricketer to have a tiff with selectors or coach. Most selectors are envious of the kind of money today’s cricketers make and hence it is always a kind of uneasy relationship between the two. But let us not forget that in Dravid, Tendulkar and Kumble, Ganguly had long-time friends he could talk to for encouragement. And rest of the team like Harbhajan, Sehwag and Laxman remained loyal to their former captain. So it is not like Ganguly had no one to support him and he was waging a lone battle.

    As for comparison with what Mohinder achieved on those two tours vs couple of 50s agaisnt a not-so-great RSA attack and a 90 in an odi on a featherbed against a low ranked team? I am sorry, but it just doesn’t stack up even after we factor in the media-induced-pressure etc.

  5. @Footballnath: Amen.

    @Tintin: Thanks

    @Aditya: Yes that would be just like old times.

    @Rahul Ghosh: No no…you are going a bit over the top according to our friendly critic Mohan here.

    @Mohan: I sometimes do not know how to react to your comments. Should I be surprised at your assertion that Dravid is a friend of Ganguly after all that has happened in the last year when their relationship publicly chilled because of Dravid’s “reported” reticence in having Dada in the team? Should I comment on how Sehwag was censured for saying that the boys miss Ganguly—which shows that at least quite a few did not even want Ganguly’s name to be mentioned? Should I wonder aloud as to when and how did Kumble and Laxman become Ganguly’s friends? Should I even point out that I was not trivializing Amarnath (one of my all-time favourite player)’s comeback in any way and just pointing out that Amarnath , during his comeback years, did not have to endure the risk of emerging as a butt end of jokes.

    Or should I just just say: “Yeah right” and apologize for being over-emotional.

  6. Dada is a great inspiration to all Bengali youth. I do not particularly like cricket. But Sourav Ganguly is one name that brings in a lot of passion to me. All of us should take the his example and try outperform in our lives against all odds. Great going DADA!!!

  7. Who is this man? Where does he find this mental strength? I look at the mirror and don’t see it in me. I am a bangali and I know for a fact that the bangalis — all 20 crores of them — are exactly like me. This Sourav is so a-bangali. Oops, wrong post.

    Seriously though, I think the cruel and unfair humiliation he went through in 91-92 has helped him a lot. I am old enough to remember that. In 96, I was in Bombay and still remember the local press being extremely vocal about him being a quota-player. Cricinfo-style crap is not exactly new to him and he knows how to tune it out.

  8. Whatever one might say, it really requires great guts to go back and play in front of a thousand judging eyes, and still be the top scorer. I am not a die-hard cricket fan; but still feel happy when the Indian top guns score centuries or win a match. When Ganguly was dismissed from the team so humiliatingly I also felt the humiliation. It doesn’t require a “Bengali” connection here.And remember how he was treated in his first comeback match? He was excluded by the “boys” in the “victory huddles”. There was a photo in the TOI showing Ganguly standing at a distance awkwardly, as nobody bothered to include him in the celebrations.It makes you wonder why doesn’t he give it all up, instead of facing the humiliations everyday on the field? Anyway his name figured after maybe 20 (?) probables in the list(by Mr. kiran More) who were “young upcoming talents”. But now he has shown everyone what mettle he is made of. I think nobody ever thought that Ganguly would be able to claim his place in the team so convincingly. More and his gang had a list of the 20(?) after whom Ganguly figured! I wonder what those guys are doing now…. The world cup is just a few months away and they failed to form a strong cohesive team in the last 4 years. The only player now whose place is firmly in the world cup team is Ganguly! Hope they give him to lead also!

  9. @ Mohan :
    ”As for comparison with what Mohinder achieved on those two tours vs couple of 50s agaisnt a not-so-great RSA attack and a 90 in an odi on a featherbed against a low ranked team? I am sorry, but it just doesn’t stack up even after we factor in the media-induced-pressure etc.”

    A couple of points:

    1. Those “couple of 50s agaisnt a not-so-great RSA attack” eluded even the very best of Indian batters in the series in question. Didn’t they?

    2. The ” 90 in an odi on a featherbed against a low ranked team” was scored in a match-winning cause and by a man who was making a ODI comeback after 17 months and is in his 35th year. The “low ranked team” is a team which had won 6 of their last 8 ODIs against India in the recent past and had reached the finals of 2 consecutive ICC Champion’s Trophy tournaments, winning one and losing one to the undisputed champions of world cricket.

    I agree with you when you say his comeback can’t be compared with Mohinder Amarnath’s comeback…but my reasons for that would be different. Amarnath’s was possibly one of the the greatest (if not the greatest) comebacks cricket has ever since because it was against the deadliest of attacks and he had to transform himself into a completely different player to face the challenge.
    But, on the other hand, he didn’t have to face repeated discouraging comments made by the team management and the selectors. In Ganguly’s case things were totally different. No matter if he had some cricket left in him or not, a large section of the media and management wanted him out. He was totally written off in most quarters. Even players who were expressing their gratitude or faith in him were asked to shut up by the board (Yuvi, Bhajji and Veeru). They just wanted to wipe him out completely from the Indian cricket scene. Imagine what would have happened if Ganguly had called the selectors “A bunch of jokers” like Amarnath had done out of anger and disgust. Amarnath could do it because there wasn’t this many young cricketers standing in the queue behind him. But Ganguly couldn’t have afforded to open his mouth. He had only one option left : to let his bat do the talking. And hasn’t he done that?

    @ Arnab:
    Like many, even I was expecting a post on this from you. More so, because I thought we were giving Sandipan Deb too much of importance. The air neede to be freshened up a bit in your RTDM. Nice way of putting it. Good work.

  10. AWESOME GREAT BONG… Dada has shown the world.. certain nincompoops cannot digest it!!! the whole coutry is with him… Would like to narrate an incident..There was a call in program on TImes Now during the Lunch of the first ODI with Kiran More… they actually stopped the program after 20 min instead of the usual 30 minutes, becasue each & every caller irrespective of the region he/she was from was at More’s thrat…it was treat to watch..

  11. Do you know the tragedy? This post of yours will get sniggered at because it is written by a Bengali.
    The country has never let Sourav be the captain of India. Despite being the first Indian captain to bury the ghost of regionalism, Sourav’s failures remained a cross for only Bengalis to bear. Likewise, Sehwag has never been Delhi’s responsibility.

    Oh, and one more thing – I just LOVED the ending!

  12. Dear Greatbong,

    Indeed, it has a prince who battles demons and dragons (in his head and in the world around him), slays the witch (what was that guy’s name that likes provocative finger gestures?) and gets the princess (in a manner of speaking).

    He used to be a damn good cricketer, the best Captain Cricket India has ever had and a competitor of competitors who has left the toughest of them wih bloody noses, but now, with this comeback….he’s become a Legend.

    Years after he’s hung up his boots and, no doubt, blazing new trails, they’ll be waving banners in the stands, a la Boonie Down Under, “Bring Sourav Back!”

  13. When ganguly was dropped I dont think he deserved a place in the side (particularly test side). And I thought this is the end of Ganguly. But for him to refuse to give up and continue fighting was really admirable. Although he might not have set the domestic scene on fire, the simple fact that he ensured he was at the right place at the right time because of his sheer grit is truly inspirational. And I am with you on this one.

    Been a regular reader here. Nice blog. Keep up the good work.

    PS: I did not want to bring it on this article here, because I understand it is about gangs and his comeback. But considering it will be ages before I can get myself to comment again, here goes. On the sourav ganguly matter: while I agree that he was treated terribly by more, In your blog you have often implied that Sourav had neever given a raw deal to any young player ( we will leave the politics with in senior players aside ) and I think that is far from truth.

    Cheers

  14. @GB: Surprised that Dravid is a friend of Ganguly? They have been playing together right from their U-19 days and I haven’t seen anything from either of them in the last year that suggested that their personal relationship had changed in anyway. Atleast knowing them (either directly or through some of their teammates), I will be surprised (and saddened) if there is any change in their friendship. As for Sehwag being reprimanded, that is just BCCI being themselves. But fact remains that those players still had respect for Ganguly. As for Mohinder comparison, I didn’t say that you were trivialising his achievements per se, but I thought you were comparing the two comebacks and suggesting that Ganguly didn’t have to face the kind of attacks Jimmy had to, but then he had to face the media. My point was, even if you factor in the media pressure etc. the two comebacks are just not comparable simply because of the sheer enormity of Mohinder’s success and the kind of attacks it came against.

