When Dada announced his retirement under obvious pressure from the selectors, my first reaction, as a long-time fan, was a sense of disappointment. Once again in his life, Sourav Ganguly was being given a raw deal more so as  he has been playing some of his best cricket over the last few years and so should not have been the first in the firing line. (A small numbers argument here) Once the inevitability of the retirement sunk in, there were a wistful reminiscence about the defining moments of his career  and a grudging acceptance of what was to happen. His retirement was only a matter of time, if not this series then the one down the road. Given that reality, he deserved the chance to leave with his head held high and if indeed his neck was forever going to be on the chopping block, no matter what he scored, then at his age there was no need to let himself be subject to humiliation.

“There is no reason to get overtly sentimental”, I told myself. This attachment to our old heroes is like our attachment to a broken bat or an old greetings card and once we realize that their time is up, it should be logical to let them go.

And so why should we feel bad at Ganguly’s retirement? Sourav as a person had made millions from the game and is sure to have a very fulfilling post-cricket life whether it be as a businessman, or as a cricket administrator or a media personality or as is speculated the CPM candidate against Didi. Dada vs Didi—now that is one contest I would love to see and readers on this blog would know which side I will be rooting for. And it’s not as if I would never see him again, he would be in the black-and-gold uniform in the three-ring-circus of IPL very soon even though I knew that for Dada IPL would be like “exchanging a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage”.

Most importantly, at the age of 32, mature people should live by the wisdom of Govinda’s immortal words “Control yaar” when dealing with non-critical life issues like a favorite sportsman retiring. Only 22 year olds, who empathize with filmstars and cricketers as if they were their own flesh and blood, ought to lose sleep over such trivialities. Right?

For all these reasons , my sadness at Sourav’s retirement was muted to a large extent. Instead there was a prayer than his last series does not overwhelm him, that his performances do not dip alarmingly and that another opportunity is not presented to his haters (and there are many of them) to give him a kick in his teeth with a “We told you. He has been finished a long time ago”.

But that did not happen. Sourav had his best series ever against Australia, showing solidity in the middle order never letting his impending retirement cast a shadow over his performances, which was crowned with a century at Mohali and a throwing-back-the-years partnership with partner-in-crime Sachin Tendulkar.

Till we came to Nagpur. The end of the road. The place where his legacy was sought to be finished by lesser mortals many years ago.Would he emulate Guru Greg by scoring a century in his last and first match? Alas that was not to be as h fell for 85 in the first innings. No matter I thought; the six off Jason Krejza in his style of old was compensation enough for staying awake late at night. I smiled to myself when I heard people from Ganguly’s locality, Behala tell a Bengali channel that they would appeal to ICC to credit Ganguly with a century if he scored fifteen runs in the second innings. Really !

Not that Sourav gave his fans that chance. As the Australian fielders ran toward Jason Krejza as he came up with a caught and bowled, there was a fleeting moment of disbelief—surely this is not the way we thought it would end. That feeling was gone however as reality sunk in and as Sourav looked longingly at the sky for a brief second as a sign of thanksgiving or heavenly reproach and then walked off, rapidly, without any show of emotion and with not even a bat raised to the sky, still visibly cross with himself, all I thought was “Oh no India is going to lose this one”.

The next day of course my fears were proven to be unfounded.  The series was wrapped up. Ganguly was raised onto the shoulders. He was mercifully not asked to speak (at least I did not catch it) and was “left alone with his glory”. The best moment of the night for me was to see the Fab Four together, side by side, wreathed in smiles, all together in the team for one last time, —-like all great bands, they had their moments of discord but what music had they given us, what memories !

Of course the last most poignant moment was Ganguly, trying desperately to remain stoic,  coming out to acknowledge his cheering fans and then on public request, in the manner of an old conjurer performing his favorite act at the curtain call,  repeating his iconic gesture at Lords of taking his shirt off. There was no anger now. No rage. Or even if there was, he did not show it.

There was a wave to the crowd. And then he was gone. For ever.

And at that moment, I felt happy. Really happy for Ganguly, for all that he had achieved and how he was leaving, not with a whimper but with all his guns blazing, a privilege he sorely deserved.

It was almost morning when I came to bed. The next day was Monday and I needed to be at work. As I tucked myself into bed and settled down into the comfortable cusp of dreamy wakefullness that precedes sleep, I remembered something about the day’s play.

At a time when Hayden was going hammer and tongs, there were a few voices, hoarse from shouting, which kept on tirelessly with a “Dada Dada” chant oblivious to the state of the game. Dada was not batting. Nor was he bowling. Nor were there many people at the ground. No this was not a thunderous crescendo of thousands repeating a name. Just a few passionate fans, sitting in a nearly empty stadium, cracking their vocal chords in honor of one man.

Immediately, out of the fuzzy continuum of  faded disembodied memories, came back an image—-of  a group of sweaty engineering students,  a group that included a familiar face with a slimmer body, in front of a broken-down old TV in a college canteen, thumping tables with their hands  shouting together “Dada dada” till they too grew hoarse.

