Sunday, November 23, 2008

"One last thing lads"

For the thousands of Indians who, like me, grew up watching cricket, these are difficult times. One after the other, our heroes are walking away into the sunset. There is this sadness about the whole situation. No doubt, there is the bright light of hope as well, but for now its just too hard to adjust.

These were the guys for whom we stayed up late, missed homeworks, faked bad health to miss tuitions, hurried our dinner. Indian cricket was the thing that mattered the most to us. We were happy when we won, sad when we lost. I remember the gutted feeling of the times when we'd "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory", but also the elation of pulling off an impossible victory. But it wasn't always this way..

Sourav Ganguly will be remembered for a lot of things, but for me, he'll remain the best captain we've had. After the big letdown of the Azhar era, he picked up the pieces of what used to be Indian cricket and forged a team that captured our imagination. He taught us how to fight. He gave us Yuvraj, Bhajji, Zaheer, Irfan and Sehwag.. the core of the current team. I wonder if these guys would have made it this far without the support of Ganguly. He backed each one of them through their lean times, giving them confidence every step of the way. Since Ganguly, we've had captains in Dravid, Kumble and Dhoni. Dravid and Kumble were just too graceful to be good captains, while Dhoni is still a work in process.

Almost throughout his career, Sourav batted under the shadows of Sachin, but the satisfaction that came from watching his cover drives is not matched even by the best chocolate fudge in town. The sixers off the left arm spinners were predictable, yet every bit amazing. His hundreds in Australia and England are unforgettable. The series against Pakistan in Toronto should have been officially renamed the "Sourav Ganguly series". The highlight of this career, though, has to be the shirt flinging at the holiest of the holy grounds, Lords.

The grace, elegance and skill for which he has been known were all on display in his last series against the Aussies. From the time when he announced his retirement to his hundred and the fifities... to the last speech. He has been fantastic.

Its painful to watch one day cricket these days. Gambir, Raina, Rohit and Dhoni are all brilliant... but they just dont mean as much to us, not yet anyway. We know its time for the legends to leave, but its just not the same without them. Thanks for the memories Dada...and at the risk of sounding too school boy-ish... I'll miss you!

1 comment:

sap.. said...

wow... even though...i have never been a cricket freak... infact the only reason i would know which series was on...was thanks to a cricket crazy brother... but still in a sense i relate to this article...that saurav,sachin,dravid, kumble mean so much to us... compared to new players.. but then i guess our parents were more "gavaskar,kapil dev etc kinds..." so times change....and damn i have to learn the names all over again...

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