  15. though i would be a rare bong, who would not scream his heart out when he was dropped, or sulk in anger towards chappell for making him sidelined, but i must admit that this comeback will undoubtedly make sourav the biggest brand in india. there are not many who could rise from such situations. In a country, where we are in acute shortage of ICONS, he will inspire millions of lesser mortals. the brands will just go for this man, for every one of them want to be associated with a character that has it all – determination, emotion, leadership, love, hate, politics, glamour… Pepsi sure is going to utilise the momentum they will get for sticking with him in the hours of need. the consumers will drink to the emotional quotient. “Apna Dada ke baat manoge na??” the bengal southpaw, with this unbelievable comeback, will generate the highest brand-recall value for a long time to come!

  16. Not so fast!! Few average innings in South Africa and one good innings in India can’t be labelled as comeback. Indian players are always “Sher” at home. I think what all you wrote is upir usual Bengali propeganda.

  17. >> Written off, humiliated, accused of being a mercenary and an injury-faker and haunted by the demon of low scores

    =========

    @GreatBong,

    Haunted by the demon of low-scores, he definitely was. No big score in 2 years, until that century in Zimbabwe means something is wrong. The rest was all bloody cricket politics of Pawar vs Dalmiya. Most of the events could be traced back to it.

    Ganguly back firing on all cylinders ! Great! Alls well that ends well. Hope he continues his good form.

    >> In 96, I was in Bombay and still remember the local press being extremely vocal about him being a quota-player.

    @ dipanjan,

    Not just the local press, even the national newspapers were. He was in the team in the first place because they had to include a player from East Zone. But then, he sure did prove his place in the team.

  18. @Mohan

    To reiterate Debolin’s point, what were the rest of our famed batting line-up doing against the “not-so-great RSA attack”? And as for the “low ranked team”, they happened to make mincemeat of us in that not so long ago ODI series.

    As for SG’s recent performances, if they don’t stack up, I dunno what does.

    @RichAndFamous

    Since you are on the topic of ‘average innings’, how does SRT’s average or RD’s average in the recent SA series compare to SG’s?

    Look, the point is the predictions (and reputations) of a lot of people have been trashed thanks to this ‘inconvenient’ comeback. And a lot of them are seeing a vindication of the stand taken by Messrs Dravid, Chapell and More, whose whole ideal of ‘youth before experience’ seems to have waylaid by – not a Bong, not a Sher, not a Prince – but an indomitable human being who actually believed in words like determination and self-belief. They thought that they could keep him out of the team with media pressure, innuendo, discouraging statements and lies.

    But SG had other plans.

    Let’s not be pariochial about inspiration. SG does not need to be a Bong to deserve the plaudits or brickbats. He deserves to be treated impartially. The same impartiallity that he instilled in the Indian team, when he led it.

  19. I believed he had been denied an exit worthy of his position in Indian cricketing history (and he has a place there, both as batsman and as captain).

    Then I cut him dead because he went and sucked up to Sharad Pawar. As Kapil said, “Khelna hai toh khel na, bheekh kyon maangta hai?”

    Then I held my breath and expected the worst when he came back. And grinned in relief when he performed.

    Now, after seeing those meat-of-the-bat sixers after the two-and-a-half step quick advance, just like 1999 all over again, I’m elated.

    Chaaliye jaao, Maharaj!

    J.A.P.

  20. Thanks Arnab for the great post. I was expecting a writeup on this, but was definitely pissed off by the Mr. Deb post. I think Ganguly’s comeback is strangely similar to the way bengal is coming back – branded looser by the entire nation, turns around and clears the stadium with one of the flashback shots. You want to write a post on the way Buddhadev is clearing the stadium, next?

  21. @ Mohan,
    The current Indian Captain Rahul Dravid selects former Indian Captain as a 12th man in 2nd test against Pakistan at Faisalabad.
    A friendly gesture indeed!
    It can happen only in INDIA.

  22. Its a pity that a country with a big population could not do away with old guys who cannot field , bowl and bat well. Shame on those youngsters who cannot make use of the field-young-ones mindset of the selectors.

    Those things apart, it takes a great heart to come back and prove your mettle in this cricket crazy(read it stupid as well) nation. Sourav…you are great.!!!

  23. To me, it was more satisfying to see Sourav’s knocks in the Test matches at South Africa. IMO – they were scored under more difficult conditions – in bouncier pitches in a form of the game he is considered to be ‘weak’ in, and having been called up suddenly.

    Not taking anything away from his 98 – just saying his Test comeback would have taken more grit and determination.

  24. So finally Greg’s Strategy worked. i.e.: Keep Saurav Ganguly out for sometime and then he will come back in full steam prior to the world cup and then it will be better for Team India. 🙂
    Somewhat akin to what our great professor Lalooji once said when S.M. Krishna and ChandraBabu Naidu lost the elections – “Ha..Ha…Ha…I knew it..That’s why i didn’t touch IT in Bihar”

  25. Looks like Dada’s autobiography, when that happens, is going to be a bestseller. And he will be able to mint a ton of money because of 20th century fox and warner bros ensuing fight for the movie rights.

  26. Just to add to what guru had to say…
    Akash Chopra was shown the door just bcos of ganaguly.. he made parthiv patel open in that test match, if im not wrong.. since then india has nt had a good opening combination.. sehwag-chopra was the best one..

  27. @Mohan

    Don’t know whether to call you idealistic or delusional. Dravid and Dada – best friends indeed! I bet Dravid said “sorry, my friend” when he lunged the dagger into Sourav’s back last year. I bet he also called him and explained the reasons when he opposed Sourav’s inclusion in the team in SA saying, “It will weaken the fielding” in addition to Greg’s, “It will be a step back.”

    And Kumble and Laxman are “long term friends he could talk to for encouragement”? That’s funny, really.

    “couple of 50s agaisnt a not-so-great RSA attack and a 90 in an odi on a featherbed against a low ranked team”

    Now that’s the line that exposes your prejudice. A not-so-great attack? Do you know that the SA team has been ranked the best bowling attack in the world currently, above the Australians, post Warne-McGrath? Bouncy pitches, Ntini, Nel, Pollock – I really wonder which attack according to you would be considered great? I suspect that would be any attack against whom Dravid scores well…

    As for the “low ranked” team, someone else has already answered that charge better than I can.

    These facts remain:
    1. Sourav was not welcome in the team – at least not by the coach or the captain, and several members of the board. When he joined the team in SA, the youngsters were even hesitant to welcome him or shake his hand, out of fear of reprisal. Finally Munaf did that, followed by the old faithful, Harbhajan.

    2. Written off by everyone, accused of playing for money, charged with dividing the team, of being old, bad player of pace – who gave him a chance of a comeback? Only he himself. Such is his self belief.

    3. He swallowed the insults, being ignored by some team members, being stopped by Dravid from giving advice to Sreesanth (“bas bahut ho gaya Dadi; zyada nahin”), and let his bat spank Dravid and Chappell instead. He has turned his fortunes around singlehandedly – so much so that it seems now futile to conceive of a World Cup team without Sourav Ganguly, regardless of what the coach and Captain feels.

    That is the greatness of the man. I, for one, am overjoyed, overwhelmed, and yes, inspired by this man who is my age but has a strength and determination I can only wish I had. He has shown me that nothing is impossible – that it is within me as well if I can tap it.

    Thanks Dada. It’s an honour to be your admirer.

  28. @rahulghosh: yes, other batsmen didn’t do much either, but that doesn’t mean Ganguly’s performance was extraordinary. Remember, I was objecting to comparing his comeback with Amarnath’s comeback in 82-83. There is no comparison between the two.

    As for his determination and self-belief, ofcourse he has it in plenty. He has survived in international cricket for 10 years despite some obvious limitations. He has taken on the onerous task of leading the Indian team and led the team to some remarkable victories even when his own personal form wasn’t all that great. You can’t do that if you are weak-minded. No, I was not doubting Ganguly’s obvious mental strength. On the contrary I have always admired him for it. But that doesn’t mean we should go overboard in praising his comeback or project it as some “Ganguly vs Rest of the world” conflict in which he has emerged victorious etc.

    @GB: Regarding Dravid-Ganguly relationship, this is what Dravid had to say last March: http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/indveng/content/story/242676.html
    “When asked whether his relations with Ganguly had deteriorated in recent times, Dravid said, “on a personal level, they have not. We did meet and we do meet. I just think that sometimes things get blown a bit out of proportion as well.”

    Now, I have no reason to believe that Dravid was lying there. Do you? After all, even Kumble has been dropped from one-day team during Dravid captaincy, but we don’t assume that the two are not on talking terms, do we?

  29. Yes of course Mohan. Since Rahul Dravid did not say “yes I hate Sourav Ganguly and his guts. I want him dead. I want his family dead.” we have to assume that everything is fine between Rahul and Sourav.

