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SOURAV GANGULY’S DADAGIRI: A FIRE WITHIN 

“If you don’t fight, you have already lost, there is no telling how many miles you have to run while chasing your dream” Flashback: October 2005: “Sourav unfit for Indian team”, Greg Chappel , the then Indian cricket coach. Vadodara, February 23, 2006: It’s all over now! Ganguly dumped for Nagpur Test. National selectors go with 18year old leg spinner Piyush Chawla 9th January 2011: Former Legendary India captain Sourav Ganguly became the first player to be unsold in the players` auction for the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here in Bangalore. Was this deserved? Humiliated, insulted, literally dwarfed and hurled the ignominy to an absolute disdain, this man always made people gulp back their words. Some term him the God of the off side, some call him the Phoneix, others claim he is the one with the golden hand. Some of my friends term him the Godfather of Indian Cricket, whereas some take pride at his mere presence, others bow down, whereas a thousand more call themselves “Gangulians.” Some believe he is the man who completely changed “Indian Cricket” when it was at its lowest ebb, whereas lakhs of others stream innumerable Youtube videos of him. Some believe term him as a legend and praise his attitude to form a world beating side with a bunch of talented yet directionless individuals. I call him my inspiration, my DADA. “Criticism spurred him on. He revelled in his reputation as an independent man who lived and played by his own lights. He is not a man easily pinned down. Sometimes a rebel, often a creative force, always in the thick of it, Ganguly has been a many-layered character, and his career an astonishing one. Throughout he has toyed with his fate, tempting it to turn its back on him so that once again he could surprise the world with a stunning restoration. Something in him rebelled against the mundane and the sensible. He needed his life to be full of disasters and rescues.” was how one of the most respected cricket columnist, Peter Roebuck described Sourav Ganguly. There are lots more-mauling the Lankans at Taunton, a classy hundred at Brisbane, superb outing with the ball in the Sahara Cup in Canada and the numerous comebacks after being written off more times that people think that Elvis is still alive!.

As  write this today, it has been 17 years since his immaculate test (20th June 1996) debut at the Mecca of Cricket, Lords. England had scored a challenging 344 in the first innings. India are 29/1 and with the ball swinging both ways, enter the one dubbed as a “quota selection.” He was destined to fail entering a lion’s den armed with almost nothing. Hours later, the whole of Lords give a standing ovation to this left hander. A legend is born The panache with which this Bengal southpaw cut, drove, slashed the English bowlers at will seemed to give an indication of the future. Will he take his chance with both hands or be just a one match wonder?  Two wickets by rolling over his “golden” arm and things seemed to be put in place. There was no looking back….. Seven years later: London, 13 July 2002 I clearly remember the night. The scoreboard reads 146/5, all hopes look dashed chasing a mammoth 326 to win the final. My Dad says, “There is no way we can win this, damn we lost a final again.” As I switched off the TV getting ready for an “unpleasant” night, I couldn’t get even a minute’s sleep. An hour and a half had passed. I hear a huge thud from my neighbour’s house. “Yessssssssssssssssss” It’s loud and clear. I make a dash and switch on the TV gain. Hardly could I believe the scoreboard read: 2 needed from 4. Whoa!!!! where did that come from? As Zaheer pats the ball and runs for his life, India get a bonus run from the overthrow. I pranted in the dining hall, racing down to the kitchen and jumping mid air. We had won the most amazing one day match I had ever seen. Dada takes his shirt off, baring his torso, swinging wildly, with clenched fists. Quite a spectacle. From Controversy’s favourite son to someone who will always soak in adulaton of his fanatics, “Dada”, as I love to call him by that name, has had quite an illustrious career spanning about 12 years at the helm. From being a household discussion at dining tables, tea breaks at Chaiwallas,  to gulping sandwiches at roadside cafeterias, Sourav Ganguly taught us details of those which we can never read in text books, most of all he taught us how not to tie the knot.  He was the One who could direct the players and motivate them to perform at a completely higher level altogether.

 

Dada always let his bat do the talking and more so with his leadership abilities when he was given the captaincy. Taking and mincing criticism was his own of life. He responded with his bat and aggression. They say believing in yourself wins you half the battle. India were not called Lions of their Den and cats overseas not for a reason. It took a Sourav Ganguly to change the misconception. Regarding his enormous talent spotting abilities, ask Yuvraj , Harbajan , Sehwag , Zaheer or Dhoni, for that matter, who now form the crux of the team. Sourav Ganguly might be remembered for the wrong reasons by the haters and critics but for his die-hard fans, he will always be the apple of their eyes. He may have been the arrogant, pompous and spoilt child of Indian cricket making the administration dance to his tunes. But to everyone he is Sourav Ganguly – the tiger who showed his bare chest at the sacred birth place of cricket. Every game for him was a war, which he had to win! “The best way to get away from a crisis and yet hold on the reins without performance is to find a godfather who would save you at crisis and fool the entire world…This is how it has worked for me”  Sourav Ganguly  “Himmat Mat Harna ZINDAGI me kabhi, Kyunki  DARD hi Insaan ko JEENA Sikhata hai”

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