So what has changed overnight? Has Ganguly suddenly become a player of old times, when the ball would merely kiss his willow and race towards the boundary like a falling comet, when his gentle medium pacers would irritate and frustrate worthy batsmen from across the world? No, not exactly. These experts are nothing but aged maniacs who thrive on a potent mix of opportunism and astrology. At the start of a game or a tournament, they indulge in confident blabbering about which team has got the best chances and which team has absolutely no hope. When these predictions fall flat on the ground, they quickly shift their focus to the opportune moment and praise the unlikely hero or the underdogs.
But Indian cricket lovers, fans of Sourav Ganguly and even his staunchest of critics realize that the performance at Kotla was not just out of the blue. Yes, Sourav is now well past his prime, the silken cover drives have dried up, him dancing down the pitch against a left arm spinner is no more a guarantee for DLF maximum, but still the man refuses to get bogged down. Age catches up with every living object and Sourav is no different. And let's also remember that he is not as 'supremely gifted' as say a Sachin Tendulkar. His abilities and batting skills may have corroded, but the fire and desire to succeed at the highest level remains firmly intact. It is this tenacity and resoluteness of Ganguly's character that Indian cricket lovers are well aware of. Hence, Kotla heroics came as no surprise for those who have know and followed Sourav over the years. Yes, it was a sort of 'relief' for his die-hard fans, me included, but all of them knew that it was coming, sooner or later.
Ganguly is a special player because he has always risen from the ashes, he has stared in the face of adversity every time the going gets tough. He never says never, wins half of the battle through his mind. You would have seen this happening every time he walked out to bat in IPL-5. It is evident that he is struggling to get runs, but no one can take away the credit from him for trying relentlessly. He is ready to pull, even though it was never his strength, he is sweeping like never before and is also not afraid of playing the Dil-scoop! Against Daredevils, he took the ball in his hands when all his bowlers failed to stop rampaging duo of Sehwag and KP. That's Ganguly's hallmark, he is never shy when it comes to facing the heat or leading from the front. Once he was into that magical spell of 2-27 from 4 overs, his on-field captaincy improved by leaps and bounds. Ganguly, the tiger was back, weaving a web of discomfort and doubt around the Delhi batsmen. Not to mention that camera-frenzy moment when he sprinted across the dimensions of Kotla to celebrated the fall of Kevin Pietersen. That jubilation, fist clenched and raised up in the air and hair going all over the place, will go down in the history of IPL as one of the most defining moments.
Ganguly is a classic example of triumph of strong willpower over diminishing abilities. At this age, he could have easily chosen commentary over cricket or administrative power over passion, but he continues to astonish the cricketing world with his undying passion. His legs may have become slower, but his mind is still ticking, way better than some of the so-called young guns. And until Ganguly's mind continues to a kick a few butts and race against the natural progression of clock and time, expect him to be a potent force, both as a leader and a player. He does not promise to win the IPL for the Warriors, he does not promise or even remotely intend to match Gayle's batting heroics, but he also does not plan to bow down without a fierce fight.
P.S.- The Sourav Fairytale is Yet to Reach its Conclusion.