And it was then, just before I drifted off to sleep that, for the first time in many weeks, I truly realized what had just been lost.

[Picture courtesy: Sky Sports]

88 thoughts on “Curtains

  1. I know the feeling. And the sense of loss.
    Two down, three to go.


  2. Yes, it will probably take a few days, maybe more, to really understand and comprehend the loss. I think it will hit me like a hammer blow when India plays its next test match and 5 wickets are down, and then I will see Rohit Sharma/ Yuvraj/ Whoever walking out to bat at no.6. That will be tough to take.

    Cricket just got a little less important for me.

    On the positive side, now I can watch more objectively, dispassionately, with less emotional investment in the outcome. That will probably make me a better analyst, but a poorer fan of the game.

    But there it is. This is where he gets off.

    Fare thee well Dada.

  3. What next for Mr. Ganguly?

    A. A La Ravi Shastri?
    B. Guest Editor at Cricinfo?
    C. Mithun ‘GOD’ Chakravarthy Cricket Academy Director?
    D. Actor in Bangla film?
    E. Politics?
    F. Television serial on cricket
    G. Starting of I love Chappal (pun intended) fan clubs?


  4. I was expecting this post yesterday itself !
    Another nicely written article here :

  5. And was it just me or did anyone else hear Ravi Shastri call him ‘Doda’ at the presentation ?

  6. Yeah, why was he calling him ‘Doda’?

  7. With Dada gone, spinners will now be less afraid to toss the ball against Indian batsmen.

    A century on debut and a golden duck while leaving. Well, some greats do have their own unique ways of signing off. Bradman, Zidane, and now Sourav.

    @ Deepak
    Thanks for sharing the link. And yes, Ravi did call him Doda.

  8. The last innings duck is now more memorable than a hundred.

  9. @ deepak…u r was doda

  10. “The best moment of the night for me was to see the Fab Four together, side by side, wreathed in smiles, all together in the team for one last time, —-like all great bands, they had their moments of discord but what music had they given us, what memories !”……brilliantly put…what music have they given us !!..

  11. the end of the article is as magnificent as the end of his career…

  12. no mention of dhoni handing over him captaincy in last few overs? it was a gr8 gesture…
    ~marte huye aadmi ke muh mein gangajal jaroor daalna chhahiye…punya milta hai

  13. @ shan: completely agree with your comment. beautiful way of phrasing it – a better analyst, but a poorer fan.

    @ g.b: great post… am dreading the retirements of the other 3, two of them going was bad enough. as rohit brijnath said in his beautiful, lyrical piece “…an Indian team without the names Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble. Imagine that? I’d rather not.”

  14. The last lines of your post capture the essence.

    – “or the first time in many weeks, I truly realized what had just been lost.”

    Also, I disagree with “Only 22 year olds, who empathize with filmstars and cricketers as if they were their own flesh and blood, ought to lose sleep over such trivialities. Right?”

    My tributes to Dada here :

  15. Ganguly played beautifully in this series. But the timing of his retirement was as graceful as his off side shots. There is no need to feel sad. He has done whatever he could as a player and was a liability on the field now. The man who has made his test debut along side him too has become a liability in the field and his batting is simply finished.

    In many ways Dravid is a timid type of character. He was not an assertive captain. It is tempting to think how better a batsman Saurav would have become had he not been burdened by captaincy. Dhoni also will be a very good captain as he is cool but has a much more stronger and more assertive personality than Dravid. Dravid could have been a good captain in the 1950s. His captaincy was an anachronism. More than anything, this second coming is a completely different phase of Ganguly’s career where his magnificently composed batting, against all types of bowling, in all conditions, especially in Test Matches, showed his true quality as a batsman. Had More, Chappell, Dravid and Cricinfo been successful in ending his career in 2005, he would have been remembered as India’s best captain, 2nd best ODI batter, a poor fielder, an average Test bat and a conspirator. The last dig modified the last but one description to a very good Test batsman and went a long way to clean most of the fabricated allegations against him. He has nothing to regret or prove. Neither do we. Cricket has lost a great character. His replacement in the middle order may well bat better then him someday, but can never hope to match his presence or the attention that he evoked.

    PS. A word about Sachin Tendulkar too. There was a talk in about 2004 that Dravid was probably as good a batsman as Sachin Tendulkar, even possibly better. It is true that Dravid had played some great innings in Tests from 2000-2004. But hate him as much as you want, longevity and endurance speak for Sachin. The way Sachin is still playing coupled with his innings in the ODI finals in Australia should convince everybody that if the statistical difference between his and Dravid’s records is an inch, then the difference between them in the art of batsmanship is many a highway mile in all forms of the game. Its high time for Dravid to call it a day and shrink the Fab four to the Unique One. Also the way Indian youngsters are making their mark in international cricket, there is no need to worry about the immediate future. Heh, I even heard whispers that India is probably now the best Test playing nation 🙂 Now I had never ever thought that this would happen! This pedestal, a fitting culmination to years of journey, vindicates the fab 4, Anil Kumble and their abundant brilliance, in a way much more than words can. End of an era! We are now officially into the MSD age.

