Saturday, February 28, 2009
ने मजसी ने परत मातृभूमीला । सागरा, प्राण तळमळला
भूमातेच्या चरणतला तुज धूतां । मी नित्य पाहिला होता
मज वदलासी अन्य देशिं चल जाऊ । सृष्टिची विविधता पाहू
तइं जननी-हृद् विरहशंकितहि झालें । परि तुवां वचन तिज दिधलें
मार्गज्ञ स्वयें मीच पृष्टि वाहीन । त्वरित या परत आणीन
विश्वसलो या तव वचनी । मी
जगदनुभव-योगे बनुनी । मी
तव अधिक शक्त उध्दरणी । मी
येइन त्वरें कथुन सोडिलें तिजला । सागरा, प्राण तळमळला
शुक पंजरिं वा हरिण शिरावा पाशीं । ही फसगत झाली तैशी
भूविरह कसा सतत साहु यापुढती । दशदिशा तमोमय होती
गुण-सुमनें मी वेचियली ह्या भावें । कीं तिने सुगंधा घ्यावें
जरि उध्दरणी व्यय न तिच्या हो साचा । हा व्यर्थ भार विद्येचा
ती आम्रवृक्षवत्सलता । रे
नवकुसुमयुता त्या सुलता । रे
तो बाल गुलाबही आता । रे
फुलबाग मला हाय पारखा झाला । सागरा, प्राण तळमळला
नभि नक्षत्रें बहुत एक परि प्यारा । मज भरतभूमिचा तारा
प्रासाद इथे भव्य परी मज भारी । आईची झोपडी प्यारी
तिजवीण नको राज्य, मज प्रिय साचा । वनवास तिच्या जरि वनिंच्या
भुलविणें व्यर्थं हें आता । रे
बहु जिवलग गमतें चित्ता । रे
तुज सरित्पते । जी सरिता । रे
तद्विरहाची शपथ घालितो तुजला । सागरा, प्राण तळमळला
या फेन-मिषें हससि निर्दया कैसा । का वचन भंगिसी ऐसा
त्वत्स्वामित्वा सांप्रत जी मिरवीते । भिउनि का आंग्लभूमीतें
मन्मातेला अबल म्हणुनि फसवीसी । मज विवासनातें देशी
तरि आंग्लभूमी-भयभीता । रे
अबला न माझिही माता । रे
कथिल हें अगस्तिस आता । रे
जो आचमनी एक पळीं तुज प्याला । सागरा, प्राण तळमळला
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
So dada has announced his retirement. Nagpur will be his final battleground. It’s very fitting to call it a battle ground, not only because of the eternal on-field tussle between Indian and Australian players, but because every match that Sourav has played in has been no less than a battle.
A player can’t make a better debut in tests than Sourav, scoring back to back hundreds in swinging English conditions. Wow! Those cover drives can never be wiped off anyone’s memories for ever. And there are those gigantic sixes, hit to spinners, over long-on and long-off. Ganguly had arrived with a BANG, a louder BANG than that of most players.
After the England tour, India played Pakistan in Toronto. Ganguly , once again showed his brilliance with the bat. He scored back to back centuries. He chipped in with some wickets as well. He became India ‘s best one-day player at that time, contributing significantly with bat as well as ball. Along with Tendulkar he formed the most successful opening pair in the history of the one-day cricket.
Sadly there were many flaws in his technique which were exposed in course of time. He was extremely susceptible to short deliveries. One reason why he never was the same force in the longer version of the game as he was in the one-day version. But he battled, as he always has done. He played those spanking shots through covers and square on the off side by moving outside the leg stump. He forced bowlers to ball to his strength. With over 11000 runs in ODI and over 7000 in tests, he has achieved a lot in cricket.
Around 2000, world cricket, Indian cricket in particular, was in turmoil over the whole match-fixing issue. Those were very ugly times as big names in cricket were under suspicion of match-fixing. Several Indian players were also suspected. People started doubting outcome of every match. Performance of the Indian team also started to falter. Team needed someone dynamic, someone aggressive as the leader. Ganguly turned out to the one.
