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Sunday, December 17, 2006

The importance of Saurav Ganguly

After Sachin became Pollock’s bunny,
and Jaffer, Sehwag, Dravid batted funny;
One man arrived to stop the kill,
With a bat of wood and a heart of steel.

The Indian cricket team, currently in South Africa began their quest for the One-day series on Nov 16th, with a warm-up match against a Rest of South Africa XI. Little under a month later, they played another warm-up match, this time in preparation for the test series, again against a Rest of South Africa XI. Though, with one small difference - a man called Saurav Ganguly was absent in the first one and present for the second. And, one big difference - India lost the first match and won the next.
With two back to back half-centuries followed by a small yet important cameo, Saurav Ganguly has almost single-handedly resurrected the dying spirits of Indian cricket and more importantly, he has laid the foundation for a historic victory, India's first ever test win in South Africa. Two days back, even the wildest Indian supporters would not have cherished any hopes of an Indan victory - so bruised and battered have the Indian batsmen been. In the situation, there was hardly a surprise when India were soon reduced to 110/4 in the first innings of the current test. It's in this context that Ganguly's half-century becomes important. Compare it to India's last tour of Australia and you will know what I mean. No one gave India any chance, and again, in the first innings of the first test India were in a similar position at 127/4. One man's steely resolve set the tone for India, then. The same man, after being dropped, humiliated and finally recalled is doing it again for his country. That's why, Saurav Chandidas Ganguly is important - he lifts his cricket when it's needed most, and alongwith it he lifts the whole team, upwards!
For a complete score-card of the India vs Australia 1st Test, Brisbane 2003-04, click here
An extract from Kadambari Murali's piece in today's Hindustan Times:
" Ganguly's half-century was worth much more than just 51 and he and everyone watching knew it. In a sense, it was a more defining knock than his 144 in Brisbane three years ago."


Abhigyan said...

I disagree - that 144 remains a more path-breaking knock, the most critical one Dada has ever played in his career, better than a lot of his match-winning hundreds as an ODI opener. Or maybe I witnessed that in a lot more detail than the 51...

Amit Bajaj said...

in fact, i agree with you... i believe that after a certain level of quantitative difference, qualitative calls don't really need to be taken...

Homer said...

Each knock had its own value. talking of Dada's knocks, two of his more stunning innings ocurred in the summer of 2002 in England. A match saving innings of 99 at Trent Bridge that could have sealed the deal for England followed by a batting masterclass at Headingley (128).
The Brisbane innings set the tone for the rest of the series, but we must remember that the Aussies were without McGrath and Warne.
The Wanderers knock happened in a low scoring game with all the added drama of Sauravs recall into test cricket.
The point I am making is, each knock was pricless in the context under which it was played.
Abhigyan, talking of ODI knocks, how about his 141 in 2000 in Kenya against the Proteas in the semi finals of the ICC Trophy? Given the time ( post match fixing) and given the team ( Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh in thier debut series), it was priceless.

Abhigyan said...

Dada had a sexy record against the Proteas, anywhere in the world. And he sort of translated that into the Test arena against them the first time.
The ODI hundred Homer mentions is arguably his most sizzling knock in the ODI arena, better than the then record-chase against Pakistan in Dhaka.
But I will compliment Sachin too, he batted beautifully for a crafty 44 in the first innings, at 14/2. Maybe we will witness such cameos only in the future, let Ponting break the records.

omarhaq said...

hah! :) congrats - i know you're really happy!

Anonymous said...
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Bobby Griffin said...

Hey Amit,

I don't see a link to my site, "Bestest Blog" here on yours. Email me or leave another comment if/when you get it up! Thanks.

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