  16. I hope you also caught Ravi Sashtri calling him Doda…
    Doda? Doda?! Doda?!!! Ravi Shashtri @#$@#%$Y$%%@#$@

  17. GB…this post captures the sadness i feel today to a tee…there are no words to describe how i and countless millions feel seeing dada gone from the cricket field forever…no one else will ever take that place…of all the vintage dada moments one comes to my mind…it was during the west indies series when india were struggling on a sticky slow pitch…then out of the blue dada smacked a series of sixes…not fours …sixes

    typically dada like moment that one…defiant in the face of hardship…going against the grain…dada always

  18. There’s a certain lovability with which Bengalis adore their icons. Dada’s lucky to be born a Bengali and Bengal is lucky to have someone like him.

  19. I have no clue why Robby Shostry called him Doda Gonguly. Was he feeling nostalgic for Dodda Ganesh? I have noticed this tendency among some ignorant folk…whenever they want to put on a mock Bengali accent, they substitute all “a”-s everywhere for “-o”s. If that smartass Shastry was trying to poke a silly ethnic joke, it was in very poor taste and most unbefitting of a great occasion. Sure Shastry, we would love to lynch you in Cal. 😀

  20. Cricket just lost her favourite son .. and with him he took away all that he stood for – courage , valour & passion .. the game can never be the same without you DADA .. you arrived as a Prince , led us like an able General and now have laid down your armour as our King of hearts .. a fitting farewell on the field itself was what one expected but alas that was not to be .. but we give a damn , ‘cos we the bereft millions with tears glistening in the corners of our eyes are wishin you the best , and thats the farewell that you the King deserve .. DADA forever!!!!

  21. @ MahaBong –

    Awesome piece of writing this!

    @ All –

    Maybe Ravi Shastri intended to call Dona & Dada together and called “DoDa”

  22. And I have the honour of writing a tribute for him today in my publication..I’m soo nervous, I can’t tell you. Already wrote a ghost letter in today’s edition, but have to write a proper one today… am almost in tears…for more reasons than one…that’s the power of the Man. And I hate to say this, but all these posts are freaking me out as they seem to sound more like obits! Please, guys, he lives and will continue to live,in flesh and blood.
    So please, control yaar!

  23. that last comment was from me, re…sorry…naam likhtey chule gelam excitement’e

  24. Long live the spirit of Dada. I will also like to draw your attention to a wonderful article by Peter Roebuck The many sides of Sourav. I wonder how people like Kiran More , Niranjan Shah , greg chappel etc are thinking at this moment. Sourav has left cricket in a high note as a part of winning team and with full public respect , while these conspirators against dada are only known as a part of loosing , disastrous edition of Indian cricket when India got out of world cup in the very first round. The stage is set. I remember the days when dada was being attacked from all corners led by these peoples , dada had mentioned that he will speak oneday about but ‘not now’. I think its stage set for that ‘now’. watch out Mr. More & Co. you better get ready with your lawyers.

  25. Don Ayan de Marco November 11, 2008 — 10:26 am

    Great post GB, the last 2 paras are purely cinematic.

    When Dada was snatched of captaincy I had thought that I would miss the excitement of Test matches. Especially how he went under the skin of Steve Waugh by appearing late for the toss and going away in a hurry. That act showed us that Dada is more clever than he shows he is. He should be credited for the Indo-Aus rivalry that we have today. And that is the only hardcore rivalry we see these days. Indo-Pak & Ashes are pale shadows of what they used to be. But after the captaincy, we saw a different Dada… a fighter,a phoenix, always backing himself in the toughest of condition to prove his worth (remember the duleep trophy match after he was dropped). But Dhoni is also turning out to be an exciting captain. And he totally played to the gallery when he offered Dada to captain for 5 overs. His end had to be dramatic….his debut & career surely was. So when he got out on 85 I told myself ‘no man…not like this’. I didn’t even think that he would come to bat a second time. So when he came (a second time), I thought that it would be fitting if he scores a century like his enemy Greg Chappel. It would have been super drama. But as it turned out, drama it was but in a shocking way. Still, I dreamt that Dhoni gives him the ball for one over (after the 9th aus wicket) & he castles Johnson. But…

    Anyways, I feel it was the right time to quit…on a high. No one can complain then. And that Ind has beaten the world champs is the cherry on the cake. But we fans (especially people from Bengal) cannot sing Dada’s glory whole life & discuss about him in the parar dokan. We have to be another Dada/Didi. We should learn from his life. He need not have to call the newspaper’s office for four years (from ’92 to ’96) to see whether he had been selected or not. He could have been a businessman…he had everything on his plate. But he did not. Although he was from a well-to-do family, he put himself in the mercy of the selectors. He proved everyone wrong that he was a political selection as was voiced by Shastri son of a bitch & Harsha Bhogle. His inspirational leadership lifted the team that had reached the nadir after the match fixing scandal.But I think Shastri’s (deliberate) ‘Doda’ left a slight bad taste in the mouth to a fitting farewell match. This was evident from Ganguly’s expression at that time.

