You either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.
Sourav Ganguly – The prince of Kolkata or better known as ‘Dada’ was once the best offside player the world had ever witnessed. He took the world by surprise when he scored a century on a seaming Lords pitch on debut. His flashing square cuts, elegant cover drives and crisp straight drives caught the attention of people all around the world. ‘Dada’ had announced himself on the world stage and we all know what followed next – he became the most successful captain in the history of Indian cricket leading India to many overseas victories which were hard to achieve before his age. He was a born leader, a man with a vision to take Indian cricket to the next level and full of passion. But as we know – All good things come to an end and so did his cricketing journey. He was susceptible to the short ball and this was well exploited by the opposition bowlers who made Ganguly look foolish while playing them. As a result, he was dropped from the national ODI side and finally retired from international cricket.
Then came the IPL and with that came the opportunity to captain his beloved Bengal team(Kolkata Knight Riders). But that too didn’t work out as KKR, despite of having a good team couldn’t pose a threat to any of the other franchises. He was removed from the captaincy in the 2nd season and after the third season he was not even picked by the KKR franchise because of his dismal show in the first three seasons. In fact, no franchise in the IPL bought Sourav Ganguly. This left him heartbroken, but due to an injury to Ashish Nehra which ruled him out of IPL – 4, Ganguly got a chance to play for the Pune Warriors under the captaincy of Yuvraj Singh.
Following that, came the 5th season of the IPL and Dada was appointed the captain of the Pune Warriors due to the absence of Yuvraj Singh. You could see that a new rejuvenated Dada took the field in the opening game for Pune. He was all charged up but this did not reflect in his batting. He continued to get out in single digits and was not at all contributing to the team. Whenever he reached double figures they were scored at a run a ball or less. And how can we forget that 24 ball 16 that he scored against Mumbai which led to the ultimate downfall of his team while chasing a meager total of 120. He couldn’t deliver the goods even against his former side, scoring a run a ball 36 in a situation that demanded more from him. Even his captaincy hasn’t been spot on – his bowling changes haven’t worked out, the field placing hasn’t been up to the mark and all of this could cost Pune a place in the playoffs.
Sangakkara dropped himself for a match from the Deccan team because he thought that although he was the captain he was not contributing enough to the team. He considered that a change in team composition could change the fortunes of the team. I think Ganguly should do a Sangakkara by dropping himself for a match or two, handing over the captaincy to an experienced player and emptying his spot for some Indian youngster who could perform much better in T20s. I do not doubt Dada’s capabilities as a captain or a batsmen, but I am writing from what I have witnessed over the 5 seasons of IPL.
Dada you are a true legend but sometimes you need to take tough decisions in life and have to make way for the young players to come through. I know you don’t want to leave cricket but I guess for the greater good of your team you should step aside, become a mentor and let the young players perform.