Yes, the Australia series, is over. Yes, India have won it 2-0. Yes, Ganguly is really retiring. Yes, I’ve already written my Ode to Ganguly. But this is a little different and more personal, more rambly and possibly incoherent.
There is one person I always think of when I think of Sourav Ganguly: my friend from school. If it wasn’t for her, I would never have understood what it is to be a Ganguly fan. When we first discussed Ganguly – it came up casually, as we were discussing the 99 World Cup- she not only re-kindled in me the passing interest I had in Indian cricket then, but planted in my heart the love of a generation of cricketers and the glorious game. Here’s to you, my dear friend, and thank you a million! I may never have thanked you for this, but I mean every word of this. I may have detracted you that I was a Dravid fan (thought I turned out to be that too), may have hid my excitement when Ganguly was made captain, 8 years ago to this very day, but I think you know that I was a truly a Dada-fan (and continue to be).
Pic Source: Cricinfo
With Ganguly’s retirement today, I feel a sense of void, for apart from other reasons, his moving also takes away a bit of the childhood that I’ve continued to live to this day, for Ganguly’s India brings to me many cherished memories: the sneaking from school to find out the score, the discussion over whether Rani Mukherjee or Sourav Ganguly represented Bengal better, the yearning for rain in May just to reminisce the World Cup ’99, watching cricket at night from different time zones with red eyes and having to go to a ghostly early class the next morning, that fateful March ’03 night of the World Cup final, the stupid match day superstitions, and many more. Maybe some memories will linger along with Tendulkar and Dravid, but the spirit of the Big Three, the Holy Trinity, the triumvirate, or whatever you want to call that, retires today, though the legacy will live on. Perhaps it was only fitting that Ganguly’s last battle was against Australia and that very apt that he left more people asking why Sourav and why not somebody else. But a fan will always rue his idol’s retirement!
On a sillier note, I feel for not being able to the wordpress tags ‘The Big 3 of Indian Cricket’, ‘The Big Three of Indian Cricket’, ‘The Fab Four’ anymore! The tags will retire along with Ganguly, but Sourav Dada Ganguly Maharaj – as fellow blogger Soulberry calls him – will forever remain in my heart entwined with cherished memories of my own childhood.
Thank you, once again, Sourav, and Best wishes for a happy and healthy new innings!