    Finally, I say goodbye to a rebel who hopefully has provided inspiration to a lot of youth in Bengal as well as in the rest of the country. So let us promise Dada who has given given us thrill & enjoyment for more than decade that : ” Dada aamra korbo, lorbo ebong jeetbo’.

  26. @priya,

    “naam likhtey chule gelam “!!!

  27. Increasingly, I have stopped following ODIs. Twenty20 I do not watch/follow. Part of the reason is that the `Fab 5′ do not feature in these format any more.

    I have a feeling that I may stop following Tests as well when the rest of the three Gods retire.

  28. I first heard about him when I was 12 years old, saw him on tv for the first time when I was 13 years old, followed him religiously since. His attitude and actions embodies my character today. It is because of him I am who I am today. The gratitude I have for him is immeasureable.

    This might sound a bit stretch but basically you can divide his career in 2 parts: The first half (pre-captain) was his gracefully flawless batting, poetic like Tagore. The second half was raw determination, steely mind, and leading with conviction, like Netaji.

    I will miss him very much as a cricketer, but one can safely assume he will be back in the limelight in another form, possibly in West Bengal politics. It seems that whatever he commits to, he commits with love. Once he has done that, sky is the limit.

  29. Same feelings… there were times I was not happy with him.. and I neither a ‘senti’ kinda guy.. but i did feel bad, cause i saw him grow from the prince of calcutta to Dada and then retire. Though Guns blazing, But still unsatisfied.

  30. It is very sad to imagine that Laxman will retire someday because hundreds of Tendulkars and others come and go but Laxman is unique. Hope Laxman plays for the next 20 years.

  31. @ yourfan….
    1.In many ways Dravid is a timid type of character…..he gave up captaincy not after lows of WC 2007 but after winning the test series in England which needs a lot of courage. you can say he was not a very assertive captain but no one was talking such things when india won 17 run chases in a row
    2.Dravid could have been a good captain in the 1950s. …again, he wasn’t considered a bad captain before WC debacle..or may be u can say so about 1950 so confidently because u had just passed ur class X thn comparing Sachin with dravid…one wud b stupid to do so..thr cannot be any comparison
    4.Its high time for Dravid to call it a day and shrink the Fab four to the Unique One…..with dada gone its three…if dravid quits it wud b 2 not “unique…may be they did not teach math in 1950
    5. when will you start your blog
    6. will u marry me?

  32. GreatBong, the sad part about being 22 now is that these young ones missed the beginning of the era and hence the charm and nostalgia that the fab four inspire. Yes, they too must have “enjoyed” the Gods, but can they feel the connection? Could they empathize with the article “Losing my Religion” on cricinfo , especially the line “Part of me just died” ?

    Talking of replacements : Dada will be replaced by Yuvraj,Dravid might be by Vijay or Rohit. By the time Sachin goes the difference between outgoing vs incoming player would be even wider. That is when the true test for the young blood would begin, that is when the loss would become more of a fact than the feeling.

  33. I was so sad when the match ended; a part of me was elated that we won, and another part sad that this was the end of dada.

  34. Completely offtopic, but your opinions on this?

  35. To
    a few ladies and mostly grief stricken gentlemen,

    you should have seen W.G. Grace play.

    moral of the story……..all good things cometh to an end.

  36. @Kishor: Sure he’ll play for 20 years or more. We need somebody eligible enough to carry bottles to the field…

  37. Is it just or me or was there a new-found love between Dada and Ganguly??

  38. @supremus…khoje kahan inko? kafi mahan vyaktitva ke swami lagte hain yeh uncle ji

  39. I felt there was hint of emotion on Dada’s eyes during the match-end ceremony. Well, he is gone. I still distinctly remember his test debut when me and my friends were mid-teenagers and how tense and excited we were listening to the commentary on the BBC world service.

    There have been numerous articles written about Dada emphasizing his importance as “The Captain”. However to me the most important aspect of Dada was that he brought the Indian fans a new hope in ODI matches :
    Sachin(out) != ‘ALL IS OVER’

    That to me is on of the most important contributions he made to Indian cricket.

    Goodbye and all the best Dada.

  40. By the way:

    @Arnabda: Excellent article as usual. Maybe a series synopsys is also eagerly awaited.

    @Yourfan2 : good points.

    @Priya: “Naam likhte chele gelaam” !!!!! besh tension e achen dekhchi …… in such cases I go to my favourite doctor Dr Jonny Walker. Try it.

  41. Dada as you wrote before these Fab 4 (no fab 5 including kumble)are the integaral part of our memories during our teenage, and in teenage we enjoy the simple things of life without being to analytical. we grew up watching them. we spent our time to cheering them. they gave us many wonderful moments. that is why i am sad. i agree and i think you too that ganguly was not a great batsman(as far as test cricket is concern). but i want to say this to ganguly haters that don’t judge dada by mere statics. he was the man who build the New Team india. he taught us to fight. that is why i am feeling sad. Dada i can only pray that whatever you do afetr cricket “MAA KAALI” will be always with you.

    to All of You

    Hail Dada

  42. One less thing to lose sleep over ( “how is Saurav gonna bat tomorrow” ) … but also a most precious dream is lost

  43. This Article from Sanjay Jha. If greatbong articleo on Dada’s retirement is classic than sanjay jha’s jhakas is also a masterpiece

    Aiedu Dada

    “Because when you announced your retirement, you said “Hopefully we will end up on a winning note”. We did.

