As the sun sets down on the career of arguably the greatest captain of India’s biggest obsession, I, as a patriotic Indian, feel compelled to write my own tribute to the man who led our team out of the gloom of match-fixing and instilled the pride of being world beaters in our hearts.
I, contrary to what you may believe, was not a great fan of Dada’s batting, but whatever may we think about him as a batsman, there can be no doubt in anybody’s mind that, at that point of time, he certainly was the character we needed in the epic script of Indian Cricket.
There is no denying he had a great bunch of players who were at the height of their capabilities during his term at the office, and he had great support in the form of Jon Wright. It is true that a captain is as good as the team he has, but it is also true that without an able leader, even the brightest of talents are unable to achieve greatness. He was not flawless, but he had the habit of knowing his flaws, which was perhaps his greatest ally in his success as a captain and a player.
But he was certainly not the white knight in the shining armor like Sachin Tendulkar. He often got on the nerves of administrators and former players for his unique ways and character. He was perhaps the most-fined Indian captain ever and had the audacity of putting the so-called gentlemen purists on their places. He fought viciously for his players and refused to bow to the tradition of zonal selections.
If there is one deed of his as a captain I find impossible to forgive and forget, it is the appointment of Greg Chappel as our national coach. Ganguly went by his personal friendship with the man and ignored his record and behavior as the leader of the Australian team before recommending him for the job. That one decision undid all the hard work of previous years and almost broke the team that he had created with so much effort. Perhaps, it was fitting that he personally had to pay for it.
I hope that he puts the recent disappointment he has suffered behind him and contributes in the further betterment of the game in the country. And, I pray that when the epilogue of this great era of Indian Cricket is written, he is remembered as the hero we may not have wanted, but the hero we couldn’t have done without. Our very own, dark knight!
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