    Are you naive or are you so obsessed with criticizing Greatbong on everything he writes (as a regular reader on his blog, I always see you carping and moaning on every other issue) that you would like us to believe that you really think that Dravid was speaking his mind? Have you ever seen the captain of a team publicly professing his dislike for a particular player? Have you? Even when Gavaskar had Kapil dropped, they kept up a facade of friendship. Good for them too because the last thing we want is to see is our top sportsmen engaged in a Rakhi Sawant-Mika type public quarrel.

    FYI, Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell pleaded to keep Sourav off the team for past tours because they felt he would be “disruptive” (note nothing to do his performance or lack of it). This “disruptive” tag is because most of the junior players in the team associate themselves with Sourav and bask in the warmth he exudes which is in stark contrast to Dravid’s stiff, self-obsssesed chilliness. It is only when Vengsarkar took over and only after India’s new age players coming loose in South Africa against a “mediocre attack” that Sourav had to be recalled despite the objections of Chappell and Dravid.

    Who told me this?

    Suffice to say you are not the only one with links to the inside.

  30. In this whole episode people are forgetting the fact that SG did not get into the team because he was doing wonderfully well in the domestic circuit. In fact, I read a report that some fella hit SG for a four in the last over of the match to well it for his team, dada with all his experience could not bowl a tidy over. Also, his performance in the county circuit during that period isn’t something to boast about. So, there is no question of ‘rising’ from the ashes story here, the fact is that our other ‘stars’ were woeful and considering SG’s past performance and his experience he was brought in. There were tonnes of players who were performing better than SG in the domestic circuit, why were they not selected? But I don’t think a jaundiced view of a bengali would even think of this. A good post by a fan, but not an impartial post by any means.

  31. Nice piece, Except you forget to mention that ganguly didn’t deserve to be in the team in the first place, when he was fired. The way it was done is another matter altogether. Guru greg has been the biggest culprit in that. The fact that he hasn’t scored a century last 4 years, (the two centuries that he scored in worldcup were against namibia and kenya)tells the true story. This is infact the first 50 he scored against a decent(well, almost) in more than 4 years(last one was against england in 2002) It’s great that he played that knock, but Let’s see how well he does when he faces any bowler with a little bit of venom( not saying he wouldn’t). You can cry foul all you want, but the matter of fact is dropping was infact the best thing that happened to him.

  32. @Satyabhama

    There are so any ways to attack your assertions, so many ways to destroy your credibility as a serious cricket follower that I really can’t decide. However, I will tell you this. Do go to statsguru on cricinfo and check Sourav’s performance in the domestic circuit in the few months before his recall. And yes, check his bowling performances as well, please.

    And yes, a few names of the “tonnes” of players better than Surav would be welcome. Especially since the chairman of selectors has sais publicly that there is a dearth os talent in the country.

    And the Bengali bit was expected and tired. Do try and be a wee bit original when insulting Sourav fans. You should probably visit an Orkut Sourav fan community someday as a representative sample (statistically significant, I guarantee) and count the number of Bengalis vs. non-Bengalis who are Sourav fans. You might get a nasty shock.

  33. @Aby: And why only Bengali youth? Why is Dada a Bengali figure and not an all-India one?

    @Dipanjan: And so he does.

    @W’sPOV: But we loved him even when was dubbed a “loser”. But then of course thats because I am parochial.

    @Rick: “It doesn’t require a “Bengali” connection here”. Exactly.

    @deBoLIN: Again Sandipan Deb is the editor of FE..not a low-level grunt. Not that it makes him any good but it does give his articles some “weight”.

    @Joyjit: Which hole is Kiran More in now?

    @Diptakirti: “Do you know the tragedy? This post of yours will get sniggered at because it is written by a Bengali.”

    Yep. Look at “Satybhama”‘s comment.

    @AR: 🙂

    @Guru: I have said he has stuck with players he believed in. For instance, he preffered Bhajji to Sarandeep in 2001. So Sarandeep’s supporters can claim he got a raw deal.

    @Mohan: If you would like to believe based on a report in Cricinfo where Dravid was obviously being diplomatic (and as Rohan pointed out he should be diplomatic after all we do not expect our champion sportsmen to behave like Rakhi and Mika), then there is nothing more for me to say.

    @Vuttaa: But the Pepsi contract is not being renewed. Maybe Dada should go back to his roots and endorse Bijoligrill !

    @RichAndFamous: “I think what all you wrote is upir usual Bengali propeganda.”

    Yes exactly. How perceptive. No wonder you are “rich” and “famous”.

    @Lalbadshah: No I have not seen that movie.

    @Shadows: Quota for the East in 94? Where did that come from? Why did the quota not exist in 1993?

    @Aslam: Glad to see that.

    @Gourav: Yes there was.

    @JAP: Well SG was determined to do whatever it was needed to get into the team. Even if it meant begging. It takes a particularly determined man to throw away his arrogance and get down on his knee for the pursuit of a larger dream. I respect SG for that.

    And yes I am elated too. His innings of 98 was the SG of 98.

    @SM: Have you read “Buddha Bar” one of my older posts. I think I covered that there.

    @Ram: Yes they could not. Pity isnt it?

    @BongO’P’ondit: I totally agree. This post was in response to both South Africa and India. Its just that even on a featherbed of a track, the way he dominated and the stokes he essayed were all so typically Dada.

    @EMC3: Yep. Great strategy.

    @Rudresh: Will look forward to his autobiography.

    @Anon: So the entire blame of Akash Chopra is on Dada? Not on the coach and not on the selectors. However none of the blame of Dada’s exclusion is on Dravid (if we believe Mohan). Heh?

    Incidentally dropping Akash Chopra was a folly. And Dada shares responsibility for that.

    @RahulGhosh: Patting the fulltoss back to the bowler….

    @Satyabhama: “But I don’t think a jaundiced view of a bengali would even think of this”

    Yes yes. Absolutely. Now eat boiled food for a month…it may help you with your own jaundice.

    @Quicksilver: Yes he deserved to be dropped when he was dropped. Absolutely. Against Pakistan in the last innings, he scores 37 odd , bats confidently, is second top scorer behind Yuvraj and then he is dropped. Deservedly. However if this be the standard of performance players are held up to , then quite a few superstars in the team would be doing the Ranji grind. As an example, Sehwag has been in atrocious form for sometime now. He has been dropped but he has been kept in the loop, informed that he is still part of the larger scheme of things…all that he needs to know is to sort his problems out. And how was Dada treated? He was asked to retire, was told that there is no place for him in Dravid-Chappell’s vision, and was informed that no matter what he does, More will never select him.

  34. Dada’s comeback is a tightest slap on the faces of Sambit Bal and Anand Basu of Cricinfo. What courage! And see what that [edited], Amit Varma of india Uncut wrote about Dada-

    indiauncut.blogspot.com/2005_03_01_indiauncut_archive.html

    “He’d be sitting in the loo when Sachin Tendulkar was out, and VVS Laxman …….”

    Taht Saurav was sitting in the loo out of fear and sent Laxman as a scapegoat- yes of the same saurav who protected Sachin in MCG.

    [Edited out by GB: Please. Profanities targeted at individuals add nothing to the discussion.]

  35. @Anonymous

    Err…it’s Anand Vasu, not Basu. Part of the Cricino quartet of Dileep “Ganguly is crap” Premachandran, Sambit “Chappell is great” Bal, and Sriram “Dravid is always correct” Veera.

  36. @bong
    Sehwag needed to go too. So does sachin from test team. But what i found unsavoury from sourav was that his complete denial that he was in bad form or unable to cope with the short stuff. He kept referring to the 10K runs he made and the century he scored against the toothless zimbabwe team. His constant refusal to learn and overcome his deficiencies are the ones that caused the rift. we will all know whether he actually came out of the rut, or this is simply a flash in the pan soon when we get to play against some serious contenders

  37. @Quicksilver

    Umm…so according to you neither SA nor WI are serious contenders. Cool. Who are these elusive “serious contenders” then? Other than Australia?

    Wait, I think I know the equation. When Sourav scores against any team, that team ceases to be a serious contender and becomes a third rate attack instead.

    Nice.

  38. It might be a little too early to really say this is the comeback of Dada, but whatever I am seeing is so freakingly pleasant and unrealistic!! I so hope this guy scripts the greatest comeback of our times.

    My interest in Cricket has rekindled thanks to dada, and him *only*. With More-Chappel and their grandiose vision, I had just about given up hope on the game!

    Sourav’s the man! Its time Tendulkar, Sehwag and other superstars are also “given rest” so that they can find form.