    Because you were the only guy referred to as the royal Prince and the high-street bully “Dada” at the same time.

    Because when you scored that classic debut century at Lord’s, some thought you will be a one-knock wonder. At Trent Bridge, you stunned them all again with a double barrel.

    Because when you played those heavenly cover drives, Rahul Dravid said, “There is only God and then Sourav Ganguly on the off-side”. Maybe even the Almighty would have just moved to mid-on.

    Because you took over as captain when match-fixing clouds hung over, but you made the right bets for the team.

    Because with Sachin Tendulkar, you made ODI opening a treat for Indians, and a nightmare for the opposition. It was left right, left right, alright.

    Because when Andrew Flintoff ran naked chest on national display at Wankhede, you lost your shirt.

    Because when the Oz threatened you with chin music, you played hip-hop with them at Brisbane hitting a majestic hundred.

    Because you never quite understood the logic and rationale behind being dropped even after scoring 10,000 runs plus in ODIs and in good nick. You are not good at reading whodunits.

    Because they burnt your effigies and hurled stones at your team in 2003, and then you led India to the finals of the World Cup in South Africa.

    Because you discovered youngsters, groomed, encouraged and inspired Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Irfan and MSD to become our future heroes.

    Because you suffered the humiliation from Greg Chappell and several critics with humility, dignity and grace.

    Because you proved that the word “age” is not a four-letter word.

    Because when axed, you concealed your hurt and disappointment, went and played local tournaments and sneaked back into the team. Then Johannesburg happened. Your fairy-tale return had happened.

    Because you have redefined the word comeback. And grit. And determination. And fighting spirit. And leadership. And many unmentioned superlatives.

    Because MSD seems to have taken the leadership baton from you, for the good of Indian cricket.

    Because you never traded your self-respect, and when they dropped you for the Irani Cup, you said—Enough!

    Because you taught Indians to fight back, not turn around in defeat.

    Because even 7,000 Test runs and 10,000 ODI runs is sometimes insufficient to measure your heroics for Indian cricket.

    Because the 2001 series win against Australia marked a historic victory in one of the greatest series ever. You were India’s captain.

    Because if it exasperated Steve Waugh, you let him wait for the toss.

    Because hopefully, we will still see you in black shining armour, Prince, for the KKR in IPL next year.

    Because on the Lord’s balcony, we discovered that you were not six-abs-pack.

    Because at Nagpur this time, you had the last laugh, and India, the last hurrah. The final frontier is recaptured.

    Because you did a Pepsi ad for your team, even as you stood silently alone in Kolkota.

    Because you will not be ever seen in whites again. Scoring runs, bowling those deceptive medium pacers. And perhaps, even misfielding.

    Because your fans will borrow from a new TV ad, and say “We miss you so much, it hurts”.

    Because it is time to let you go home to your family, and friends.

    Because now you can watch colleagues like Sachin and VVS and Ishant on the television like all of us.

    Because tomorrow morning you will join Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Bedi and Srikanth as a “former” player. An ex.

    Because you can now perhaps play football as well at Eden Gardens.

    Because it’s time to say good-bye.

    Because you did us proud.

    Because you never gave up.

    Because if you don’t deserve the salutations from us all Indians, who does?

  44. Quoting Pink Floyd again, eh GB?

  45. Why was he called Doda though? Was it some kind of a joke cos I dont think anyone got it…

  46. @ bhabi-
    Heh pal. You are so pathetic. But I agree about the Unique part. How about Dangerous Duo? Even your attempts to pull legs evokes sympathy. Just like Dravid’s captaincy did. You are not a worthy antagonist. Just like Dravid was not up to it as a captain. And he resigned because he did not have the fortitude to take that pressure on. And he was so bereft of fortitude that Chappell wore the pants in their relationship. I have nothing against Dravid. But relatively speaking, do you think that he was/ could have been a captain like Ganguly/ Dhoni. You know the answer. But nice to know that I had rubbed you the wrong way. 🙂

    @sourisis- Roebuck’s article had 2 unique pieces of analysis that only Roebuck can provide.

    1> “If Anil Kumble was the colossus, Sachin Tendulkar the champion, Rahul Dravid the craftsman, VVS Laxman the sorcerer, then Ganguly was the inspiration. ”

    Probably the best definition of that set of great players in one sentence. And captaincy and inspiration are highly correlated.

    2> “To watch Rahul Dravid or Virender Sehwag or Anil Kumble play is to know a large part of them. Ganguly liked to keep people guessing. Perhaps it is his background. Is it possible that the son of a wealthy businessman might have had some reservations, even embarrassment, about becoming a professional cricketer? Deep down Ganguly belonged to the old days, not so much of aristocracy as of ease. He cast himself as a sportsman, a player of games, and on the surface did not take it too seriously. And yet the fires of competition burned hot.”

