Dada ko bhool kyon nahi jate?

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I was not much into watching cricket back then, but the 1996 World Cup had laid bare the soft spot for cricket, that was an inherent part of me, being the middle class Indian that I am. And so surfing through channels one day, I had seen a sheepish looking debutant southpaw, post a century at Lord's, the mecca of cricket as they call it. I have never been too much into the technicalities of how the game is played or how they have to grapple with the conditions out there, so I never weighed the particular innings on scales such as degree of elegance, or the style and charisma involved, but in an Indian team that for me, was always sent out of the country, so that the opposition could feast on its, shortcomings, seeing someone take the attack to the home team, with frightening quickies like Dominic Cork in the attack, it just felt exciting.  The batsman, by the way, was Sourav Ganguly.

Ever since, there have been instances all through, that I have come to associate with, no one but Sourav Ganguly. Be it, debating the umpires to restart a match after bad light, to enable India win a thrilling final against Pakistan (a rarity in itself, as much back then, as now), or making a statement with not the bowl or the bat at his home ground, but by holding Steve Waugh and his army of invincibles to ransom as a leader of men, or telling Andrew Flintoff who the real boss is, by going topless (that is what media seemed to make it look like) again at the Lord's. I am not really a fan of Ganguly's, nobody but a Bengali could be, given his, princely ways in a team, where he was not even the first among equals, but his, ways or lucky ways to describe it rather aptly, always got him to something of note, whether it was on his first tour in 1990, Australia, where he refused to carry drinks, apparently, out of sheer frustration, or his debut test match at the Lord's where he stole the show, from Rahul Dravid, touted as India's future or while making a comeback two years back on the bouncy South Frican turfs, where he top scored out of all the Indian batsmen on show, a big surprisre again, given his so-called flawed technique.
I would have never known it, but for a casual look at the editorial pages of all our national dailies, some days back... the speculation over Sourav's career is back after the selectors dropping him from the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy. More interesting than the column footage that these people have dedicated to writing Sourav's obituaries is the kind of views that people harbour and want to go public with.
So we have people saying that he is one of the greats, a true servant [?] of Indian cricket, and hence should be accorded a VIP's farewell, where in he is allowed to choose when he retires from the game. Didn't they say Cricket was a team sport, much above individual gains and egos?
There is another school of thought, doing the rounds as well... He's not really performed in the recent past, (how recent) a mere liability, and hence needs to be done away with, from the BCCI's luggage. This, for Indian test team's top scorer, and best averaging batsmen in the last one year. A case of short lived public memory I guess. Here's my suggestion - why don't we leave it to the player himself, to decide if he's finished with himself or not, and shorten our already short memories, a bit more, for his comfort? Why don't we rather let Dada fade from our thankless memories?

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