This person needs no introduction. His name is Sourav Chandidas Ganguly and better known as DADA in cricketing fraternity , was also called the prince of Kolkata .He made his debut against England in the year 1996. My first impression of Ganguly was that of an innocent lad when I saw him play in a practice match against Sussex in 1996. His angular run up was very conspicuous. His left hand batting was also well appreciated . Lets go into details. His debut test match saw him score a century and very soon he made runs against all opponents at an aggressive pace that put him in the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and other batting greats .
So at that point of time India had a very good find in the name of Sourav Ganguly who matched the batting caliber of Sachin tendulkar. By the end of 1997, Indian Cricket fan fraternity was divided into two different kingdoms, one for Sachin Tendulkar and and the other of Sourav Ganguly. I, being an ardent fan of Sachin Tendulkar was on his side and my schoolmate Srinivas was on the side of Ganguly. We literally had verbal battles on who is better .
- I was very jealous as I saw Ganguly flourishing when Tendulkar failed to live up to his expectations. My first feeling of hate started at this point as I really believed Tendulkar was the master in the art of batting.
- The second instance was when Ganguly was given the captaincy after Tendulkar gave it up and was more successful than the former.
And this feeling of hate continued as the times passed as Ganguly came near to Tendulkar in terms of achievements and rewards. And the way he dealt opponents especially Steve Waugh , Ganguly was the only captain who saw Steve Waugh Eye to Eye and gave the Australians taste of their own medicine i.e; sledging.
And many more records and some very convincing victories like the Natwest trophy of 2002 and Border Gavaskar Series 2001, 2003-2004 and to name a few which put him among the all time successful captains. His success in the captaincy resulted in a sharp decline in his batting averages. When Greg Chappell took over as the Coach of the Indian Cricket team, everyone thought Ganguly – Greg combo would work wonders, but on the contrary controversies marked their stint as a captain – coach combo. Finally, Ganguly was dropped from both forms of the game citing poor form and the debate Guru Greg VS Dada persisted for few more months. Many Critics and distractors of Ganguly advised him to retire from the game so that he could be atleast content with some respect . But the fighter in Ganguly didnt die and Ganguly was also seen in an advertisement for a beverage cheering India and expressing his wish for one last chance to wear the Indian cricket dress.
Many thought that Dada couldnt come back even in their wildest dreams. But at a time when the great Indian batting order suffered at the hands of the Proteas, Ganguly was recalled who put up a distinct display of batsmanship to see India in winning colors. Slowly Ganguly played to his full strength as a batsman and revived the golden time of 1996 -2000 when his batting was a joy to watch. At last he announced his retirement from all forms of the game in the recently concluded Border Gavaskar Series.
So , why do I hate him? Firstly he was among the few who matched the brilliance of Tendulkar ( I thought no one would match Sachin) . Secondly, he made India victorious even in the worst situations at many times which wasnt possible with Sachin Tendulkar ( To be frank, Sachin had very little role to play in most situations where India emerged victorious from the worst possible situation).I thought Ganguly would never return to the International arena, but he came back with a bang and proved all his detractors wrong. This guy proved me wrong again, again and again. So I don’t like him. But his ” Never say Die ” attitude made him raise the level of Indian Cricket and who played the game aggressively no matter who the opponent was. So, I hate him for proving mew wrong, but I appreciate him for his fighting spirit and showing what he is capable of..
Though he was in news for wrong reasons for most of the time, but for many like me, he is a hero and will be remembered for all the right reasons.