    Very good point which probably explains Ganguly. The “old days” part explains why he didnt work on his fitness to much or gave the look of aloofness and frailty. That is why his performance and demeanor would never resemble a throughbred professional say like a Michael Hussey. The “fires of competition” were what drove him along for this 13 years. But its OK. A clinical Ganguly would have been a better and fitter player, but a lesser character. But its useless to think about what someone could have been or shoyld have been. Lets remember them for what they were.

    Talking about what people were, Ravi Shastri is one of those players who seem more than what he was. Do you know why he said that? Because he never liked Ganguly. Then there is this person called Vinod Kambli. Plus he doesn’t like the fact that Ganguly is India’s most successful captain. You must understand that India itself has changed a lot since the 90s. So it was ok to pigeonhole someone back then as so and so as he came from a particular part of the country. A mumbai player could and did adopt a supercilious attitude on a cricketer from other parts of the country. This Doda thing is precisely a remnant of that attitude. He just could not hide it. Its a bit like some baby boomers in US who still make snide remarks about black people. But the irony is that their daughters are sleeping with black guys. Who could have imagined that someone from Jharkhand, a guy who used to be a TT in KGP station even 5 years back would be the current captain of the Indian side? Definitely not the Bombay lobby in the 80s or 90s. Ravi Shastri is a douchebag, a player who has only 3k Test runs and 150 wickets to show for after sucking Indian cricket like a leech for 80 Tests. But tell me, if a douchebag like that makes a painful effort to adopt a condescending tone towards Ganguly, on whom is the joke on? 🙂

  47. @ yourfan ….regarding comment about dravid’s captaincy….just one pathetic encounter…WC else u can very well check ur fav website cricinfo for records……basically hindsight mein khaleefa mat bano
    he resigned because he knew it wasnt his cup of tea….takes courage to do so…

    i liked the way u rub…pls do more…pls…pls…

    will u marry me?

  48. @yourfan…btw, it was dada under which aussy won the final frontier in 2004…i.e. when he ran away after seeing the a bit of grass in nagpur….very brave…isnt it

    regarding shastri’s “Ravi Shastri is a douchebag, a player who has only 3k Test runs and 150 wickets to show for after sucking Indian cricket like a leech for 80 Tests.”

    how many indian players have this double of 3k and 150????

    ~ pls rub na….

  49. @savita bhabi :

    “he resigned because he knew it wasnt his cup of tea….takes courage to do so… ”

    considering his diminishing batting abilities that was the best thing Dravid could have done, … besides his other half back in australia he was probably a victim of insecurities ….

    btw, did you dress up as a transvestite on halloween party, just wondering ….

  50. maybe shastri wanted to call him “yoda”, suddenly remembered his name was “dada” and ended up saying “doda”..heheh…:)

  51. @daddy…surprisingly his form has slump further he gave up captaincy..
    main kewal sari mein rahti hoon….”transvestite on halloween party” pata nahi

    yourfan2 kahan hai?

  52. Well I had stopped follwing twenty tweny and odi..
    may be due to ofc wrk or may be that fab’s are no more part of it.

    I remeber as a college student watching cricket matches in common room, we used to criticize ganguly and would blame all ma fellow bengali frnds for ganguly’s failure and sachin’s dismissal.

    But now as i am watching the test matches today and watching all those icons retiring from the team. I understand the their true worth.

    Now may be some rohit sharma or yuvraj will soon replace our dada but who will fill for the atitude, who will fill for the affection we have for dada.

    I fear that soon i may also loose interest in test cricket.

  53. @Supremus: This %^&*$ Colachal guy is having such opinion, openly flouting it and is still staying in the capital of “terrorist India” as a JNU prof… 😀
    cant he see the contradiction here….

  54. Watching India play England in the Tests will be difficult knowing that two greats will not be playing. However life goes on. Our difficulty will be reduced if either of them do commentary instead of the terrible twosome of Siva and Lal.

  55. This day had to come. Overcoming the dismay that sourav won’t be donning the whites again will take some time. Will miss him. But it felt great the reception he got in Nagpur and else where. He deserved it. Also MSD’s gestures were great.

  56. Don Ayan de Marco November 12, 2008 — 9:36 am

    Last heard: Lata Mangeshkar has told Dada to reconsider his decision. What do you have to say about this article below which is not on Dada but on the recently concluded series.

  57. GB, have you heard the clip on the internet named Bonguly?

  58. u left me with wet eyes

  59. a sense of longing and an empty feeling is what he leaves us with. I remember fighting like a hood with my flatmate (who is from down west) because he dared to abuse dada in the mumbai v kolkata IPL match.

    we will miss him…

    arnab : why r u entertaining ppl ?? like savitha bhabhi who wants to use the blog as free matrimony services ? not very nice..

  60. “out of the fuzzy continuum of faded disembodied memories”

    beautifully written. you can shares heart-felt emotions as good as the laughs you do.

