Salaam Sourav!

March 23rd, 2010

I am 38. And like most Bengalis of my age, lack sporting icons. When my uncle keeps on harping about Pankaj Roy’s record opening partnership, I barely bat an eyelid.
Maybe, it is tragic but it is true. In the last one-and-a-half decade, Bengal has not produced a sportsman worth talking about. In my school days, football used to be the big thing. I briefly remember Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Bidesh Bose and Shyam Thapa playing in Patna (my hometown) in the late eighties.
Intellectuals, I really wouldn’t know. But I have not heard about them definitely. Moviemakers, again I do not know but… The only other sphere I think they have done reasonably well is music, mostly playback singers – Kishore Kumar, Abhijeet and Shaan, Sreya, more recently. And of course, journalism.
No wonder, I have followed Sourav career quite fondly, and at times, with complete despair – like now.
When Sourav’s made his grand Test match debut in England, I had just bought my first television. The next match, he scored another one. And whether I admit it or not, I have watched or, at least try to keep tabs on his career over the years.
And it has been one roller coaster drive. Not because he was mercurial, by performance or attitude (you don’t make 18,000 plus runs in both tests and one days by being one), but because he did things his way. So people, including selectors and oppositions, hated him or loved him. With Sourav, it has always been white or black, never a shade of grey.
When he was dropped by Greg Chappel, there was a furore. The comeback trail was equally dramatic. Yes, he has made his mistakes over the 15 plus years. But as they say, it is a part of the game.
Unfortunately, these last three years in IPL have been a torture. While Sachin, Dravid and even Kumble have managed to hold their own, Sourav has clearly been a disappointment. Of course, last year Buchnan queered the pitch with his ‘one-captain per match’ formula.
Even if one gives him the benefit of doubt, his performance has not been worth talking about. Things have simply gone downhill.
No, it is not to say that he is not capable of getting that sparkling 50 or 75 during the tournament. However, it does not matter. Somehow, even his greatest fan would know that. It’s time to step down gracefully. Anytime is right. And if possible, after a sparkling 50. The god of offside owes his fans one…

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