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Sachin Tendulkar: I will miss Sourav Ganguly

The two legends together for the last time

Sachin Tendulkar said he would miss Bengali chatter with close pal Sourav Ganguly, who retired from international cricket.

Tendulkar recalled his long association with the elegant left-hander and said he owes the little Bengali he knows to his former opening partner in one-dayers.

“But the question I ask myself is who will I now speak to in Bengali? Well I have enjoyed conversing with him in that language and whatever Bengali I have picked up is thanks to him,” Tendulkar said in a newspaper column.

“Whenever we had a long partnership, I used to walk mid-pitch and speak a few Bangla words to ease the pressure of the situation,” he said.

Tendulkar went on to recount some pranks he had played on Ganguly during their days together in the Indian dressing room.

“Cricket lovers have heard about how I disturbed the watchman of the Nehru Stadium with my constant bat-hitting leather activities at night and the fact that he brought it to the attention of our coach Vasu Paranjape,” he wrote in ‘Mid-Day’.

“But not many have heard this — One day when Sourav was enjoying his rest and dozed off, I had his room flooded with water. Sourav woke up to the mini deluge surprised, shocked, staggered — in that order.

“His only solace was I made sure that his cricketing kit was not among the ruins. Imagine what a sight it would have been — his bats, pads floating in water.”

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ganguly: I won’t miss cricket

Goodbye Dada!

Sourav Ganguly, who returned home to Kolkata to a rousing welcome from fans Tuesday said he would not miss cricket.

The former India skipper also said like to meet the soccer legend Diego Maradona when he comes to Kolkata.

“I just want to see him,” Ganguly said referring to the Argentine footballer.

Having returned to his home town after playing his last Test at Nagpur, Ganguly said that he would, however, miss the company of his teammates.

At his Behala residence Ganguly told reporters: “We share a good camaraderie among ourselves. We make fun and crack jokes together. I don’t think I will miss cricket but will miss the companions.” Reiterating that he will not change his retirement decision, Ganguly said: “In sports, you have to retire one day. It’s about physical ability. Once you start playing, you have to call it quits some day. It’s like when you are born you have to die … All great players like Maradona, Pele, Sampras and Gavaskar retired…” Ganguly picked his Lord’s debut Test, his first captaincy and the recent series win as his Big Three moments.

About his future plans, Ganguly ruled out commentary as an option.

“There are a lot of opportunities coming in. But, at present, there is no such plan to do commentary … It needs lot of travelling.” Ganguly added that he is yet to decide on his future plans.

“You have to wait and see … I have not thought about it yet. IPL is in April there’s a long way to go … But I will definitely do something that will contribute to the game.”

On the 2-0 series win to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Ganguly said, “We outplayed them in all the departments … We celebrated a lot. It was fantastic. We had lot of drinks as we never done in life. We had great fun … Anil and I were there present and celebrated our win till 1 in the night.” Praising Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he added, “He (Dhoni) has done well as captain in his last one year tenure and I am sure, he will take India cricket forward. There’s a lot of talented players it depends how they transform them into performance.” Earlier, there was chaos at the airport as large number of fans gathered to welcome him.

His car was mobbed and halted before he was escorted by the pilot vehicles from the VVIP exit of the airport.

Police had to resort to mild baton charge to calm down the situation as Ganguly’s black SUV with his wife Dona and daughter Sana on board made way to their Behala residence.

There were chants of “Dada Dada … Ami tumake bhulchhi na, bhulbo na… (Dada we are not going to forget you).” Some waved the Tricolour while others carried Ganguly’s posters.

The CAB will organise a grand function at the Eden Gardens on December 7 to felicitate Sourav in a befitting manner.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ganguly batted like a champion: Kris Srikanth

Selection committee chairman Krish Srikkanth showered praise
on Sourav Ganguly on Friday. “He’s really batted like a true champion
right through in his farewell series. He’s put his heart and soul into it. I
feel so happy and proud for him. It’s nice to see him going out on a
high,” Srikkanth told.

Ganguly has set the adrenalin flowing, batting attractively and playing some
crucial knocks in this series while notching up 324 runs at an impressive
average of 64.80.

Perhaps the only tinge of sadness for Srikkanth was to see the Bengal Tiger

getting out when he looked set for a hundred. “I
told Sourav that he’s got to get a hundred in his 100th Test. He was going
great guns but it was God’s will that he ended up 15 runs short. But it was
still an invaluable knock for the team.”