    I guess a book is along the way soon…

  61. Now God can safely rule the off side……

  62. @Subhadip Dan
    Good one !!!
    NIce as usual

  63. @GB:

    If you ever blog one on SG again then here is one for you:
    “What if Sourav was from Mumbai?”

    I wonder how the Samit Bals, Shastris, Bhogles and of course Savita Bhabis would have reacted to his career.

  64. “@ yourfan ….regarding comment about dravid’s captaincy….just one pathetic encounter…WC else u can very well check ur fav website cricinfo for records……basically hindsight mein khaleefa mat bano
    he resigned because he knew it wasnt his cup of tea….takes courage to do so…”

    The fact is when you say “it wasnt his cup of tea”, you implicitly acknowledge that he lacked some traits to be a successful long term captain. Also where are the big moments? The Indian team was on an autopilot when he took over. Ganguly evicted it from ruins. I applaud Dravid for understanding his limitations and giving up captaincy. He is at peace with the fact that he was inadequate for long term captaincy, but clearly you arent.

    “btw, it was dada under which aussy won the final frontier in 2004…i.e. when he ran away after seeing the a bit of grass in nagpur….very brave…isnt it”

    No he ran away seeing the frightful sight of the editor of Cricinfo conducting an arcane black magic ritual where More, Dravid and Chappell took their turns to [edited]. Then they smoked a lot of grass and cooked up this theory. There is more credence to my claim than yours. You need a proof? Sid Vaidyanathan has been ‘vaporized’.:)

    “regarding shastri’s “Ravi Shastri is a douchebag, a player who has only 3k Test runs and 150 wickets to show for after sucking Indian cricket like a leech for 80 Tests.”
    how many indian players have this double of 3k and 150????”

    Over what period of time? How many tests did Mankad play? Is it even comparable to the records of allrounders like Kallis? So the fact that he was multiskilled doesnt make him a great allrounder. Take Vettori for example. He has 3k runs in about as many tests but most importantly 270 wickets. So is he an allrounder? Not exactly. But a good bowler and a capable bat. Shastri was neither a good bowler nor a good batter. Average in both. And a worse fielder than Ganguly. So even though many Indian players may not have such a mediocre ‘double’ (sic), many have fantastic accomplishments in their own competencies. It is not ganguly’s fault that Indian players before the 90s were bad enough for a player like Shastri to warrant his place for 80 tests. Anybody can criticize anybody. But when you are trying to mock someone in public, and especially if that someone is a more successful cricketer than you were, you are basically peeing on urself. Thats what Shastri did.

  65. @yourfan…look u can write so much….thts why i say start ur own blog

  66. @yourfan2: appreciate the spirited way in which you defend Dada, and completely agree with your defense of the man, especially the accusation that he ‘ran away’ from the nagpur test.
    but when you say that dravid was instrumental in him being kept out, and mention stuff like dravid doing ‘arcane black magic…’ aren’t you doing exactly what you accuse the Dada-bashers of doing – viz, stating ‘facts’ which have not an iota of proof.
    more and chappel have openly expressed their dislike for having in the team, but where has Dravid done that?
    Dada has played opposition everywhere, never backed down from a scrap, so we’re fully justified in saying that rumours that he ran away from Nagpur are bunkum.
    by the same token, dravid has conducted himself with utmost dignity always, been the quintessential team-man, and therefore rumours of him actively ‘keeping out’ dada for non-cricket reasons, are equally bunkum.

    on a tangential, but related topic – my take on Dhoni’s 8-1 field placing:

  67. @ sauravh somani:
    The stoic silence of Dravid during Chappel/More era equates to his tacit support to keep Ganguly out. If he really wanted Ganguly in the team he would have fought for him, like SG did for Harbajan et al …

  68. @Saurabh

    I agree! The likes of yourfan write defences not knowing it could easily be turned around as well. I have this grouse against GB as well. We are not privy to a lot of things which happen outside the Cricket field and somehow wager and sit in judgement as to what could have happened! Viz. Like you can never prove dada pussy footed coz of a grassy pitch, it cant be proven either that Dravid was hand-in-glove with More and the likes.

    And, in the first place, I dont understand why Dravid is pulled into that controversy. Often of this forum, when it comes to raising Dada to a pedestal, Dravid has to be pulled down. As a fan whos keenly followed both these greats, its agonizing.

    And,BTW, Dada went with a bang! In a post retirement interview, he said he was sure he turned out to be a lot tougher than certain people thought he would be. Thats hitting the nail on its head. Also, as I had wished on the eve of his last knock, he did push one over the ropes off Krejza. For me, thats his trademark! (not the offdrives!)For all the sixes they hit, no Afridi or Dhoni can do that!

  69. @ daddy yankee: fighting for a player against the BCCI, is something only Sourav Ganguly has done successfully. (that, incidentally, is also one of his greatest accomplishments imho).

    even tendulkar couldn’t do it, when he was captain and was dissatisfied with the team he had been given.

    i guess, we have to agree to disagree on this one – because i don’t think dravid has ever wilfully kept ganguly out on non-cricketing reasons.

