Sometimes I wonder, what is it about ‘Greatness’ that is so selective in nature. Why can’t there be a lot of Greats because every person should ideally strive to be the best that he can be. And I wonder, what is it that makes a lot of ‘Greats’ be so vain that they cannot see when their time is up. Life is, after all, a journey and no matter what some silly lines might suggest that ‘Time stood still when… (she looked at me / Warne came on to bowl / Sachin raised his bat)’; believe me, it is all nonsense. Just that a few ‘Greats’ do not accept this brutal truth and want to latch on to those few moments when they removed their shirt, and time did stand still.
Saurav Ganguly, better known as the ‘Bengal Tiger’ or the ‘God of Off Side’ or some ‘Maharaja’ is definitely one of those ‘Greats’ who characterized the marked change in the attitude of India and Indians towards the world. India went from being a meek sidey pushover to the Bull in the pit, not only in cricket but also in other areas of World recognition such as Business, Economics and even Bollywood. Suddenly, during those few years, Indians decided that they didn’t need to take ‘shit’ and found a new confidence to stand up against their ‘white’ counterparts in all fields. I guess, before Ganguly ‘roared’, even the BCCI never fully realized its economic clout in world cricket.
Unfortunately, the ‘Greatness’ promised by Ganguly remained just that – a promise; unfulfilled coz. ‘Greatness’ cannot leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth. Greatness cannot be literally told to ‘get out’ when it still wants to be in. Greatness, among other things includes, knowing when to Quit. The career of many a great sportsmen passes through domestic level, club level and finally to international level. The career of Saurav Ganguly albeit seems to reverse this pattern, just like that guy Benjamin Buttons’ life in that movie. Being out of International cricket, he has been shown the door by the IPL owners and once he’s out of the IPL, he might as well finally quit Domestic cricket. The Hero has fallen.
Do not for a minute think that we Indians know nothing better than to deride greatness. We loved his hairy chest (not like someone loves a chest but figuratively speaking) when he removed his shirt during that Natwest Final, we loved him when he creamed deliveries through the off side even though the team put 7 players to cover his cover drives, we loved him when he stood by players he believed in, and when he held his head high and carried on with his job in the wake of the match fixing crisis.
Though the announcement of his retirement sounded a little funny considering, he did retire from International cricket and none of the IPL franchises were interested in him, there wasn’t really anything for him to go on, I still thought of remembering the guy. But again, even in the dying moments of his career, he displays he still wants to latch on to his past and claims to have never spoken of retirement, though a lot of people have already published ‘tributes’ for his farewell. Somehow, this reminds me of our Principal’s speech during our Annual Day celebration in school when in the middle of his long speech, all of a sudden, the students would start clapping, not in adulation, but to let him know that his time is up.