Srikkanth also pointed out that Ganguly played his part in the selection of
Tamil Nadu opener M. Vijay for the final Test match.

“Sourav played with him in the India
A match and he specifically told me, ‘Chika, here is a guy whom you have to
look seriously’. So I took his words seriously because when a player of
Ganguly’s wisdom endorses someone he has to special.”

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ganguly: I see a lot of myself in Dhoni

Arguably the most successful Indian skipper ever, Sourav Ganguly says he sees a lot of himself in Dhoni

Arguably the most successful Indian skipper ever, Sourav Ganguly says he sees a lot of himself in
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and reckons that the charismatic new captain will go on to better his record and further enhance India’s stature in international cricket.

“He has done fantastically well. Captaincy is a task, it’s not just about being a good player. He will be tested when India plays abroad and if the boys do well under him then it will be great. I am sure he will take Indian cricket forward,” said Ganguly, whose last Test saw India clinching the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the fourth and final match.

“I did what I felt was right. I’m a captain who did not believe in the drawing board but react to what happens on the field of play. I see a lot of myself in Dhoni. He also doesn’t like meetings. In fact he sees things better than me. He has also had a bit of luck that a captain needs,” he added.

Ganguly said a captain is only as good as his team but he did have a huge role to play in enhancing India’s reputation. “Most important thing is that a captain is as good as a player. Raising India’s image in world cricket especially as a touring side is my legacy in Indian cricket. We, at present, are a formidable side both home and away,” he said.

Ganguly said he would not be missing the Indian dressing room as he was leaving with happy memories of being part of a team that beat the world’s best side 2-0 in the series. “I don’t think I would miss the dressing room. I have had a good innings and it’s time to leave. I am leaving with happy memories that it ended with a win for India. A 2-0 win over the world’s best team was the best that could have happened after all the doubts arising after the Sri Lanka series (where India lost)”, Ganguly said.

“I have played well and the team has played outstandingly well. To win the series 2-0 was very satisfying. We had dominated (the proceedings) after the first Test (at Bangalore),” said the former captain. Ganguly, who was asked to lead the team on the field for a brief while when India was close to winning the fourth and final Test against Australia before being chaired off the ground after India’s 172-run win, said he would forever cherish the moments that he lived today.

“In terms of team performance the way this Test has finished was one of the best ever. I want to cherish it for long. Everyone has chipped in throughout the series. Somehow we manage to pick up when we play against Australia,” said the veteran of 113 Tests. “I enjoyed my last few days and the last few hours. I was
asked to lead for five overs, did it for three overs and then told Dhoni that it was not my job,” he said.

The stylish left-hander side-stepped queries on past controversies like his public spat with former coach Greg Chappell. “Let’s keep the controversies aside. It’s a happy day for Indian cricket. The past is past, let’s not talk about it,” he said.

Ganguly said the first-ball duck in the second innings didn’t disappoint him as much as missing a hundred by 15 runs in the first innings. “I am not disappointed with the first-ball duck, getting out on 85 in the first innings was more disappointing as I was so close to a hundred. I don’t think the last duck has made it (my career) any more dramatic, it’s been dramatic anyway,” he put it succinctly.

Ganguly said he rated the 100 on debut at Lord’s against England in 1996 as his most cherished innings. He said the blazing century he made against Australia as captain in the 2004 series at Brisbane was also close to his heart. “The first Test hundred at Lord’s is always special to me. The 2001 series against Australia here and the 2004 series against them in Australia are my best series. We have won in Pakistan and England but to win against Australia is always special,” he said.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India win the Border-Gavaskar trophy

India create history in Nagpur, as they bring home the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

The nation revelled today (Nov 10), as India, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, created history by registering a 172 run victory in the fourth and final Test at Nagpur against world champions Australia, to bring home the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-0 series win. India now lead the overal series wins by 4-3 in the last decade.

This historic Test also saw the end of one the most celebrated Indian cricketers career — Sourav Ganguly. The classically elegant Ganguly had announced that he will play his last Test in this Orange City before hanging up his boots.

Earlier, set the daunting task of scoring an imposing 382 to win the fourth and final Test against India, Australia were tottering at 111 for three wickets at lunch on the fifth and final day in Nagpur today.

