Sourav Ganguly's comeback to Indian Cricket after the shabby treatment inflicted on him by board and media is the stuff of fairy tales.
Ganguly made a came back into the Indian team exactly after nine months for South African Safari in Dec 2006-Jan2007 - four Tests and six ODIs. However his arrival wasn't marked by joy or euphoria but it was greeted with skepticism and cynical laughs: India was going thro' a lean patch having suffered a ODI series defeat against Australia in a neutral venue and followed it up with a shoddy display in ICC Champions Trophy and his recall was seen more as an appeasement ploy. And above all nobody really believed he would last long on the hard and bouncy pitches here against express speed and raw aggression.
However Dada proved everyone wrong as he not only jelled well with his teammates he also outshone the other batters to top score in Tests - he wasn't picked in ODIs - mind you on a bouncy strips of South Africa. He continued his good run against touring Lankans in March 2007. Dada earned man-of-the-series award for his all-round effort. His scores in four-match ODI series read 62, 48 and 58 with one game being abandoned. And gave vital breakthro' with his military medium pace.
There is nothing much to write about Ganguly's or India's show at Carib World Cup. Blame it on faulty fixture or spineless show of Indians.
Ganguly prolonged his purple patch in the tour against England where India sealed historic Test series win before losing the fiercly contested ODI series 3-4. Dada amassed 247 runs at an awesome average of 50 on a seaming wickets in three-Test series.
And in the recently concluded Test series against Pak Dada crafted a fine 102 in second Test at Eden Gardens-his first on his home turf and followed it up with a majestic 239 at Bangalore. He was adjudged as man of the series after having notched up over 500 runs and a handful of wickets.
Maharaja"s ODI debut in 1991-92 was as short-lived as the memory of a nanogenerian. In the Benson &Hedges tri-series encounter against a mighty West Indian side in Down Under, Dada in his short stay at the crease proved he is not yet ready for big stage before scoring three runs against a potent attack comprising Marshall, Patterson, Ambrose and Cummins. The only thing that was written about him was that he refused to carry drinks to the field. He was dropped straight away, which precipitated a hiatus of four long years.
When he got selected in 1996, he was written off as a quota selection even before he had put bat to ball. A century on debut proved that his performance was more regal than his behaviour. He followed it up with a series of great performances as batsman and captain before his spat with coach Chappell and a string of controversies-some media created and some self-invited-ruined his second innings abruptly.
Mellowed Ganguly in his third innings is really an asset to Indian cricket...