I’m shocked. Not because I haven’t been reading the news, or because I’m ignorant, but because I’m a fan. We – and I speak for fans of Sourav – knew it was coming, cringed when cynics suggested that it was already time, spit fire when critics judged, but it is only when that finality strikes that you feel it. We shall shed a few tears today and I will not say do not cry, for not all tears are evil, as Gandalf would have said. Perhaps it is only fitting to quote Gandalf here, as Ganguly has risen from the ashes time and again.
Ever since he first set foot into the international arena, up until now, there was some non-cricketing reason to drop him. And he came back more emphatically each time. It is in this fighting spirit that Ganguly truly embodies the wholesomeness of being a cricketer. It is this very spirit that lead us to many famous victories. It is this arrogance that saw us beat Australia on that historic day in 2001. It is this spirit that has given us a generation of confident cricketers. Not only crickters – Ganguly inspired an entire nation. It isn’t in too many countries that effigies are burnt for one man, or too many times that a jingoistic nation cheers for the opposition team in the support of the man who was dropped from the team and in expressing disgust for the other man who brought about that.
It has been sometime since I’ve felt this kind of emotion. But Ganguly has always evoked such responses from people. There was never an “in-between” about him. You must either love him or hate him. For love, here is my clumsy attempt at an Ode to Ganguly:
Sourav! Whatever you might be to other people,
to your fans you will always be Dada,
The Tiger, fierce and ever so arrogant,
the Maharaj, so Princely,
Captain so adorable
We will forever ask why now, for we love you
We will miss that arrogant shimmy down to wicket,
even the innocent blinking
We will miss the powerful sixes
and the sweetly timed boundaries through
the off side which you made your very own
We will miss the mind games that you have
played so well, the emphatic interviews,
and the media drama
that always surrounds you
We will stop not there
but thank you for many
of your glorious deeds:
for lifting us from the abyss
of match-fixing scandals
for giving us many away victories
for giving new meaning
for taking us to a World Cup Final
that we still think you deserved
and above all for being a
Captain who among a
myriad other deeds
taught us to believe!
Thank you, Sourav, for all the wonderful memories that I will cherish for a life time. Here’s wishing you a glitterring series against that very team you fought hard against!