Sourav Ganguly must go out as a man at peace with himself
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Sourav Ganguly isn't finished with the game yet; he has merely announced that he will retire a month from now. And so till he walks off the ground for the last time he, and more important all of us, need to look ahead. It's been a fine career but it isn't over yet and looking back at it while there is still a peak to conquer isn't very clever .
Given all the hype, itself a part of life in India now, the platitudes that have come his way, and the anger he has apparently expressed in a Bengali newspaper, it is critical that he scores runs quickly in the series. If he doesn't score enough, Indian audiences can move very quickly from being fans to being caustic. The last thing a player wants is to stay on in the side merely because of sentiment even if it weakens the side.
That is why I find it a little difficult to follow what the new chairman of selectors has said. Srikkanth suggested that Ganguly could now bat freely and without the sword dangling over him which, when he was a player, he didn't like either. I believe, quite to the contrary, that Ganguly has pulled a fair bit of pressure towards himself. Also, don't forget he is not guaranteed four Test matches because nobody can make deals like that.
But having known Ganguly over the years, I suspect he won't mind the pressure too much because if he delivers now, having upped the stakes so much, his legend will only grow. All good players back themselves and so has he. There is another reason I would like him to score runs here. A lot of very fine players retire as bitter men; for the rest of their substantial life they carry the hurt of denial, believing they could have done more. It is one of the saddest things in the game and given the kind of career he has had, Ganguly must go out as a man at peace with himself.