    @ deeps: ‘As a fan whos keenly followed both these greats, its agonizing’ – agree 100% mate. they are both special, both great. we don’t need to pull down one to elevate the other. I, for one, would find it equally hard to watch an indian team without dada, as i would without dravid.

  70. Don Ayan de Marco November 13, 2008 — 7:25 am

    Time to look ahead: how about this team for the england one-dayers(not necessarily in that order)?

    Sehwag, gambhir, raina, sachin, yuvi, rohit, dhoni, irfan, bhajji, chawla & zaheer

  71. Don Ayan de Marco November 13, 2008 — 7:28 am

    Actually Ganguly saved Dravid’s career.Had he not listened to Ganguly & kept wickets his one-day career would have been over at that time itself.At that time too many people went after Dravid with axes saying that he is not fit for ODIs.

  72. @Saurabh Somani-

    “appreciate the spirited way in which you defend Dada, and completely agree with your defense of the man, especially the accusation that he ‘ran away’ from the nagpur test.
    but when you say that dravid was instrumental in him being kept out, and mention stuff like dravid doing ‘arcane black magic…’ aren’t you doing exactly what you accuse the Dada-bashers of doing – viz, stating ‘facts’ which have not an iota of proof.”

    Uff man. :)))) You and some of the others here are just amazing. Ok…so to give an explanation to that black magic stuff…its just that Dravid doing black magic is as unreal as Dada running away from not Perth, not any SA wicket, not Edgsbaston, but Nagpur. Got it? BTW, for your info, there were plenty of things I disliked about Dada too. But I believe the Cricinfo allegations as much as I believe Fox news.

  73. yourfan2…. i know obviously, that the black magic stuff wasnt to be taken literally! (unless i’m pratibha patil in disguise, in which case i would have taken it seriously!)
    perhaps, i didnt explain myself clearly enough: just meant to say that you’re saying/implying that dravid worked actively to keep ganguly out, and i didn’t think so!

    btw, a lot of people have repeatedly asked you to start your blog – when is it coming up? im sure you’ll have a lot of readers (including me) 🙂

  74. That was a great post. Have recently been introduced to your blog and find it a most pleasurable read when you don’t refer to “Gunda.”

    I have penned my own thoughts about ganguly, kumble and the other three at:

  75. the only thing i didn’t like in this write up is certainly the Dada-Didi comparison. I donno how we can compare them as one being the Master mind n flesh behind today’s aggressive Indian side and one being the ruin er of Bengal.

    I dont believe Dadi should bring him on in this dirty game anymore n leave didi to her destiny!

  76. Ravi Shastri during the previous match commentry had said that Bengalees call Ganguly ,Doda! This time he addressed Sourav directly as Doda !

    To Ravi Shastri :

    Bengalees call Sourav ,Doda???!!!
    Show me one Bengali who does so,you jerk!!!

  77. Sorry, I meant commentary.

  78. Hey GB, look at this…

    Prabhuji and Dada… Interesting analogy… 🙂

    What say you…?

  79. Thanks, Arnab!! Seems you have jotted down my pulse…

  80. They love to build up heroes so that they can knock them down…….

  81. There can be many good things and many bad things that can be said about Ganguly. He is the man everybody loves to hate. Initially I used to scoff at him having instilled a sense of belief in the team. But I realize that the single biggest change that the team has got under him was just that. Belief. Just Belief.
    Having said that, I also foresee us lucky enough to have another great captain. Dhoni appears to be a man completely unfazed by adulations and brickbats. He looks like a man who comes into office and immerses himself in a job, only to throw his suitcase away at the strike of 5.
    Lets cross our fingers and watch The Dhoni, Yuvraj, Rohit Sharma and the Ishant Sharma era.

  82. Unless one is Sachin Tendulkar,an Indian cricketer is a mere pawn in the hands of ambitious BCCI officials. Ganguly was no exception.His long tenure in captaincy was perceived to be Dalmiya’s doing. For sure Dalmiya (who was once called an “evil power” by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya) rubbed off his bad charm on Ganguly. Besides his poor form & arrogant atitude, this remains as one of the significant causes of Ganguly’s undoing in 2005, Greg Chappel notwithstanding.

    Bengal’s fascination with Ganguly grew exponentially when he was suddenly appointed Captain in place of the tainted but talented Azharuddin. Since the freedom struggle, Bengalis had never seen someone from their ilk lead the nation in a public spectacle;whether it was politics or cricket or films. Ganguly filled that extra space.

    I shall forever carry two memories of Ganguly. The first one was a fulll-blooded six off an yorker against the Srilankans in a ’99 Nagpur ODI & the second was the triumphant leap in Brisbane(?) after scoring a century against the mighty Aussies in the 2003-04 test series.

  83. Did anyone feel absence of Ganguly in current series?? I didn’t. LOL at Bong.

  84. I have alwaz been a big big fan of Ganguly. He is the brave man who carried his heart on his sleeve.
    Arnab, your post is immaculate. I exactly felt the same but you had the words to describe the sentiments. I can feel my eyes getting wet at this loss.

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