    S

  39. @quicksilver – Have you been watching or following cricket lately ? India lost the ODI series in WI 4-1, DLf Cup WI/Ind 1-1, CT WI/Ind 1-0. That’s 6-2 in favor of WI.

  40. Greatbong, though you have quiet a balanced view on most things in life, when it comes to Dada, you tend to go overboard. If in an inning he plays well, u write a post as if it had been a greatest Inning ever witnessed in human historyt play well in a inning, it is ganguly’s critics who cry blood. Though no doubt he did hit a fine knock, but then it was RD who made the difference,54 off 35 balls and dhoni with 62 on 42 balls; Remember the difference b/w india and windies was only 14 runs. Anyways hope dada’s form continues and sehwag also comes back to his form.

  41. Greatbong, though you have quiet a balanced view on most things in life, when it comes to Dada, you tend to go overboard. If in an inning he plays well, u write a post as if it had been a greatest Inning ever witnessed in human history; if he doesn’t play well in a inning, it is ganguly’s critics who cry blood. Though no doubt he did hit a fine knock, but then it was RD who made the difference, 54 off 35 balls and dhoni with 62 on 42 balls; Remember the difference b/w india and windies was only 14 runs. Anyways hope dada’s form continues and sehwag also comes back to his form.
    sorry for the bad formatting in previous post, plz delete that. I couldn’t locate the delete sign there.

  42. I am posting for the firt time in this site. Mohan says all is well between Rahul and Sourav. I can share something with you guys in this regard. An retired Bengal player asked Sourav privately after he came back from SA tour that what was the environment like in the Dressing Room ? There are lot of media report saying so many things. How was Rahul’s behaviour in this regard ?
    Sourav replied “what to say.. it is better if you do not ask me these questions”.
    This goes to show the level of friendship at least from Rahul’s side.

  43. @rohan: Neither (naive nor obsessed). But frankly, it had never occurred to me to think along those lines – that Ganguly being dropped would have affected their personal relationship. I agree with you that players do tend to be diplomatic in public even if there is a cold war raging within, so we can’t take that quote as absolute truth. But my impression wasn’t based on that CI quote. I just found it after quick googling to see if either of them have said anything on the topic in recent past. But as I said, I had never thought that they would have ceased to be friends just because one was dropped when the other was captain. I thought the current crop of players were above such pettymindedness. But then, I haven’t followed this issue that closely, so I have no idea what the media has written about it.

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

    Its the Indian captain who said so, and you said Sunday was nothing short of a fairy tale, with the PRINCE in it.
    I somehow wonder how some people started a hate campaign against DADA. It was stupid. I was posting like crazy on DADA exclusively during his comeback in South Africa a month back. I just hoped that he returned to the One Day scene and he did.

    It was disappointing thought not to to see him score a century. Though I have no personal hatred against Dravid and I consider him among the modern greats of the game but this DADA episode has made me hate a lil bit, and that what worries me sometimes, because I would like to see Dada back as captain, chappel out as coach. Another thing, Dada will make a fantastic coach someday.

  45. @RahulGhosh
    You may be right about RD, but I don’t know what it has to do with my comments on SG.

    @GreatBong
    This is all you could come up with? Bashing me for my spelling mistakes. I am using Chinese keyboard here with faded letters.

    @Vaibhav
    You are right about Greatbong. Not only Dada but anything related to Bengalis, he goes overboard.

  46. @Mohan :
    Harping on the same string time and again….
    “other batsmen didn’t do much either, but that doesn’t mean Ganguly’s performance was extraordinary”….huh?

    Logic just fails to beat some people for they are beyond any logic….

    And, to prove how friendly RD has been with SG, all you have is a crooked story from crookinfo?
    Come on, man….at least have the decency of presenting some more authentic citation.

  47. @debolin: Not sure what logic you are talking about. Remember, context was comparing Ganguly’s performance with what Amarnath did in ’82, not with what other batsmen did in RSA. You have already agreed that the two don’t compare, so I am not sure what the issue is.

    As for the CI quote, no, I don’t have any more “authentic” citation, but since that quote from Dravid has been dismissed as him being diplomatic, I don’t see how it will have any more value if Dravid had said that to say, BBC instead of CI.

  48. GB, I think Mohan has made some good points. As much as it thrilled me, it is too early to put Sourav’s comeback in the same category as Amarnath’s. Your larger point about the way he has fought back into the side is quite valid though.

    I definitely think Sourav was in denial about his batting form for a long time and he failed to lift the team starting with the Pakistan series at home a couple of years ago. I still think about what might have happened if he had regained his form back then.

    I’m surprised at some of the vicious Dravid bashing from some commenters. Anyhow, let’s not jump to all sorts of conclusions about personal relations between players based on media garbage. In any case, it doesn’t matter if relations between the two have really soured, as long as they are professional enough as colleagues in the team.

  49. @ Mohan:
    Yes, I agree those two can’t be compared. And I had explained too why I thought so.
    The circumstances were drastically different in both cases.
    Putting everything together, by no means, by no logical explanation, can Ganguly’s efforts against RSA and WI be undermined. He stod tall against all odds when it mattered most. He scored his runs with the tail in RSA and he played majestically in his comeback ODI after 17 months.

    As far as the quote from Dravid is concerned, I agree with you and some others on that he was just being diplomatic. But, judging from there consistent track record, I disagree to take anything from Crookinfo, whose sole objective to exist in this world is to worship Dravid Chappell and to blame everything bad in Indian cricket on Ganguly just because the former writes a regular column for them helping their site get more ‘hits’ while the latter doesn’t.

  50. GreatBong G

    I am myself a great fan of dada. But he is not in because of his capability. The team started performing badly. SO I guess he has been lucky. Even if he had not scored he wud still be there!

  51. @RahulGhosh
    I have changed my ID from RichAndFamous to BrokeAndPoor.

    Now would you tell me what my comments on SG’s average innings have to do with RD’s low scores??

  52. @RichandFamous or BrokeAndPoor

    Let’s settle this once and for all…

    You said, “Few average innings in South Africa and one good innings in India can’t be labelled as comeback. Indian players are always “Sher” at home.”

    I said, “how does SRT’s average or RD’s average in the recent SA series compare to SG’s?”

    My point is, if you choose to label SG’s performances in SA as ‘average’, perhaps you will have something to say about the below-average performances of the rest of the stalwarts of our fames batting line-up…namely RD and SRT.

  53. GB,
    I would love to see that Dada becomes an inspiration to youths across the country. And probably he is, to a few outside the community. But unfortunately, many non-Bengalis hate him and believe that he is surviving only due to the support of West Bengal’s politicians. I have seen such sentiments too much in many blogs like CNN-IBN.
    Many people take every opportunity to marginalise us and humiliate us for reasons I am yet to figure out. And Sourav Ganguly is the often the starting point for such things.
    I want people of Bengal to admit the fact that there is a strong lobby against us in almost all spheres and that has to be retaliated back. It is most unfortunate but I have seen in quite a few places, people referring to him as ‘bangali’ instead of Dada or Sourav.
    In your own words, people to abuse Ganguly more often do the same to Bengalis. And people who abuse him cannot make him as their role-model.

  54. My Problem is with Ganguly being too meek in the team…I mean…he is a captin..and if he scores the way he is now…it is ust time before the shout for him back as Captain are back……and I think he ( Ganguly) knows it on some level too…so why is he being so meek..

    Come on DADA…you are the man…..and I bet no one will doubt his place in the team now..shout out..Dravid as a captain suc**…

  55. @BrokeAndPoor/RichAndFamous: My intention was not to make fun of your spelling mistake but of what you said . If it was the typo I would have double-quoted it. Now wrt SG scoring 13 today, so what does that prove? He should be dropped? He has not made a comeback? Well what about SRT’s 0? Does that mean he should be dropped also? SG’s comeback was in South Africa when he emerged as India’s leading runscorer against possibly the best bowling attack in the world now on their own pitches.

    @Vaibhav: “Though no doubt he did hit a fine knock, but then it was RD who made the difference, 54 off 35 balls and dhoni with 62 on 42 balls; Remember the difference b/w india and windies was only 14 runs”

    Ahem. By your logic, SG made 98. Deduct that from the score and what do you get? RD and Dhoni built on the foundation built by SG and Gambhir. If they had not done what they did, do you think that attack at the end would have materialized? Incidentally, I did not say that Ganguly played the greatest innings in history—just that it was great how he came back despite all that has happened. Kindly try to understand the subtle difference between the two.

