At Last, kudos to the Indian team for their convincing win against the South Africans at their own backyard. No words of praise is sufficient enough to express the joy, which has engulfed the entire nation. Even more delightful is the resurgence of the Indian team at the Wanderers, which comes as a breather when they seem to be down in the dumps in the face of the 0-4 drubbing they received at the hands of the South Africans in the recently concluded One Dayers. The entire team should savior this moment, especially VVS, Sreesanth and Zaheer. Oh! How can we forget Dadi who was like the gladiator thrown out to lions inside the cauldron. Should we say part of the credit for this Indian recovery on this Afrikan tour should go to the Prince of Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly? Look what experience can do to the fortunes of a team praying for help. Here was an enigma returning to the battlefield after 9 months of gestation, only to be reborn and to bring confidence and belief to a team which was lost in the woods.
Sourav has done a tremendous job to fight tooth and nail and get back to the place where he belongs. I am sure he would have had his nose to the grindstone after his head was guillotined and all and sundry were questioning his temperament, which really was uncalled for. You only have to step into a cricketer’s shoes to understand the real hell this magical player was forced to have a glimpse of. Dada is a true cricketer (even though he has his limitations), a fighter to the core and who has got this never say die, give it back, attitude, a trait which is uncommon in quite a few.
That is exactly the reason he is rated as one of the most successful captains of India and respected by the cricketing fraternity all over. While he was at the helm, he dared to challenge his opponents like Steve Waugh and Andrew Flintoff and in doing so, showed that Indians are no pushovers. How else can you explain Dada’s deliberate delayed arrival for the toss against the mighty Aussies and the tornado created by his shirt on the Lord’s balcony, after India pulled of a memorable and astonishing win in the Natwest series final, courtesy Kaif and Yuvraj ?
The mere fact that the present Indian team is now struggling goes to show that we are in a need of a leader who can take the bull by its horns. Just challenging the opponents without inspiring and imbibing trust in his own team mates will only harm the progress. Looking back at the heydays, it was the perfect harmony and co-ordination which Saurav created, by always standing at bay, which resulted in reaping rich rewards. He questioned the supremacy of the Aussies, got victory in Pakistan , India ‘s first away win from home in 11 years by bringing in talented, but, directionless individuals to form a bunch of world beaters. Surely he has done much for the revival of Indian cricket!
A sudden change of air, marked by the exit of John Wright and the appointment of Greg Chappell (who was incidentally recommended by Ganguly himself) brought with it a cloud of misunderstanding and commotion inside the Indian dressing room. Dada and Chappell found themselves in the middle of a tangle which threatened to disrupt the camaraderie within the Indian team and cause friction and was disturbingly snowballing into an ugly scenario.
Here were two men, as different as chalk and cheese, fighting out their egos and causing frayed nerves and bringing about a lump in the throat of the Indian team. The unwarranted faith in the foreign coach forced Ganguly to cool his heels in the river Hoogly and the task of the steering the Indian Ship was now thrust in the hands of a mute spectator. Not surprisingly, a loud hue and cry reverberated throughout the nation and the Bengali babus threw in their weight for their Prince of Kolkata.
Amidst all this chaos, Saurav has managed to keep afloat in these swirling waters and let his performance do the talking. His return to the Indian team has made the chairman of the previous selection committee eat humble pie, and, his own words. Ganguly, who has enough money in his coffers to set a few bundles alight everyday, has always played for the pride of the country and worn the nation’s heart on his sleeve to achieve that. He now has to bail the bruised Indian vessel out of troubled waters, trusting his favorite talisman that he sports, and maintain a stiff upper lip.
Else, the cricketing world stands to lose another touch artist, of whom there are not many at present. A thought also goes out then to the Aussie Damien Martyn who, when at his best, made batting look like poetry in motion. It’s sad to see him call it a day when there was much left in him and when he was by no means a liability fetching diminishing returns to the formidable Australian cricket team. Why, he was a chief architect in Australia ‘s first ever Champions Trophy win a short time back!