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The Last Walk

Ganguly, the man who started his career with a century, manages a golden duck in his last innings. Atreyo Mukhopadhyay reports.

cricket Updated: Nov 09, 2008 23:04 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times

One of the many reasons to remember Sourav Ganguly is whatever he did — most of it he would cherish — kept adding to his legend. In keeping with that, those busy with record books before this match, looking for batsmen with centuries in their first and last Tests, ended up creating a cyber jam in search of players to have scored a hundred in their first innings and a zero in the last.

Like this extra spice that he was dismissed on the first ball, his career was full of incidents he would not have fond memories of. But despite working against him, these events enriched the aura of a man famous as much for his cover drives as for his date with controversies.

He was hammered left, right and centre in the Indian media when the selectors sent him to England in 1996. People present at Lord's on June 20 that year recollect how almost everyone was cursing Ganguly and wanting him to fail so that their predictions came true.

On Sunday, wherever they were, perhaps the prayer was for the opposite.

His contrasting reactions after the two innings in his last Test put this tale of contradictions in a nutshell.

In the first, he walked back a shattered man refusing to accept reality despite having 85 under his belt. While returning in the second with what might remain Indian cricket's most famous duck, he was calm, just a look towards the sky in terms of showing emotion.

Irrespective of how he hates it, the first-ball naught adds a special and unexpected dimension to his amazing tale, making it all the more extraordinary.

If his inclusion caused a ruckus, it got louder when he was dropped.

Ganguly was in the news by not playing a match, not scoring a run, but for falling out with the coach. It didn't change when he came back and intensified each passing day amid talk of young India, phasing out seniors and what not. Each move he made stoked the fire.

It must have been annoying at times but Ganguly had to live with the fact that whatever he does draws attention.

He may not have realised it, but everything, including the unsavoury, contributed to his image.

Confirmation of this came on Sunday, from the way what started in Lord's 12 years ago ended at the VCA Jamtha Stadium.

First Published: Nov 09, 2008 23:01 IST