As play resumed post lunch India continued to inch closer to victory with their spinners bringing about the dismissal of the dangerous Michael Hussey and Matthew Hayden. Soon, the Australian wicketkeeper too fell prey to the spin web wound by India as he fell prey to Amit Mishra having been caught by Sachin Tendulkar at mid-on.

This catch has given the Master Blaster another berth in the record books, as he claims his 100th Test catch.  The batting maestro, who holds several batting records in Tests and ODIs, reached the milestone in his 154th Test to follow compatriots Rahul Dravid (179), Sunil Gavaskar (108), VVS Laxman and Mohd Azharuddin (105) into the record book. The world record for the most number of catches in a Test career, 181 in 128 matches, stands in the name of Mark Waugh of Australia.

Soon, Shane Watson too fell prey to the the 300 wicket taker Harbhajan Singh for nine runs. In no time, leg spinner Amit Mishra got rid of ten wicket hauler on debut Jason Krejza and Brett Lee.

Mitchel Johnson and Cameroon White looked to consolidate and defend towards the end of the innings, however, failed to save the Test as Bhajji claimed the last wicket of Johnson.

Brief scores: India: 441 and 295
Australia 355 and 209 (Matthew Hayden 77; Amit Mishra 4/64, Harbhajan Singh 3/27)

Earlier, the batsmen out in the visitors’ second innings, after they had commenced at the overnight 13 for no loss, were first innings centurion Simon Katich (16), captain Ricky Ponting (8) and his deputy Michael Clarke (22), promoted up the order in quest for quick runs despite being unwell.

Ishant Sharma, India’s most successful bowler of the four-Test rubber, was easily the pick of the attack this morning and accounted for Katich and Clarke, while Ponting was run out through a brilliant piece of fielding and throwing by Amit Mishra.

The home team should have ended the session with more Australian wickets in their clutch but for a few dropped catches and a few edges that eluded the slip cordon.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sourav Ganguly misses century; Five for Jason Krejza

Ask any purist and he would tell you what a sight it is when Sourav Ganguly dances down the track to loft a spinner over his head. The frequency of those humongous sixes has diminished over time, but in his final Test match, the southpaw put the sublime on display as he moved to 80 not out in perhaps his penultimate innings in Test cricket. Not just did he dance down the pitch but threaded the offside with the timing people now associate him with his retirement.

The Indians had made their intentions clear on the opening day of the final Test itself, and Ganguly kept it going as Jason Krejza was dismissed over long-on for a six, and then repeated the act for a boundary after completing his half-century. India saw off the first session to be 404-5 at lunch on a day when Australia’s bowlers not only looked flat but pedestrian. Along with Dhoni, the sixth wicket stood on an unbeaten 101 runs.

Australia started the second day with Jason Krejza despite operating with the second new ball. Brett Lee took the ball from the other end, but it was more than a tactical error. Mitchell Johnson, the pick of Australian bowlers this series, has been off-colour in the final Test, often spraying wide of off-stump and far too full.

India’s first day total of 311-5 was more or less identical to that of Mohali, where the hosts established a 1-0 series lead with a 320-run victory. The turn of events were also similar, with a mini-collapse followed by a resolute stand before losing Sachin Tendulkar towards the end of day’s play.

Even the start to the second day was similar, with Ganguly and Dhoni putting on 56 in the first hour of play. The only difference was the role reversal between the batsmen, with Ganguly taking the attack to the bowlers while Dhoni’s knock was comparatively reserved to his whirlwind 92 in Mohali.

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anil Kumble retires from cricket

It was only fitting that Anil Kumble announced his retirement in Delhi, the scene of his greatest bowling effort, at the end of which he was carried off the field by teammates in an emotional farewell © AFP

Anil Kumble has announced his retirement from cricket, saying the finger injury he sustained on the third day of the Test helped him make his decision. The news was made public minutes after the tea break on the final day; Kumble then bowled four overs before the match was called off as a draw.

“The body was asking questions every day,” he said. “It was not easy to keep bowling the way I have been bowling the last 18 years, to keep going. The injury I had on the third day probably helped me make the decision.”

The captaincy now passes on to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who already leads India in the shorter forms of the game.

Kumble made the formal announcement at the post-match press conference, at which he received a standing ovation from the journalists crowded into the room. He doffed his cap and sat down to speak to the media one last time as an India player and captain. He stayed composed throughout the conference, which took place minutes after the emotional farewell he had received on the field.