  56. For all you nut-jobs who cannot look beyond Bengali-ness, here is what Sunil Gavaskar says about Sourav Ganguly.
    (http://in.sports.yahoo.com/cricket/sunilgavaskar58.html)

    What can one say about Ganguly, other than the fact that he is silencing all those who doubted he had an international career left. He was superb as he carved the Windies bowling as only he can. If this knock doesn’t prove that there was injustice done to him in omitting him from the limited-overs squad, then nothing will. The way he has returned to the Indian team, it could well be a massive irony if his batting and occasional bowling make India rediscover its winning ways and thus end up saving the job of the person who has tried every trick in the book and some underhand ones too to finish the prince of Kolkata’s career.

    Yes all you wise men. Go and tell Sunil Gavaskar the greatness of Rahul Dravid’s innings and how it was the only thing that turned the match. Go tell him that Sourav’s innings was not a “comeback”. Go and tell him that Sourav deserved to be dropped when he was (as Gavaskar says: injustice done to him in omitting him from the limited-over squad) And more importantly, go and call him a parochial Bengali.
    ——–

    GB, I posted this comment originally in the wrong comment thread. Could you kindly remove it from there? Thanks.

  57. @Sanjay: Yes, i know, but what has that to do anything with what i said about sourav? Or are you suggesting that with sourav in team, the results would have been different? India lost the way they did, because they have had collective slump in the batting fortunes and indifferent bowling

  58. Arnab, that last part made me cry 😦
    No matter what the man does there are always gonna be a bunch of idiots who will say stuff like. “Oh but this was a good experience for him and he learnt his lesson.” I hate how they make it sound like this was some sort of punishment period and now he’s back after having learnt his lesson almost like he owes Chappal for conducting this wonderful experiment! I mean wtf?

    I’m pretty sure you’ve read what Gavaskar had to say. For anyone else who hasn’t:

    “What can one say about Ganguly, other than the fact that he is silencing all those who doubted he had an international career left. He was superb as he carved the Windies bowling as only he can. If this knock doesn’t prove that there was injustice done to him in omitting him from the limited-overs squad, then nothing will. The way he has returned to the Indian team, it could well be a massive irony if his batting and occasional bowling make India rediscover its winning ways and thus end up saving the job of the person who has tried every trick in the book and some underhand ones too to finish the prince of Kolkata’s career.”

  59. @GB: Great post.

    @Mohan: Not sure that the relationship between Dravid and Ganguly is not what it used to be. Dravid seems to be wary of Ganguly’s ‘disruptive influence’ on the team. For instance, just compare Dravid’s and Lara’s comments on Ganguly’s knock; Lara was effusive, while Dravid seemed to be measuring his words very carefully. And of course, there was the Sreesanth incident in SA:

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070106/asp/sports/story_7227496.asp

    All’s not well between the two, for certain. Also seems to me that Ganguly’s bending over backward to avoid problems – whether it be in his interviews, or on the field.

  60. Shan,

    Sriram “Dravid is always correct” Veera’s latest gem…
    http://content-ind.cricinfo.com/indvwi/content/current/story/277557.html

    I quote from the above article on KD Karthik’s knock.

    It helped that Rahul Dravid was batting when he walked in. Although they added only 20 runs, Dravid’s calmness and confidence rubbed off on him.

    Cricinfo is rooting for the Chappel-Dravid duo shamelessly. It is only bettered by Outlook’s sycophancy for Congress in general and Sonia-Rahul in particular.

  61. Ganguly may be un-Bengali but what is clear is Sandipan Deb is a pucca Bengali – ever willing to provoke a needless debate where none exists. And as a fellow Bengali, I can only say that he lived up to the traditions of the great bongs.
    The theory of certain communities being ‘martial race’ is a hoax. It was one of many theories invented by the British, probably to segregate Indians. There isn’t any basis of calling one community a martial race or even a war-monger and another one docile or lazy. The academic basis for such theories is as good as the Aryan invasion theory. Basing arguments on such theories is ridiculous…

  62. Inspite of his talent and determination, would Dada have been in the team if not for that meeting with Sharad Pawar and a convenient stab on Dalmiya’s back?
    I wonder why the liberal, unbiased people here dont discuss that?
    What transpired in that meeting? Why did Ganguly have to blame Dalmiya for the Chappell email-leak?
    What did Sharad Pawar offer Dada?
    These are questions I would expect an unbiased observer to have asked. Greatbong is supposed to be one such specimen. But I didnt find him ever talking about that meeting. Suppose Rahul Dravid had done a similar thing, does GB hismelf think he wouldnt have attributed motives to RD. GB, ofcoruse you will have some long-winded explanation for this – but if you were as unbiased and self-critical as your fans believe, you would introspect on that.

  63. And I dont mean to say that he is in the team because of backroom politics – I am merely saying that without indluging in that little bit of backstabbing politics, he wouldnt have found his way back into the team even if he scored mountains of runs – afterall, Sharad Pawar is a wily politician, isnt he? He sure would have screwed Dada if Dada didnt compromise with him and let down Dalmiya, who was a staunch supporter of Dada all the time.

  64. to be truthful… me thinks gavaskar is bengali… after all his son plays for bengal… and ganguly, by sheer regional parochialism made sure he entered the India team… no doubt Gavaskar has a soft corner for him…so what if he has scored 10000 test runs? does he

    as far as dravid is concerned…. of course he is the greatest ever player… he calms down karthik… he read the pitch perfectly… scored 27 valuable runs… remember India won by only by 20 odd runs, which were all Dravid’s… take that Dravid haters…

    what comeback… Ganguly was deservedly dropped… ever since coming back he has been out for a duck in south africa… how can u call it a comeback at all….

    Ganguly is actually the symbol of Bengali uselessness…

  65. >> Quota for the East in 94? Where did that come from? Why did the quota not exist in 1993?

    @GreatBong,

    I recall quota based selection since quite some time. There used to be one selector for each zone. Exact year, I dont know.

    Also, Ganguly first made an entry in 1994, I suppose. Then he was out of the team. Then he was included again. Isnt it so? The second time he came in, quota might be in force.

  66. >> The academic basis for such theories is as good as the Aryan invasion theory. Basing arguments on such theories is ridiculous…

    @Dipayan,

    True. Aryan theory is a creation of Leftist Historians (sorry Dealer) , and not scientists and archaeologists (who refute it).

  67. @ All,

    Just for information, I want to know why would Chappell want to finish off Ganguly (like so many people here said). I see no reason for it. I can understand Dravid, Pawar and Dalmiya might be (or might not be) involved in the politics, but what does Chappell have to gain?

    I dont think Chappell had any enmity against Ganguly. In fact, Ganguly favoured Chappell as coach. Was Chappell acting on someone else’s behalf? Maybe someone powerful enough to influence and control Chappell. Or something happened that created enmity between Ganguly and Chappell.

    Also, Dravid ko nikalo, Sehwag ko nikalo, Dhoni ko nikalo, Sachin ko nikalo, Ganguly ko nikalo…. To fir daaloge kisko team mein ???

    @ Shan,

    >>Umm…so according to you neither SA nor WI are serious contenders.

    SA is. WI isnt. Atleast on home pitches.

    @GreatBong,

    >>By your logic, SG made 98. Deduct that from the score and what do you get? RD and Dhoni built on the foundation built by SG and Gambhir.

    Atleat for once, all of them contributed. Thankfully.

  68. @ shadows…

    u proved my point… btw.. the Aryan Invasion Theory was generally propoagated by Max Mueller, who was by no stretch a leftist… unless u r sayin all historians are leftist…

    actually keeping ganguly out of the team was a great benagli communist conspiracy… as he was proving the bengali stereotype of lazyness and lack of initiative as incorrect and may have… shudder… encouraged foreign investment

  69. Awesome post again. I thinks Ganguly’s life will make an awesome movie in the lines of ‘cindrella man’ – wish someone makes it. Somehow it never stops surprising me how some ppl have such anti ganguly biases – for gods sake, wat has he done to deserve comments like the one from Mohan or Rich n Famous?? All doors were shut on him, they tried to break the man but failed. is it Sg’s fault tht he has succeded where lesser mortals would hav chickened out? dunno wat to say to ppl like Mohan or Rich n Famous – or shld one bother at all. a crude translation of a proverb I heard somewhere – Dogs will always bark from a distance when a tiger walks by.

  70. >> u proved my point… btw.. the Aryan Invasion Theory was generally propoagated by Max Mueller, who was by no stretch a leftist…

    But the current bunch of “so-called” historians are. Do you realize that they are the ones who are also involved with stupid concepts like aryans, dravidians, martial and non-martial races, lazy bengalis, cunning cheating gujaratis, miserly marwaris etc. In real life, I have seen people professing leftism and secularism are a lot more racist and bigoted.

