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Dada: 'Comeback Icon' of the Nation

For the moment, this Bengal Tiger has been rehabilitated from an endangered status.He is not destined to extinction writes Kamal Kailash.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2006 02:24 IST

Do dead people ever come alive? Certainly not the ones who leave this world, but those whose obituaries are written when alive, do sometimes stage a comeback. Fortunately for Indian cricket, former captain Saurav Ganguly comes across as a classical case.

After a string of casual and poor performances the southpaw was dropped from the Indian Team amidst consternation and jubilation alike. Consternation for those who believed in the eternal worth of Dada and jubilation for those who thought that the Prince of Calcutta had lost his talisman to score runs.

What followed was a media binge to bury Ganguly for good. Obituaries were written with the choicest words. Experts, selectors et al, wanted his scalp. So, Wasim Akram advised Ganguly to retire- "This is a problem in our part of the world, sportsmen don't realise when is the right time to say goodbye to the game." If it was perfectly in order for Akram to play till the age of 37, Ganguly definitely doesn't warrant a retirement at 34.

Ganguly was out of form, alright, but then, all cricketers at various points in time have run out off form. Currently Virender Sehwag, and Sachin Tendulkar have been out of runs for long periods. But this doesn't mean that they should stop playing cricket!

During his days in wilderness, Ganguly was being consistently advised by a cross-section of the Nation to retire from the game. It's distinctly surprising that people, who can't decide for themselves, make decisions about others. For a moment, people had Ganguly believe that he was no longer good enough.

Against all odds Dada persisted and made an acclaimed comeback into Team India. But people had an explanation for this as well- "He is back not because he is good, but because others are not performing well." Strange - the more people are proved wrong in their prejudices, the more prejudiced they become.

Now what? Ganguly performs well against all odds in South Africa. His stoic 83 in the warm-up match against a Rest of South Africa side was reflective of his determination to do well. This was a well played innings under tremendous pressure as wickets were falling en bloc around him.

In the ongoing first Test match against the Proteas, Ganuguly was the top scorer for India with 51 not out in the first innings, holding the innings together. Ganguly fought in the middle for 180 minutes and returned unconquered. The high point of his innings was when he pulled Ntini for a six.

It was a relief to see an Indian batsman offer resistance after what seemed to be an eternity. He followed the good work of first innings with a brisk 25 in the second innings.

Dada braved the tension in the middle with utmost composure, knowing well that each ball could be his very last.

The latest target now for career critics is Virender Sehwagr. Some believe that it would be perfectly in order that he be dropped from the Team, but then it should be no business of every Tom, Dick and Harry to advise Sehwag on his future. The point is that constant media glare on Cricket makes it difficult for the individual in question to make a comeback.

No better example of the above truism is Saurabh Ganguly. For the moment, this Bengal Tiger has been rehabilitated from an endangered status. He is definitely not destined to extinction in the near future.

As adulation start to pour in from various quarters, the most successful captain of Team India has become the unambiguous 'Comeback Icon' in the country.

Email Kamal Kailash: kamalkailash@rediffmail.com