Thursday, October 9, 2008

END OF AN ERA.................

SOURAV GANGULY is the most popular man today. The hitherto "Lord Snooty" has been suddenly transformed into Mr. Perfect in the eyes' of the cricketing world. All his ex-foes, be it Kiran More or Greg Chappel, have only niceties for him. All this after he declared that the STEEL had melted under the heat of humiliation. This is not the case of a hero going back home a satisfied man, taking with him all the laurels and sweet memories. It is a sorry tale of a fighter who was toyed with, tortured, harrased, humiliated and mentally disintegrated. A fighter who had to fight the system more than the opposition.Someone who had eliminated regionalism in his regime only to become a victim of it. To blame Kumble here may not be correct. For no one knows what transpires in the selection meeting.

On his part, Ganguly had a miserable series in Sri Lanka, struggling against both Muralitharan and Mendis. And this was convincing enough for the selectors that he was not worthy enough to play in the Irany Trophy. The fact that he scored a series-levelling 87 on the Kanpur minefield against Soth Africa was conveniently forgotten. People have short memory, and when it comes to Ganguly, they become Ghajinis.

Anyway Bengalis were busy in Durga pooja, so he could be dropped without much fuss. And Vengsarkar, who in his own perception, was the CREATOR of Dada's career and had all the rights to destroy it as and when he wanted. And he did.

Image is something you have to build over a period of time. You have to thank your fans, thank the public and prepare some nice quotes for the press conferences; in short be Mr. Nice. Most importantly, you are not allowed to use swear words. Sourav might have realised this very late. And he meant it when he said, "May be they (selectors) don't like my face". Take the case of Yuvraj Singh! His off-field activities had prevented him from becoming the skipper, that he is as inspirational a captain as Sourav was to be proved later in IPL.

We are a thankless nation that has never cared to respect its heroes. It is a strange coincidence but I do feel that this entire episode can be linked to that of Subhash Chandra Bose and his mysterious exile from the country post Independence. He was literally driven away from the nation mercilessly because his ideas clashed with that of Gandhi. Sourav's contribution to Indian cricket is no less than Netaji's to Independence. And both have been ruthlessly driven away.

I am not blaming individuals here. It is the system that is to be blamed. The system where the one with a not-so-good image gets victimised. Sourav said he wanted to live a pressure-free life. That is an understatement of his traumatic experiences over the last three years. Himesh
Reshamiya might stop singing soon. Sania Mirza would quit her game, unable to bear the scrutiny on the length of her skirts. And Salman Khan would end up marrying against his own wishes. Ending of eras in a Free Democratic Country like ours.

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