Apr 6, 2012

Never Write Sourav Ganguly Off

When Pune Warriors take on the Mumbai Indians today, it will be a battle of David and Goliath. Not many would back the depleted Pune side led by Sourav Ganguly to upset the mighty Mumbai Indians, who spanked the reigning IPL champions Chennai Super Kings by 8 wickets in this season's opening game. There also seems to be a lot of negativity and lack of buzz surrounding the Pune Warriors. And there are some valid reasons for it. The Sahara franchise has been in the news this year for all the wrong reasons, almost not playing this season of the IPL. In 2011, they finished second last after flattering to deceive in first couple of matches. So, why have expectations from a side that has not done well to its reputation? Not really. Because, one man in that team has it in him to change the fortunes of his side drastically.

In a pre-tournament analysis of all the sides, I heard Sanjay Manjrekar saying that handing over the reigns of PWI to Sourav Ganguly 'makes no cricketing logic.' I wonder why he and other cynical experts love to loathe Ganguly. Same things were said when Ganguly was included in the side for South African tour of 2006. When he was dropped from the side earlier, these cynics rejoiced. But Sourav shut their mouths up by making a mother of all comebacks in 2006, and going on to play on the top of his game for the next 2 years. Why the likes of Manjrekar find no fault in a 41-year old Gilchrist leading the Kings XI Punjab. IPL is the only form of cricket that Gilchrist plays every year, not even bothering to participate in his country's domestic T20 bash. Yet, he remains the holy cow while Ganguly emerges as the favorite scapegoat.

Sourav has been training hard for four months now, playing in the domestic circuit, and in the process leading Bengal to its maiden Vijay Hazare trophy win. He is a born leader, who can walk into a side solely on his superlative captaincy skills. His batting, still, is better than many of those who are being paid millions of dollars in the IPL. There is no reason why Sourav Ganguly can not do to Pune, what Warne did to Rajasthan. In fact, he has a much better side at his disposal with the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Clarke, Jesse Ryder, Marlon Samuels, Robin Utthappa, Luke Wright and Rahul Sharma in the ranks.

But its not the team which makes Ganguly a formidable force. It's he himself, the never ending fairytale, which makes 'Dada' rise like a phoenix every time he is written off completely. He is very excited about this year's IPL and has been given a free hand by the team owners. At the ripe age of 39, he still has the same self-belief, aggression and passion for the game. Let's get it right- Sourav ganguly has nothing to prove anymore. He could have easily sat in the commentary box, sharing a few laughs with Shashtri or that stupid man Manjrekar. It is only the passion for the game of cricket, which is still driving Sourav Ganguly. Albeit on a high, he retired a bit pre-maturely in 2008. IPL gives him a chance to give back to the game and to the people who still have faith in him.

I am not expecting the moon from Sourav Ganguly and Pune Warriors this year. But rest assured, it will not be a meek surrender either. Sourav will play hard, play for his pride and inspire some good performances from the youngsters. He may not be the same batsman anymore, but he remains the same motivational leader, a fierce competitor and a dedicated student of the game. Cynics have come and gone while Sourav has quietly scripted some most unimaginative successes in his glorious cricketing career. And perhaps it is this never say never attitude, which makes Sourav Ganguly an ageless wonder.

I will not get into prediction business, as far as Pune's fortunes in this IPL is concerned. But I can firmly say that Sourav Ganguly will be the man who will ensure that Pune end this IPL with their heads held high. Trust me when I say this, (and you should certainly not trust someone like Sanjay Manjrekar)- Never Write Sourav Ganguly Off.


  1. Sanjay Manjrekar has this habit of blabbering.. sometimes like a monkey..rest of the times like a donkey (questioned Tendulkar many times without giving a reasonable insight)..

    Sourav is a darling of India..entire nation is excited to see him again..so am I... :))

    I wish to see MI,PW,KKR and CSK in the semifinals (though I hate CSK but i cant imagine IPL-semis without them..)...and needless to say I want MI to win IPL :P...duniyaaa hilaa denge :D :D

  2. Now I would really like PW to play well. Not because it has anything to do with my likeness towards Ganguly but due to your admiration towards him.

    Hope he plays well and his team do wonders..Cheers! :)

  3. @Ram- Manjrekar is indeed very irritating. A bastard in fact. Remember his Sachin Bashing!

    MI, PWI, KKR in semis! OH YES! My three fav teams! No CSK Please! DD can be the fourth team :)

  4. @lebnox- Thanks for reading! :) I hope your wishes work. :)

  5. i always love to see and meet hardcore fans of dada...coz i m one of them...and i realized that you are also one of us...so first of all very nice to meet you...!
    what you wrote about person like Sajay Manjrekar is absolutely right...how can one person shows disregards towards a successful captain of one time...?a person who gave habit of winning to India...introduced very much successful players...taught players how to play...when team was suffering...he gave the good efforts with captainship and gave India a good position in cricket rankings...
    I feel very happy and joyful when dada plays...today he played very well with delhi...and today also by winning match with Delhi with the same aggression he proved that he is the man of success and he can surly take pune warriors towards win!!!

    1. Thank you Hrishi Raj for coming over here! I am glad to meet you too! :) And yes Dada is a true fighter and a gifted leader, last night's Delhi game proved this fact yet again! Let's hope and pray that he and the PWI do really well this season!

      Looking forward to interact with you much more this IPL season! :)

  6. Really great blog..Ganguli was great player..