Kumble had decided to quit last night but took his time in letting his team-mates know, lest it took their focus off the match. “I did inform my team-mates, who I have played with all these years, one by one during the day,” Kumble said. “Then I informed the chairman of the selection committee just after lunch. I did inform the board as well.”

It took a “nasty injury” to finally push Kumble into retirement. He has had a shoulder injury before, and has been troubled by it, but at 38, the “pretty deep” cut proved too much. “You could see the flesh. There are 11 stitches,” Kumble said. “The doctor said I had to undergo the procedure under general anesthesia. I told him, ‘If you give me general anesthesia I’ll lose time, I’d like to go there and bowl.’ He said ‘Look, it’s a medical decision, not a cricketing decision.”

“The stitches will come out only on November 8, which is the third day of the Nagpur Test. I don’t think it was easy for me to bat or field. I wouldn’t have been 100% and I didn’t want to let the team down. Anyway I had more or less decided this would be my last series.”

Kumble has never given the team less than 100% and he said wanted to be remembered most for that. “I definitely put the team above self, right through my career,” Kumble said. “I believe Indian cricket has certainly gone further from the time when I started, in terms of results, not just in India but also abroad.

“And I am confident that with this young team, with a few of the experienced senior players still being a part of the team, we have an opportunity to dominate world cricket and be No. 1 in all forms of the game. In one-day cricket we’re pretty close to the top, in Twenty20 we’re No. 1, I don’t think we are that far behind in Tests as well and it will be great to see that happen.”

Anil Kumble: “I kept getting responses from the body saying that you can’t. I fought that, I took various painkillers and tried all sorts of things, but ultimately one injury to the hand said ‘enough now’.” © Getty Images

An important part of that surge towards Test leadership would be a series win against Australia. Kumble said he will there in Nagpur to see whether the team can do that. “Ideally I would have liked to finish in Nagpur,” Kumble said. “At this moment, I don’t think I will be traveling with the team, but I will certainly go to Nagpur. I want to see Sourav’s last Test match, and also wish Laxman on his 100th. And win the series. That is the ultimate goal for all of us. I would like to be a part of that.”

It has been a long road for Kumble – 18 years – on which he has come across many highs and lows. “I had to go through a lot of things in the early part of my career,” Kumble said. “People questioning my ability, my fitness, my form, my bowling and the effectiveness of my bowling. I had to go through that then, now right at the end of my career, and even in the middle.

In that sense, after the shoulder surgery [in 2001], I’ve done exceptionally well to have played eight years. To have bowled so many overs and to have got so many wickets, the second phase was certainly more satisfying. We had a lot more victories, not just in India but also abroad: especially the Australia series in 2004, the Pakistan series after that, West Indies and England where we won. All of them were a challenge and to come out triumphant was special.”

The retirement decision, in the end, came easy for Kumble. “The body tells you how far you can go,” he said. “I kept challenging – as a cricketer you are always competitive, always saying, ‘I can do it’. Whether you can or not only time will tell. I kept getting responses from the body saying that you can’t. I fought that, I took various painkillers and tried all sorts of things, but ultimately one injury to the hand said ‘enough now’. I was also not bowling at my best and you want to keep performing at a level that you are satisfied with. That was not happening so I thought this was the right time to move on.”

For a moment as emotional as this, Kumble ended on a humorous note. “At this moment I would like to thank my family, my parents, who gave me all the encouragement, supported me and asked me to bowl legspin. Although I am still trying to find out how I can bowl legspin.

“Thank you all for all the support I have received right through my career. I’ve built some great friendships and met some fantastic people along the way. You’ll probably start calling me from tomorrow for quotes about somebody else. Give me a break for a couple of days and I’ll certainly take all your calls.” Like he has unfailingly answered the Indian team’s calls for the last 18 years.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life after Cricket for India’s ‘Seniors’

One down, four to go. The clock is ticking, and after Sourav Ganguly decided to hang up his boot, it is ticking at a rapid speed for the rest of India’s ‘senior’ players. Anil Kumble has already hinted that he might go the Ganguly way and call it a day after the Australia series. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, all on the wrong side of 30, will be now facing the heat.

It is just a matter of time before the other pillars of Indian cricket decide or are told that it is time for them to go too. So, what next for the men who have lived with the bat and the ball as constant companions?

