India is a country where cricket is treated like a religion and it supersedes everything when India is in action. Indian’s are generally very emotional and sometimes tend to get carried away. There is never a dull moment when cricket is going on and now former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has come up with his autobiography ‘A Century is not Enough’ and it touches upon various aspects of his life and cricketing journey.
Cricket is traditionally a sport where captain dictates the terms of the play and coach’s role is more secondary and managerial and it has been the case over the years. Indian cricket after 2000 has grown in leaps and bounds and a lot of credit goes to governing body BCCI, but one has to applaud and appreciate the contribution of Sourav Chandidas Ganguly, who after the match-fixing scandal single-handedly put Indian cricket back on the map and we will be forever in debt. Ganguly as an individual was passionate, edgy, controversial and it reflected in his captaincy. But, over the years he has complained about everything and always paints himself as a victim, whether it is selectors, BCCI, fellow players or coach.
Sourav Ganguly as a cricketer was a straight shooter and honest and always spoke his mind. In his book, he touches upon his strained relationship with former Aussie legend Greg Chappell and even after retiring from the game for the better part of 10 years (retired in 2008) he is still whining and complaining about how he was poorly treated by Chappell. Greg Chappell as a coach was not everyone’s cup of tea because he didn’t believe in cajoling players and he was hard on preparation and fitness (that’s coach’s job, isn’t it?).
Chappell while being coach did a blasphemous act and dropped Ganguly from the team (he was still captain) and his reason was seditious because Ganguly was not scoring runs, not leading by example and was becoming a liability in the field. This decision caused an earthquake in the Indian team and media and Ganguly said that he was given a raw deal and Chappell had an agenda.
Sourav Ganguly should be mindful of the fact that just because you helped Chappell get a deal doesn’t mean he is in debt to you. What was Aussies’ fault that you weren’t performing, letting the team down and just because he called spade a spade doesn’t mean that he has a vendetta against you. Ganguly played the game for 12 years at the highest level and scored 38 international tons (22 in ODIs, 16 in Tests) and was not in the same league as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and he played second fiddle to them throughout his career.
Ganguly’s favourite cricketer Virat Kohli has 56 international hundreds in 331 matches as of now (Ganguly played 424 matches for 38 centuries). There is an unwritten rule in cricket that you play hard on the field, but after it’s over you don’t make it personal off the field. It was not only Chappell who irked ‘Prince of Kolkata’ later it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shah Rukh Khan and a whole lot of people who disagreed with Dada and fell out. The great irony is that ‘Bengal Tiger’ made his much-anticipated comeback to the Indian team under Chappell’s reign during India’s tour of South Africa in 2006-07.
Sourav Ganguly will turn 46 in July and doesn’t suit him to wash-dirty linen in public just to sell his book and whether you like Chappell or not he has behaved like a gentleman and has not said a word since he was sacked after the World Cup in 2007 and that is what character and integrity is all about. Cricket enthusiasts always ask why our cricketing culture can’t be more like Australia’s, my simple summation is that they treat everyone equally and no one is bigger than the game, wherein India we arrange a farcical farewell series for Sachin Tendulkar just to please him and that’s why Australia will always trump India while upholding standard of the game.
Sourav Ganguly achieved quite a lot in his career and should not get stuck on one issue that he was wronged and screwed, but should behave like a statesman and get rid of resentment and hatred towards Greg Chappell. Chappell is not relevant in India but Ganguly is adamant to make him relevant and important and please Dada let bygones be bygones.