‘Expectation’ is a word that pulls down millions of people in this world — be it in studies, relationships or even in the game of cricket.
Will Sachin finally score another 100? Will India win the next World Cup? Can India beat other teams on foreign soil? Can India be the No 1 team in all three formats of the game? So many questions that lead to so many expectations in cricket.
If they manage to win, it’s a success story. If they fail, it’s breaking news on every channel. And who knows this better than Sourav Ganguly — arguably the best Indian captain ever?
Remember the famous Pepsi advertisement where he says, ‘Main aapka Dada. Aap bhule toh nahin?’.
Ganguly's life has revolved around three 'C's - cricket, comebacks and controversy. The rest is history as we all are aware of his significant contributions towards the game.
But then came the IPL and if you sum up his five years of IPL career it would be:
Led KKR -> removed from captaincy -> led KKR -> removed from the team -> purchased by PWI -> played three matches -> led PWI -> quit IPL -> offered to play with Sun risers Hyderabad (but turned down the offer).
He was the news for every match he played. He trended on Twitter for almost all good and bad games that PWI were a part of. He was praised and criticised for his performances. In spite of all these claims, the man still managed to stand tall and express his love for the game and the format.
But last year we witnessed a series of claims made against him. The papers reported that it was difficult to keep him in the team and not make him the captain.
But according to me, he was never hungry for captaincy. Look at his international career — he played under Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni. He played under McCullum where he was the highest scorer for KKR that year. He also played under Yuvraj Singh and never complained about it. So dear selectors, team management and media — he was never hungry for captaincy.
Also, at that point of time no one could have handled PWI better than Ganguly. In 2011 even Yuvraj failed but that wasn’t major news, was it? If Ganguly had Chris Gayle performing like how he performs now, followed by good and consistent players like Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis and Yusuf Pathan and bowlers like Sunil Narine, Brett Lee and L Balaji in his team, he would have surely made the most of it.
Even now when I glance through Ganguly’s career, a very famous dialogue from the film Guru comes in my mind where Abhishek Bachchan says, "If the world is speaking against you or is trying to pull you down, remember you are doing something good."
His performance in the last two years was decent but the media still preferred to target him rather than pore over the statistics of players who were purchased at over Rs. 10 crores but did little to justify their price tag.
All these and more have surely made Ganguly believe that his love for cricket is immortal but his body does not support him further to be a part of the game.
Six months ago, he called it quits and that was indeed a sad day for most Dada fans — because it simply meant that we'll never see a tiger charging down the pitch to hit the ball out of the stadium. We'll never see an aggressive captain who makes you believe that the match is not over till the last ball is bowled. We'll never see a team huddle and never see the God of off-side.
Be it his victory lap after getting Kevin Pietersen out on the first ball of his over or the diving catch in 2010 for KKR, Ganguly has always enjoyed his game and has always let his comebacks do the talking. Unfortunately, this year we will not see him on the field; but I’m sure millions of fans around the world believe in magic and miss Sourav Ganguly, the immortal tiger of IPL.
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