It was way back in the 90’s when Sourav made his International debut in the shorter version of the game in Australia. A very senior cricketer had a funny anecdote to narrate post the conclusion of the series. He narrated that Sourav was once asked to carry water for a batsman at the crease Sourav he stated was reluctant and finally to the utter surprise of the senior stated that this is the job of Ramu.
Sourav as we all know hails from an affluent family in Kolkatta which has flourishing business, huge house, fleet of cars and unlimited servants one of them must be a Ramu. I am sure all the cricketers on that tour must have written the obituary of Sourav there and then. He returned to the national team after a couple of years and as a debutante scored two centuries in as many innings in the longer version of the game in England.
Sourav really worked hard to get back in the side but those were the days when anything that the southpaw did was attributed to he being influential. This I am sure must have toughened him up and his resolve to excel at the highest level must have become stronger.
The Bengal tiger was doing well in both the forms of the game and especially so in the shorter version. Fast bowlers from all over the world could not stop him as he played innings after innings of extraordinary brilliance. He along with Tendulkar formed the most dreaded opening pair in the world.
Sourav was asked to lead India and what a move it turned out to be. He molded the side into a fighting unit got many a youngsters and did show the courage to stick with them despite their failures. Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan and Parthiv Patel will vouch for it. It was Dada who promoted Sehwag as an opening batsman and today his presence at the crease sends shivers in the body of the finest fast bowlers in the game.
The treatment he dished out to a tough Australian outfit lead by Steve Waugh was something of a psychological ploy which Australians employ for others. He gave them a taste of their own medicines, verbal volleys were exchanged, youngsters did not think twice before answering back to legends like Warne and McGrath, cricket played was highly competitive and the outcome of each Indo-Australian series become highly unpredictable. Sourav’s mantra was meet fire by fire.
Sourav did not hesitate to throw his shirt from the balcony of Lords, the Mecca of cricket, when Kaif, Yuvraj and Harbhajan helped India to win the one-day series in England. This was his way of getting back at Andrew Flintoff after what he did in India an act I am totally supportive of.
I feel he who hails from a affluent background can be a better captain than one who comes from a middle class background. A rich man does not hesitate before taking tough decisions and does indulge in occasional gambling a quality every captain must have at times. This explains why Pataudi and Sourav made better captains than a Gavaskar or Tendulkar. I am sure Ajay Jadeja would have made a fantastic leader in the limited overs game.
Sourav is not a great runner between the wickets neither he is a fielder of outstanding merit but makes up with his never say die attitude, big hitting ability and those silky cover drives. He is a man with tremendous self belief and have seen him come out to bat at the most avoidable hour of the day only to protect Sachin who was not quite at his best in Australia in 2003-04
While in his prime as a captain once Raj Singh Dungarpur, BCCI representative walked up to him and Dravid at the nets and told Dravid to get ready to take over the captaincy. Raj Singh was always a critic of Ganguly but this is not done and even today the treatment given to Dada is most unfair be it at the hands of the selection committee or a certain Mr Greg Chappell. The fact remains that he has done well in test cricket and exceedingly well in limited overs cricket so celebrate his achievements.
Sourav you are in my book India’s best captain ever. Many a young cricketers who have become stalwarts today owe their career to you and your persistent faith in them. You have always loved to dominate and your name has become synonymous with fighting spirit. Lesser mortals would have left the game long back. Dada the dadagiri did really suit you hence no matter what your showing in the last series against Australia is please go with your head held high. Your long innings was Bhishaan Bhalo.