    >> keeping ganguly out of the team was a great benagli communist conspiracy

    As regards your commie conspiracy to keep Ganguly out, no comments. BTW, why just Bengali, commies exist all over India.

  71. gavaskar is bengali

    That is obvious from his name, isn’t it? Gavas Kar. And Sourav is back only because the chief selector is another Bengali – Veng Sarkar? Look at Kopil Deb and Amar Nath. Haven’t they spoken in favor of Sourav as well? The bongs are everywhere.

  72. Nice debate going on. However the fact is that Ganguly was never actually dropped from the Indian side. Had he not gone to the press about GC after the century at Bulawayo, the animosity between GC and SG wouldn’t have gone to that level.

    GC has everything to gain from Ganguly’s omission from the side. As a cunning pro, he knows very well that if India performs badly, but Ganguly scores runs, the pressure would on the selectors to remove RD as captain and replace him with SG. With SG at the helm, GC cant do his things his way. The emotional SG would be very much unlike the meek Rahul. Despite indignations and criticism, Chappell gets about 300k USD many other benefits from BCCI. RD as captain safeguards his position much more than SG as captain.

    @Mohan- SG’s comeback is being compared to Mohinder’s in the early 80’s is done in the manner and not quantity or quality of opposition. As far as pressure is concerned, I would say that they were under almost equal pressure when making their comebacks. Regarding Dravid- yes he played since under 19s …but then who wants competition. But captaincy is very much like gold- who wants to leave it. And temptation for gold makes people like the FC Dobbs character in ‘Treasure of Sierra Madre’ transform. If you and your best pal were both contenders for Indian cricket’s no.1 position, I bet that there would be strain in your friendship. Rahul’s silence during Saurav’s absence was more a confirmation of his acknowledgment of SG’s absence. Plus many small things during the Pakistan test tour, and the recent SA tour and ” Zyada nahin Dadi” makes it abundantly clear that we are witnessing SG RD friendship v.2 , which is quite different from their first version when they first played for India.

    Ganguly’s first entry: I distinctly remember the tri series and the WC in 1992. The most vivid memory of course is of course Ravi Shastri’s batting (sic). I shall never forgive that mo-fo SOB for scoring 25 runs from 67 to successfully kick start India’s futile chase when they went down by a solitary run.
    http://www.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/WORLD_CUPS/WC92/LEAGUE/AUS_IND_WC92_ODI12_01MAR1992.html
    Ganguly was never given a look after 1 match. power of media to malign: Evidence 1: There were reports about his attitude and his temperament. Who knows, he might as well have scored 15000 runs in odis now had he not been dropped hotly. After that ignominy in Aus and SA, the BCCI and Ajit Wadekar and India under Azza played for a period of 3-4 years continously at home when they built a much vaunted spin attack just like WI pace attack. several tournaments were won like the Hero Cup, Wills cup, and other umpteen cups sponsored by ITC. Many people like VG Kambli were heralded as India’s next batting thing. Heh. Soon it was found that Kambli’s attitude and temperament were like a slum boy who had just seen the stars unexpectedly. Against better attacks, he was brutally exposed.

    Ganguly’s second entry: 1996. Definitely on the basis on quota. But theres nothing asahmed about it. As so many Bombay players went through quota. Take Paras Mhambrey. His bowling on that tour made the English press roll with laughter. Could he have made it to Indian team if he was say from Meghalaya? Fuck it. Forget it. If I remember correctly, Sambaran was the selector who inducted Ganguly.
    Power of media to malign: Evidence 2:That chameleon like Bhogle and Ravi fucking Shastri on an ESPN show called Inside Edge. Ravi: “Oh hes a roshogolla. He will just be a passenger.” And a passenger he would have been definitely barring Sidhu’s withdrawal from that tour citing differences with Azza and Manjarekar’s injury. That Lord’s test could have been his first as well his last. Failure would mean perpetual oblivion. Thats why that his debut century was his best comeback. This one was inspirational, but that one was make or break. Initially branded as a test player who was unfit for the shorter version of the game, he flourished after being promoted to open in the Jaipur match in the Titan Cup match agaisnt South Africa. He raced to several thousand ODI runs and in 2000 was actually the best ODI batsman in the world. Wisden noted his feat and in a list of all time great ODI batters ..yes all time great ODI batters. If I remember correctly, he raced to 9000 runs quicker than anybody else. He went on to become India’s most successful captain, a captain above regionalism, the highlights being the series in Aus in 04 and the series victory in Pak, where we had hitherto not even won a single test match and the march towards the final in WC 2003.

    After the 2004 century agaisnt Aus in 2004 to May 2005- True his form dipped and his captaincy was a bit obstinate as he blindly backed players he liked like Patel while ignoring people like Chopra. But Ganguly was never dropped..he couldnt have been dropped had he only played the challengers. power of media to malign: Evidence 3: Ravi fucking Shastri ” Better drop him.” An injurred Ganguly wasn’t picked for the first 2 ODI’s and was subsequently overlooked. After the new GC RD duo won some facile tourneys in India, a section of the media led by Crookinfo led the propaganda: new age in Indian cricket. Youth like YV Rao and S Raina who would go on to be Mark and Steve Waugh of Indian cricket….brilliant captaincy of RD….cunning acumen of Chappell….so all that was wrong with Indian cricket was SG…he was the root of all evil…he was evil himself. A false and unsubstantiated story was circulated: he malingered in Nagpur, strange considering the fact that he didnt do so in Brisbane or MCG. India went on to win outside subcontinent in WI, a statistical achievement considering that the the tie in Aus in 04 and in Pak in 04 were much better victories. Ganguly was not discussed and was nowhere in the scene. The legendary selector More said : ” We are looking into the future”. Which is fine with me. But it smacked of more of a future without one particular man. Rest irrespective of age were OK. In a situation like that could Saurav’s comeback be envisaged? Even the ardent fan wouldnt bet on his ass about that. But something strange happened- the ‘talented’ youth floundered. India lost a few series and pressure was on RD and GC and in a way Cricinfo. Ganguly did what one had to be alive in a politics riddled atmosphere of Indian cricket- was on good terms with Pawar and scored runs in the domestic scene. SG and Dinesh Karthik should be immensely grateful to Pollock, Nel and Ntini for the way they clinically deconstructed the Cricinfo propagated ad of new age of Indian batting in SA. They said Ganguly could not play fast stuff…and well well…in SA it was seen that others weren’t that good either. 🙂 Ganguly had to be bought back. He could be ignored, but not his looming presence and achievements as captain and player. But the odds were against him. A test series in SA is no joke. Could he make a comeback?

    Ganguly’s second entry- Top scorer in tests in SA. Several Volta- faces happen. Ravi fucking Shaz writes in his syndicated column: “let the others be inspired by Ganguly”. Crookinfo goes quiet. Sachin Tendulkar lambasted for his performance in Cape Town. Sehwag struggling. Could the unthinkable happen? Ganguly back in ODI’s. And how would he respond to this pressure and challenge? He did get back…and responded with a near century. Now he will go to the World cup too, a wish he had oft repeated whilst in wilderness and one which seemed to be an utopian one at that time. What will happen next? I wouldnt dare to bet, but would rather sit back and enjoy. GB, this was a true fairy tale…and set in harsh reality.

  73. Dont term it a legendary comeback. Not yet. If he fails in two or three back to back games, the knives will be waiting.

    The lower you fall, the higher you have to rise. Point is, he needs to keep on scoring like he did in the 1st ODI .. consistently !

  74. @manu: “Cricketers have sold their souls AND their fairy tales”

    Indeed they have. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but what is sad though is that people continue to believe that these junk food and white goods salesmen are “playing for the country” and supporting them is considered a patriotic act!

