Sourav Ganguly’s decision to retire from international cricket came about in the most quiet and unexpected manner. During a press conference two days before the first Test here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, Ganguly shocked all by saying, “I want to mention one thing. I will retire at the end of this series.”
A controversial character the Prince of Calcutta may be, but knowing the fighting individual he is, I can’t help but wonder exactly which of the various pressures pushed him to throw in the towel.
Last week Geoffrey Boycott suggested that India’s fab four of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Ganguly were over the hill. “The great Indian batsmen are long in the tooth and approaching the end of their careers. Some of them are desperate to prolong their international life spans, not just because they love the game but probably because of the endorsement deals available,” Boycott wrote in his column for The Telegraph. “But none of them are the force they once were,” he added.
Despite special performances in the second and third Tests of the drawn series versus South Africa earlier this year, it is well known that the Indian selection committee has long been losing patience in ‘Dada’, as he is affectionately known by millions of fans. But judging by the way the story hit television headlines when it broke on Tuesday night, the timing of Ganguly’s decision was not anticipated by the media.
Ganguly may well have been pressured into retiring by the BCCI, perhaps by being told that his place in the side was not safe for the series. Unless he fails dismally in the first few games, he is at least guaranteed a spot in the line-up for all four Tests after announcing his retirement up front.
Ganguly has been good to Indian cricket, indeed he was their most successful Test captain. But not everyone in India will be sorry to see him go. His arrogant antics, which range from refusing to carry the drinks as 12th man against Australia in 1991/92 to keeping various captains waiting at the toss, have earned him a fair share of adversaries.
This exit strategy allows him an opportunity to go out on a high. What a pity the fourth and final Test isn’t at Eden Gardens.
This article appeared on Cricket365 in October 2008 ahead of the Test series between India and Australia