May 12, 2011

Why Ganguly is the eighth wonder of Indian cricket: Avijit Ghosh

Sometimes fairytales come true. In the case of Sourav Ganguly, it almost always does. Playing for Pune Warriors India in his debut IPL 4 game on Tuesday, the former India captain showed once again why he would always be the prince of hearts for his fans.

On the face of it, an unbeaten innings of 32 runs off 32 balls can be dismissed as anything but special. Ten out of those 32 runs happened due to errors -- a miscued pull that fell in no man's land and went for two, a Dale Steyn fielding mistake that got him a boundary and a French cut off the South African paceman that fetched him four.

Only two shots -- the smashing drive over extra-cover off a 143.2 km fast delivery against Ishant Sharma and a six over mid-wicket off leg-spinner Amit Mishra - were of any substance.

But that's entirely missing the human drama that this innings was all about. When PWI announced that they had signed Ganguly to play for the remainder of the IPL, even his most ardent fans had mixed feelings. They wanted him to succeed but they were not sure if he could.

After all, the 38-year-old cricketer had not picked up a bat in the past five months, as he himself revealed after the match.

Many others would have refused the offer. Ganguly didn't. He had always maintained he wanted to play in the IPL. Of course, the money was a factor. But it was also evident that he enjoyed playing the game. Perhaps he also accepted the offer even at this late stage because he wanted to show that the fat cats had made a mistake in not selecting him at the auction.

On Tuesday against Deccan Chargers, the left-hander once again showed that it is possible to put mind over matter. You can, if you think you can.

The crowd understood this frisson between the heart and the body that happened in Hyderabad as Ganguly guided his team to a victory. They applauded him as much for his courage -– he prefers batting to pontificating from the commentators' box or passing judgments like Javagal Srinath in his column -- as for his shots.

No single has been more cheered and clapped in IPL history than the first run he scored. And he was not even the home boy.

Sportsmen generally generate only two emotions: euphoria and despair. But like a rock star, Ganguly can make you run through the entire gamut of emotions.

Being a Ganguly fan means being part of an unpredictable emotional journey. You never know what will come your way on a particular day. Nobody else has the power to enthrall and exasperate like him.

His fans understand the wonder of Sourav Ganguly.

Source: The Times of India

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