    @yourfan2: Even in terms of pressure, I don’t think there was anything extraordnary in Ganguly’s case. The only unusual and unsavoury aspects of Ganguly episode were Greg Chappell’s leaked letter and More’s comments about never picking Ganguly again. As far as Chappell’s letter is concerned, BCCI immediately cleared Ganguly of all the charges made in that letter and he even continued to play after that leaked letter episode. As for More, Ganguly has been around long enough to realize that selectors have a limited term and he would obviously have rated the chances of More making way to someone else after a year’s term being fairly high – he played his cards right too, by distancing himself from Dalmiya and patching up with Pawar. Besides, Ganguly had already had a successful career, had led India with distinction for nearly 6 years and had secured a very comfortable financial future. So even in that sense, pressure on him was far less than someone who is dropped in the initial or middle stages of his career. Sure, he didn’t give up, he continued to believe he could come back to the Indian team and did. But that’s what any sportsman would do. Kumble has been dropped from one-day team many times and was even dropped from Test team in West Indies in 2002. But has he given up? Ofcourse he hasn’t. Some of his best test performances have come in last 5 years and he still believes he can play 2007 world up at the age of 37. After all, this is their job and most of them do try their best to keep it as long as they can. Ofcourse, some of them like Harmison or Srinath may not have that kind of motivation and give up at the first hint of failure, but those are the exceptions, not the norm. You want examples of really great comebacks made under pressure? You don’t even have to go back all the way to Mohinder Amarnath. Consider Harbhajan who made his debut in ’98. Just when he was looking to make a permanent place in the team, his action was questioned, had to undergo the humiliation of “getting his action corrected” etc. But what a great comeback he made in 2001 home series against Australia bagging 32 wickets against the world champions. Or take Laxman. He scored a scintillating 167 in Sydney in 2000 against the awesome Australian attack on their pitch, one of the only two centurions for India in that series. But then he failed in one-day series, came back and got just one test against South Africa and was promptly dropped. He went back to domestics and scored 5 consecutive hundreds including a 300 against Karnataka in semis and a 100 in Irani trophy. For which he got a test against Zimbabwe and was dropped again. He again went back to Ranji’s and scored another 4 hundreds from 5 matches or something. Because of that awesome run, he got a chance to bat in the middle order against Aussies in 2001 home series and he capitalized on it by playing possibly the greatest ever knock by any Indian in the Kolkatta test. Now that’s what a great comeback is – grit and determination to put up huge scores in the domestics when dropped unfairly and then undoubtedly great knock under pressure against one of the best attacks in the world. How does Ganguly’s comeback so far rate against those two comebacks? You be the judge.

    Another factor cited here is media comments against Ganguly. Frankly, I haven’t read much of what media has written in the last year, but most players learn to ignore the media by their second or third year in international cricket. They realize that it is part of the business – just as it is their job to go out and play to help grab eyeballs for their sponsors, it is media’s job to try and fill the pages to help sell copues. I will be surprised if Ganguly, a veteran of 10 years, is even remotely affected by what the press writes about him.

  75. It was like a managing director who had headed a company for five years with distinction trying to rejoin again. Ganguly deserves a gold medal for mental strengh and resilience. Considering that he has over 1000o runs in one day cricket and also among the maximum fours and sixes record, one wonders why he was not brought to one day cricket earlier. A nation which does not know how to treat its sports heros ,especially one who has been a great leader can hardly expect good political leaders. I wrote a poem on his comeback to the Pakistan tour in December’2005-http://hirenshah.wordpress.com/2005/12/24/poem-the-return-of-saurav-ganguly/. It has more relevance now.

  76. @yourfan2, GB: I am again on a secret mission sent by Captain Sparks, battling the villainous Ssugaar and his ally Preshaar with their new assistants Stroker-Moton, Aginar-Moton and Saaraa-Gaaye-Adbhut-Byathaa. Anyway interrupting all that to come on board and say, RANADEB! Come on GB, write, the time is NOW! Let’s avert another blatant tragedy.

  77. @GB, yourfan2: The above post was from me. From a cybercafe far away from Girish Ch De’s (inventor of karapak) but in the same vicinity, so sent without signing off… Fighting Ssugaar at fag end of winter here is tough! But importantly, the Big Bose should be in! By the way, a fancshaan is on just outside where the Kishore kanthis sang HR, but before I had apoplexy, they have just redeemed themselves by singing the greatest composition of all time AS IT WAS MEANT to be sung, i.e. “Joobie, Joobie, Joobie!”

  78. @Ranjan- Enjoy the notun gur sandesh as much as you can. Next time I am in Calcutta, I will have at least 30 at one go.

    Bose cannot simply be ignored if he fires on all cylinders in the Ranji final against Mumbai…in fact….i wish him luck to just that. But even after this if hes not picked for the England tour, it will be another instance in the long list of historical wrongs against players from our region. Also Manoj Tiwari should be given a chance in the A team immediately.

    Some players are so fuckin’ lucky. Take Suresh Raina for example. It is quite amazing that how some players are retained even after multiple chances where they don’t perform. But say a player like Tiwari…will he ever get a chance..ever?…you cant say yes for sure. Cricinfo as usual is quiet about the Raina episode.

    But from their quote unquote section:

    “Whatever talent the team management has seen in Raina, the youngster has done well to conceal it on the international stage.”
    Krish Srikkanth questions Suresh Raina’s presence in the team

    Sri doesnt often make sense… but this time his logic was impeccable.

  79. Lets fast-forward a bit. Where next for Dada? Should he bow out in pride after the WC? Or soon thereafter? Or does he wait, in which case, there’s a non-zero chance, given his age, that a bad patch may come up sooner than later and the pressure to quit intesify? Or worse, force the selectors hand. Or even worse, in my books, become like Kapil cos they can’t drop (oh no, not again, the whole mess) him.

    We cant know what Dada has in mind, but what would you, his fans, want?

  80. gola hoyeche bandhu…
    ebare chappel r dravid ke tarate hobe…
    let it be a new revolution against dirty politics
    and a resurrection of the glorious days of Indian cricket.
    cheers – in the name of dada!

  81. @GB: I just got back from Cal, and watched two days of the Ranji final on TV. Ranadeb took 4-77 in the first innings, 5-71 in the second. 57 wickets this season, that’s the most, by the way, the best economy and the most lethal and effective. At 52 he equalled Utpal Chatterjee. If no action is taken, not only will he become a pace bowling Utpal,because he’s already 27. In fact at the moment he stands at the cusp of becoming another Samir Chakravarty (Samir who, as they ask now) or Amitav Roy (now who’s that?) or…. Note that I think Saurav Sarkar is excellent too, great swing and bounce, but he doesn’t have the figures yet, so no point in lobbying for him just yet. Besides he’s 23 so we can wait. But Ranadeb’s time is now. Now, how much more evidence do you need before you write in for him? This guy by right should be in the WC 11 leave alone the WC 30. In my humble and concerted opinion, with this record, if he was Randev Singh or Randev Bahutule or Randiva Shetty he would have been opening the Indian attack long ago. His handicap is that he is Ranadeb Bose. You need to speak up for him and now!

  82. Are you extremely positive there is no Randev Singh , or a R Bahutale or a R Shetty somewhere playing in some part of the country and is inconspicuous like our Ranadeb Bose? If your answer is yes or maybe, then we do not have much to worry about. But if your answer is no, then why so? Shouldn’t we get into the crux of the matter that why such discrimination is happening. I don’t know whether people from every region thinks that they are being discriminated or is it just us, bongs. Why interest of the region preponderates the interest of the country? On the other hand I do believe that if you are really good then nothing should hold you back , atleast nothing could hold Sourav back, Right? I understand everybody is not Sourav and I also understand there may not be a simplistic answer for this but someday I hope GB would bring up a discussion on this topic that why people of our country are parochial (since , this word comes up very often in RTDM) even the new generations, despite the fact that borders are dissipating. I have not been watching cricket for a long time but atleast to me one simple explanation makes sense that may be the competition is too much and to select the first eleven or fifteen is a tough job for the selectors and may be that is the reason why many good players are missing out on the national team. One thing for sure if really an anti Bengali feeling is going around the country, what could be the reason? If just having a last name of Mukherjee, Deb, Bose, Ghosh, Sen means you are doomed, then what should we do to change such perception? Hope GB would bring up the discussion soon.

  83. Ranjan, There are several players from other reasons who havent gotten chance either. GaganDeep Singh has much better record than Rana but have hardly gotten any chances. Rana no doubt has done quite well this season his lack of pace is going to against him. So instead of pushing him into the Indian team i would prefer he first prove himself against A teams.

  84. suzi: It doesn’t make any commercial sense for bcci to discriminate against any particular region either. In fact it is the other way round. What they don’t want to have is any region not being represented in the team, because they know that most people are parochial and the interest in every state will be higher if there is a player from that state playing in the team. Which is why they have a zonal selection system and generally make sure that players from all zones are in the team (sometimes even marginally sacrificing on the quality of the team). So, if there is a discrimination against Bengal, is it because bcci thinks Bengal market is not worth worrying about? I doubt that.