Sourav Ganguly: In an international career that has spanned over 16 years, Ganguly has paid keen interest to his off-field businesses. A chain of restaurants are only an add-on to the publishing business his family has owned for decades. ‘Dada’ also has a stake in a multi national sports management company.

Considering his demi-god status in West Bengal, if he considers politics as a career option, it can be safe to say that unlike the Indian selectors, political parties will go all out to have him in their ‘team’.

Sachin Tendulkar: Cricket has always been his life and India’s master batsman will surely have a tough time when he decides to live life after cricket. But he has a thriving business in the form of a restaurant called ‘Tendulkar’s’ in the heart of Mumbai.

Commentary might not be a great idea for Tendulkar for obvious reasons but a cricket academy in his name will surely rake in admissions nineteen to a dozen with the hopes of parents across the nation to breed the ‘next Sachin Tendulkar’.

Anil Kumble: India’s Test captain, Anil Kumble is a qualified mechanical engineer and along with his brother Dinesh, promotes a software company called ‘StumpVision’ which has spinned several softwares for cricket lovers.

With his deep baritone, the eloquent Kumble might be already on the radar of several sports channels to hire him as a TV commentator.

Rahul Dravid: ‘The Wall’ of Indian cricket has had his focus just on the game so far and when he decides to quit, he will need a different thinking hat to consider his options. With his orthodox defence and copybook shotmaking ability, Dravid might do well as a batting coach.

He is also said to be one of the most good looking men to have played the game and a career in movies, can mean India finally gets its first cricketer-turned-filmstar, though he might have to work a tad on his emoting skills.

VVS Laxman: Born in a family of doctors, Laxman made the bat his instrument and with almost surgical precision cut the lethal Aussies in several pieces more than once.

He left his MBBS course midway to take up cricket as a full-time profession. Now that the time to bid adieu to the game is not far, the Hyderabad batsman might like to hit the medical books instead of cricket balls a la Main hoon na.

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Cricket | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I was hurt so I quit: Sourav Ganguly

He stunned the media and the cricket fraternity with his sudden announcement to retire from international cricket.

Now Sourav Ganguly has finally broken his silence on the move and says he was hurt at not being included in the squad for the Irani Triophy.

“I didn’t like the way I was dropped from Irani Trophy and that is when I decided to quit. It took me around 2 weeks to come to this decision,” he said.

Ganguly also said his family has been supportive of his decision. “I didn’t want to create a big fuss over this. I know my family will be disappointed but I had to do this sooner or later,” he said.

The “Prince of Kolkata” also recalled his favourite moment. “That has to be my first Test at Lords,” he said.

Fed up?

Chairman of selectors Krisnamachari Srikkanth on Tuesday revealed Sourav Ganguly was fed up with the uncertainty over his place in the side and decided to end his international career with his head held high.

“We had a chat in the morning. He (Ganguly) also talked to the coach and the team members. I think he has taken the right decision. Probably he felt every now and then the axe was on him. He felt he wanted to play without such things on his mind,” Srikkanth was quoted by agencies as saying.

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Cricket | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tendulkar, Dravid salute ‘Inspirational’ Dada

New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, the two most celebrated peers of Sourav Ganguly, on Wednesday paid tributes to the retiring member of the ‘Fab Four’, saying the Bengal stalwart had been a fount of inspiration for his team-mates during his glorious international career.

“He just had a way with people and inspired others with his performances,” Tendulkar told cricketnirvana.

“He’s had a brilliant career and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed playing with him. There have been some memorable moments that he has given to the game and also the immense joy he has given to the team,” said Tendulkar, who had tipped Ganguly as captain when he stepped down from the hot seat in 2000.

Dravid said Ganguly has achieved everything that any cricketer could possibly want in his career.

“What more could he have asked for? He’s seen it all. Played some fascinating knocks in one-dayers; batted well in Tests at home and away; won Tests abroad and led India to a World Cup final,” Dravid said.

“It’s been special to have been part of a middle-order alongside him. I hope I learnt something from him and added something to his cricket,” he added.

Both, however, admitted they were taken by surprise when Ganguly informed of his decision to retire after the series against Australia.

“It came as a surprise as he told us in the dressing room that he was quitting. It was towards the end of practice and I was surprised. I could not even talk to him since he had to rush to the press conference,” revealed Tendulkar.

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Cricket | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment