Friday, April 09, 2010

Swansong or another coming?

(Also in Bengali daily Ek Din)

Wasn’t this IPL supposed to be Sourav Ganguly’s swansong? Wasn’t he supposed to be the joker who scores slowly, fails to take singles, and misses balls while fielding? Wasn’t he supposed to fall flat on his face?

But wait! What’s going on here?

Sourav Ganguly is Kolkata Knight Riders’ highest run-getter after 10 matches. Not just that, his 333 runs are way ahead of second-best Chris Gayle’s 251. And his 333 ranks only behind Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar and Naman Ojha on the list of highest scorers in the tournament.

And then, in the game against Delhi Daredevils, Ganguly again showed why he is regarded as one of the best when under pressure. It was a match Kolkata had to win. Ganguly led with the bat, scoring 56. He dived around on the field, lifting the morale of his boys. He ran Gautam Gambhir out with a direct hit when Gambhir was looking dangerous. He bowled. He took a catch. And his facial expressions were a running commentary of what was going on at the Eden Gardens.

In short, he was involved. Big time. Something we don’t always see when it comes to Ganguly. But when the need of the hour was specific, Ganguly did the needful. Like only he can.

Tendulkar can flop match after match; he won’t be dropped from the Indian team or the Mumbai team or the Mumbai Indians team. Rahul Dravid can wait for his turn in the dugout wearing those inner gloves but never will anyone question his ability in T20s. VVS Laxman too, can be a big flop, but everyone will continue to back him.
Not Ganguly. A flop means we call for his head. If the big foreign stars flop, people don’t bring out their knives. But for Ganguly, an obituary is always ready.

But now, after this performance, there’s a good chance more than one team will want Ganguly when the next auctions happen. Ganguly has said he won’t play IPL-4. But now, could there be a rethink? Certainly he should be one of the in-demand players.