  85. @Suzi and Vick: Presenting a link for all the statistics of this Ranji season:
    http://www.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/2006-07/IND_LOCAL/RJI-SUPER/STATS/
    @Suzi: Consider that Joginder Sharma gets a chance to play the Windies in an ODI and Ranadeb is out? Ramesh Powar is in and Ranadeb is out? I will come back to this discussion at greater length soon, but please look at the statistics in the meantime and ponder the issue. Yes, there is discrimination, blatant discrimination.
    @Vick: In the 2006-7 season that is on at the moment, I am afraid Ranadeb is clearly superior to Gagandeep. Ranadeb has the maximum wickets, the best averages among the bowlers, and has critical performances like the 7-28 against Karnataka. He has done a 7 wicket haul twice this season. leave alone 7 wickets, Gagandeep has not done a 5 wicket haul ONCE this season, and Ranadeb has done so six times. Gagandeep and VRV Singh have both been given chances which Ranadeb has not. Having said that, and from an overall career perspective it is likely that Gagandeep has more matches and wickets but he is nowhere in the picture this season. Besides he is 25 and Ranadeb is 27. Honestly Gagandeep appears to be at the level of Saurav Sarkar, who I think is a very good bowler, but there is no way we can aver at current form and in the current run up to the World Cup that there is any comparison between Ranadeb and him.
    @Mohan: BCCI and sense? Commercial or otherwise?

  86. @Ranjan: I have watched Ranji finals too and it gave me a good opportunity to watch Bose in action. Suffice it to say that he is very impressive. Quite obviously he has modeled his bowling on Jason Gillespie. His run up is nice and I especially like the hustle at the start. But his pace is about 130ish, which isnt bad but not exactly hot either. But pace is secondary to his type of his bowling as he is a genuine swing and cut bowler and can bowl like a workhorse later on by bowling in the right lengths in the channel. Now I think that this current chairman of selectors , Dilip Vengie is a more consistent person than his predecessor, that fucker called More. He basically said that they did not pick Ranadeb as they picked bowlers suited to the One day format. Now think about it logically. One dayers is harsh and especially harsh on swing bowlers. A nice outswinger can be called a wide and the field placings can mean that edges to Test Cricket type catching positions can go to boundaries. I am not saying that he wont work in One dayers but there is no way he could have made it to the WC 15. Think of the WC 15. Zaheer is definitely going. Ajit Agarakar- now believe it or not, this is his third WC…yes fucking 3rd. Mark Waugh has also played 3 WCs. He is and will remain a potential “allrounder” and no one knows the days he will go for 1-70 or 3-44. However, such is the state of things that Agarkar will remain. Sreesanth is disappointing at ODI level, but bowled well in Pakistan and has sufficient exposure in international cricket. Plus his performance in SA virtually ensured his WC berth, even though he has not bowled anywhere like that in ODIs. Munaf Patel will definitely go as he is a very good One day bowler with his yorkers and ability to hit the right lengths, although I just feel that his bowling has waned a bit after the last season. The fifth seamer’s position will definitely go to Irfan Pathan, who even though currently a shadow of what he was in Pakistan and Aus in 04, just has to go for the same reasons that Virender Sehwag cannot be left out. Therefore, Bose had little chance to make it to the 15 but leaving him out of the 30 was unfair, as he has time and again pointed out with his consistent performances.

    Actually, even though the Indian team mgmt billed the series vs wi and sl as experiments, I didnt think that enough experiments have been done. I mean a 2-2 tie vs wi would not matter vis a vis a 3-1 win in the long run, but the wc is what counts. Joginder was picked and dropped just like that. Where will he go from here? How much potential does he have? Will we find out? From Bose’s perspective , think about this…say he is picked for a odi against WI on a track like Nagpur and goes for 1-60 in 10….he would have definitely been dropped and shunned. I actually think that Bose actually should be happy that hes not in the current ODis as realistically he would never have travelled to West Indies. His time will definitely come in England, in conditions helpful to his kind of bowling. Plus unless a miracle happens, India will not win the World Cup and some fast men heads will roll. Now for the next series, if selectors bring their judgement to the table, R Bose is an automatic selection. Even the national and Mumbai press praised his bowling and why even Cricinfo did a feature on him. The thing which worries me is the statement i read in Anandabazar that Greg Chappell is not excited about him. I am not wont to give credence to a random statement like that, but its plain fact that Chappell’s likes and dislikes for certain players have influenced the selection committee very well. Starting from his reluctance to bring back Ganguly and the patronizing of his wonder boy Raina.

    Having said that, I completely agree that if he was a player for Mumbai, say Rana Bhaote, he would have definitely been in the squad. People may yank about bullshit about how every region wants his players to be team India, but his record speaks for itself. Now im not saying Saurashish For Harbhajan, but a performer who has played very very well and deserves his chance. Ranadeb also came across as a intelligent boelwer who could bowl defensively if he wants toand I have this gut feeling that he will play for India colours soon.

    ——-
    In the same Ranji trophy final, I also enjoyed immensely the batting of the 21 year old youngster, Manoj Tiwari. In my book hes many time more talented than that Chappell-Dravid touted wonder kid of Indian cricket- Suresh Kumar Raina. But thats the irony called Indian cricket- you may be live on in the Indian team either due to regional factors or the blessings vested on you by the captain and coach (Azhar’s pref for his gunsell Raju and Utpal’s non- selection being a case); and yet you may be a deserving player but may find yourself perpetually out of the selector’s favour. No that not life, thats just Indian Cricket. I sincerely hope that this does not happen with Ranadeb.

    —–

  87. @ranjan: ok, so what you are saying is bcci is running this huge billion dollar business, but they don’t really care about their bottomline as long as they can satisfy their urge to spite the Bengalis? hmm. strange.

    hmm. thinking about it, I think I have an explanation. It is that Bengal fans are not parochial enough. See, it is like this. Most other state fans are extremely parochial and they watch cricket only if their state player is in the team. We kannadigas are the greediest – there has to be atleast 2-3 kannadigas in the team for us to turn on the tv. BCCI knows this and that’s why they make sure we have a good representation in the team. But Bengal fans aren’t like that. They watch irrespective of how many Bengalis are in the team. BCCI also knows this, so they think, “Oh these suckers will watch anyway, why waste a spot for them. We might as well use that spot to lure in viewers from some other state”. Net result – no bengali players in the team. So what is the solution? Simple. Bengali fans need to get stronger. Let bcci know that they can’t take you for granted and stop watching cricket until there is a good representation for the state. Till then take your eyeballs to English Premier League or Hockey or anything other than cricket. That will teach those bcci guys to not ill-treat Bengal players again.

  88. @yourfan2, GB: Ranadeb has just won the Ceat tyres Domestic Cricketer of the Year award, Manoj Tiwary the Domestic Batsman of the Year award. Recognition trickling in. But still nowhere near the WC 30.
    @Suzi: Don’t you think there’s a point to be pondered here.

  89. @RC
    Yes , you made your point that Ranadeb should be given a chance. I do not doubt that and that’s what baffles me. So what is stopping this talented player from being in the national team is a question which definitely needs to be pondered. I am a laymen in this issue, but is it that the powerful lobbyist are not representing the region? Cricket is the game of money and power, so what is making our region lack that or is it something else?

    Iam not saying that the selectors are free of any kind of prejudice, but to hold that as an absolute reasoning is a logical fallacy or so I believe.

    One more thing I do have to add is that Iam a probashi Bengali, and all the years I had been watching cricket , it never occurred to me that why there was not a single player representing the eastern region before Sourav until I started reading GB’s blog ofcourse?

    Hey, why don’t we all do something – write Ranadeb’s name and injustice on a big red flag and wave it in front of our Mamata Di, the bull that she is, will start running after that issue leaving alone the Singur issue and let the CM bring some money into the state.

  90. @Suzi: Yes we should do something, which is what we are doing: we should write and flood the blogspace that we are aware of the injustice and we have noted it: we can act just like the Jewish Defense League — it cannot eradicate anti-Semistism, but can highlight it where it sees it overtly so at least decent folk don’t fall into it; similarly we can highlight this and show that we are vigilant. And please, Mamatadi is a self seeking politician and will do nothing that’s not in her self interest. She couldn’t care for Ranadeb Bose or for that matter, Dada.

  91. @GB: Indeed a fairy-tale return, one only a prince can script. This is the best article I have read on SG’s comeback. It celebrates excellence, and I fail to understand some of the criticisms that seem to focus on comparisons.

    @Suzi, Ranjan: Yes, we need to highlight seemingly baffling exclusions. Ever wondered whether the lack of representation of East Zone in the national cricketing contingent is sympotamtic of a greater malaise in the system? Budget allocations, for instance?

  92. @Ashok: We need to make our vigilance clear and fair so that decent people do not buy into this injustice. And let THEM know we are watching and we are not abashed to stick up for these folks. Read my comments. It happened to Utpal Chatterjee and a lot of others. Let it not happen to more.

  93. Pingback: mere funde » Blog Archive » Return of the Prince

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