Just a few thoughts as you walk into the sunset. At this hour, memories from the past are flooding back to my mind: The first time I saw you in 90's; Ravi Shastri telling me that if ever I wanted to have someone in Tatas, it should be you.
I was a bit surprised when Shastri sounded so impressed with you, but then Kailash Gattani, who knows his cricket well, also was full of praises for you. I respect both Shastri and Gattani for their reading of the game and after listening to them speaking so highly of you, I just wanted to see you.
And what I saw was sheer class. Having had bowled to Durrani, Ambar Roy, Ajit Wadekar et al, I could say your ability was as good as theirs. They were tremendous players in their own right, never mind the figures, and you surely belonged there.
I still vividly remember the first look I had at you while you were playing against the Tatas at the CCI in the inaugural one-day invitation championship. A couple of cover drives you played then are still fresh in my mind. I was instantly convinced that I was watching a special payer.
I asked whether you would like to join Tata Steel and play in the famous Times Shield. You agreed, and did really well. And I have reasons to assume that you started toughening up from your 2-3 year stint in Times Shield.
And then there's the famous trip to Goa for the Arlem Trophy.
I remember you were the whipping boy of the Tata team, especially for your running between the wickets.
It wasn't your strong point then and isn't even today, more than 100 Test matches notwithstanding.
In another such tournament in Delhi, a Mumbai player, who I believe was your competitor, was run out while batting with you. Furious, he gave you a mouthful in the dressing room, and you took it all without resisting a bit.
I wonder what his reaction would have been if he could foresee the future. All said and done, I want to doff my hat to you for the contribution you have made to the Indian cricket. Now that you have called it quits, I hope we could spend some time together, again. We feel fortunate to have you with us (Tatas), and that association continues to this day.
Thank you Sourav and God bless.
(Former Mumbai skipper and cricket fan)