It all started with memorable series against Australia in 2001. Harbhajan’s spin, Laxman’s magic and Ganguly’s captaincy combined and gave India a near impossible victory in that series. Ganguly lifted India from debacle of 1st test in Mumbai. He had beaten Aussi wizard Steve Waugh.
Then Indian travelled to the Caribbean’s in 2002. Again India came back from behind to level the series. Despite losing 1st test at Gayana , India came back at Port of Spain to come on even terms. People may say that a victory against West Indies would not rate that high, but given India’s dismal performance abroad, it was definitely a big achievement.
The story continued in England tour. Again we came back from behind to level the series 1-1. Who can forget that test at Headingly. Remember the Ganguly scored vital 99 in that match. And then came one of the best moments of Indian cricket at Lord’s, in that final. Who would forget the start given by Ganguly, scoring 62 off 40 balls. He was unstoppable that day. His answer to the English bowling in his body was boundaries on cover fence. Those pictures of him waving his shirt at Lord’s gallery would be printed on every cricket lover’s mind forever.
One of his career’s high point was the World Cup 2003. 2 veterans took India to the finals, Sachin and Sourav. After a terrible tour of New Zealand, and a poor start which Indian got off to in World Cup, nobody would have backed on India to get to the finals.
Many people criticize Ganguly for his decision to field first. I still believe that it was the right decision. Australian attack would have ripped apart Indian top order on that track. Our bowlers weren’t good enough to exploit the pitch conditions. It was a humiliating defeat in the end. But still we had gone far beyond anybody’s expectations.
Then came the famous tour of Australia of 03-04. Again, nobody gave India any chances. 2-0 loss was considered good result for India. And where was the first match? On one of the bounciest track in Australia. India were struggling terribly in the 1st innings after Australia had scored a mammoth total in the 1st innings. Ganguly played innings of his career at Gabba that day. Ganguly, with help of Laxman and rain, saved India from the blushes. India bounced back exceptionally at the Adalade test. India won a test match in Australia after a long long time. India could have even managed a series win, had it not been for Steve Waugh’s final rescue effort in his last test. India had managed a 1-1 draw. A result beyond anybody’s expectations. Ganguly and John Wright combination was working amazingly.
Easily the peak for Ganguly’s captaincy was the double success in Pakistan tour. India , under Ganguly’s leadership had once again shown the new age Indian team to the cricketing world.
But, after the peak , there was only downside to go to. John Wright relinquished the job of Indian coach. In comes certain man named Greg Chappell. A very able batsman of his times. He was appointed on Ganguly’s request. Chappell was the man who helped Ganguly with the flaws in his technique. Ganguly thought that he will make a good coach, helping India to be the best side in the world. Sadly that didn’t happen. Ganguly went into a bad patch. Chappell supposedly asked Ganguly either to perform or to quit. It was a reasonable demand. Ganguly was not performing and Indian team was struggling. So he was sacked.
I think that break showed real character of that man. Anybody else would have just quit the game after that humiliation. But not Dada. He went back to the nets. He played county cricket. He played in every domestic tournament. And as they say fortune favours the brave. An opportunity came knocking on Ganguly’s door. Indian team had a nightmare of a series of one dayers in SA. In that situation experience was called for and the selectors went to none other than Dada. From then on, as they say, the rest is history. It was greatest ever come back in history of the game.
Ganguly’s biggest contribution to Indian cricket was his captaincy. More than all the runs he scored; it’s his captaincy that he will be remembered for. He taught Indian team what it means by the term ‘giving it back’. Before Sourav, in the days of Azhar and even Tendulkar, India was a side which went on away tours just to lose. Only question used to be what would be the margin of defeat, 1-0, 2-0, or 3-0? Sourav gave our team the much needed inspiration and convinced them that we are not just a bunch of losers.
And then there was his belief in the youngsters. Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan owe it to Dada. Sehwag in particular. Who would have persisted with a man who gets out on first ball of a test match playing an upper cut? Harbhajan Singh was almost in the verge of getting dropped before the 2001 Australia tour. Ganguly gave him a chance. He recognized the hidden talent and we are seeing the dividend now.
Sourav Ganguly is not limited to the game of cricket only. The perseverance, the ‘never – die’ spirit, the fighting ability, the leadership qualities shown by him will continue to inspire generations of sportsmen in this country.