Sourav Ganguly © Getty Images
Sourav Ganguly © Getty Images


By Tejaswini Tirta


There are two kinds of cricketers in this world: those who bid adieu to the game at the right time, in the right circumstances and for all the right reasons and those who are forced to quit amidst a melee. Of late, there have been more cases of people who choose a messy ending to their otherwise illustrious careers, than those who walk out with their heads held high.


Sourav Ganguly – unfortunately for all his fans, including yours truly – is a perfect example of how NOT to go. From being Team India’s most successful captain to being ignominiously ousted from every format of the game, the controversies surrounding the Prince of Kolkata seem to have outweighed his achievements.


No, I’m not going to go down the Greg Chappell road again. But, I must confess, the IPL 4 episode was like an “action replay” and entirely avoidable. The only person who could have averted this embarrassment was Ganguly himself. Because excitement and club patriotism notwithstanding, you cannot deny the fact that IPL is all about money.


You just had to tune into the auctions and do a simple math of the total amount spent, at the end of the day and you’d know what I’m talking about. And if I am the owner of an IPL franchise and I have a fixed budget to build a strong team, I better ensure I get my money’s worth. And this value is measured in terms of availability, the sixes and fours, the fastest 50s and hundreds, and most importantly, zero controversies.


And let’s face it guys, contrary to his remarkable ODI and Test statistics, Ganguly’s T20 run has been far from good.The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) per se were never a team to reckon with in any of the three IPL seasons. And with intermittent rumors of rift between team owner Shah Rukh Khan and Ganguly, coupled with a weird two-captain format that the KKR management chose for IPL 3, Ganguly never got a chance to make his mark as a strong contender in the new format of the game. So, logically speaking, the answer to the question, “why didn’t any franchisee pick Ganguly during the auction this year?” is a no-brainer.


Moreover, when it comes to league cricket, certain cricketers belong to certain teams. Think about it. Would Mumbaikars accept it, if Sachin Tendulkar represented a region other than his own? Or if Virendra Sehwag played for a non-Delhi team? Ganguly belongs to Kolkata. Sadly enough, Ganguly – unlike Anil Kumble – did not take the team owner’s hint.


Consequently, while Kumble proudly walked into the auction alongside Vijay Mallya, having donned the role of a mentor to team Royal Challengers Bangalore, Ganguly complicated matters further by turning down SRK’s “admin” offer and appealing to the board to be bought outside the auction. A rule which – if broken – has the danger of opening Pandora’s box. The result – again – a no-brainer! And yet again, one of cricket’s best captain’s is compelled to stay away from all the action.


It was the year 2002, when India’s captain took off his shirt in celebration of one of Team India’s most sensational finishes. Little did he know, that few years down the line he will be stripped off his dignity and reputation, bit by bit and there’s nothing he would be able to do to control or stop it.


(Bangalore-based Tejaswini Tirtha spent the first eight years of her career in mainstream media, having worked with leading dailies like Times of India, The New Indian Express and Asian Age, tracking new trends in the film, fashion, theater and gaming industries. A couple of years ago, she was bitten by the corporate bug, but tried to keep the journalist in her alive by grabbing every writing opportunity that came her way. Her other interests include reading, music, watching movies, traveling, F1 racing and of course, cricket)