Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sourav Ganguly gave India belief

Sanjay Manjrekar


I am sure the Indian cricket fraternity is pretty excited or shaken up with Sourav Ganguly announcing his retirement. It is an important moment in Indian cricket. I think it is a good decision. Since he has taken this decision before the start of the India-Australia series, people will now know this is the last time they will be watching one of their favourite cricketers. It’s a moment every big name in cricket deserves: the player walks into the ground and the people at the venue know this is the final time they are seeing their hero so there is a great ovation the cricketer gets. Its like the marathon runner who gets a standing ovation during his final lap – that is the kind of reception a player gets when he announces his retirement before a series.
I think it is a good decision and I hope that he leaves on a high note. It is an important series for India; they have a good chance of winning against Australia, so I hope Ganguly can make some good contributions so he can end on a high note.
I take my hat off to Ganguly for what he did to Indian cricket after 2000. Let’s not forget when he took over as captain, Indian cricket was still recovering from the match-fixing saga and we had the right kind of leader in Ganguly who was happy to talk about that dark chapter in Indian cricket. He brought a fresh, new and clean Indian team that played good cricket. And together with John Wright we saw them making some progress. We became a team that was respected and was starting to get recognised by the world. I think earlier, the Indian team was one that did well at home and struggled overseas. Under Ganguly’s captaincy all that started to change.
The last year has been tough for him. His comeback in the series against South Africa was excellent but once again the last few months were tough for him. We tend to forget his immense contribution in the past. He has been a sublime left-hander and I have particularly enjoyed his batting. I remember after the first time I saw him in 1996 on that tour to England, I wasn’t surprised that he went on to become a permanent fixture in the Indian team. But more importantly he was a leader who gave India a lot of belief after what was a difficult stage in Indian cricket. That is Ganguly’s contribution to Indian cricket for which he will be remembered.
I would like to stress that it is a good decision he has taken and at the right time. So good luck to Dada and all I want to tell him is that life isn’t too bad as a retired cricketer. We welcome you to our community and life continues to be a lot of fun even after retirement, so don’t worry about that.

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