Dear Saurav Ganguly
I was kind of surprised when you announced your retirement from Test cricket, from a person known for his never give up attitude, voluntary retirement came as surprise to most of us. Even though some believe it is a deal the with the selection board. But hey, you thereby join the group of elite cricketers who have announced their retirement before the series began or before they were dropped.
Your career started badly after you rejected to offer water as a 12th man in 1992, then debut century at lords, followed by a 136 at Trent Bridge put you in the league of elite cricketers. Your ability to hit spinner especially slow left armers out of the ground made you a remarkable player of spin. Coupled with elegant off drives and Prince of Calcutta got tagged. You never took quick singles but made it up with elegant boundaries. You always played second fiddle to Aila or Jam therefore never got the recognition that you deserved. There were various innings where you played well but the 144 at Brisbane was truly a remarkable innings I must confess.
Cricket is a game of numbers and you lacked the right ones. You never scored big hundreds to make any impact in Test cricket. Close to 7000 runs, 15 hundreds at an average of 41 from 110 Test so far make you an average Test cricketer, and a flawed technique to play the short ball, which was always exploited by the fast bowlers, added to your woes. "Ganguly greeted with a bouncer" became synonymous with you. I felt bad when mediocre bowlers tried to exploit that as well. Later on you did come up with an ugly pull or swivel shot to counter that. You never had that elegance but had what it required staying at the crease, determination and willingness to prove people wrong.
Though you were a safe catcher, being a bad out fielder and the ability to escort the ball to the boundary never made you bowler’s favorite, trust me I have been there. These things got highlighted when the right numbers didn’t come when required. This was also one of the reasons why Yuvraj always felt he had a shot at your spot. But you did well to keep him at bay; or rather he kept himself away. You were a good bowler when you started but never really took it seriously.
You are India’s most successful Test captain, taking over captaincy from Aila in February 2000 you made this new Indian team, you brought these killer instincts to this team. On why the ‘huddle’ was invented during the World Cup. You brought a hard edge to the team, most famously by standing up to cricket's playground bullies Nasser Hussain and Steve Waugh. Jam and Jumbo are reaping what you sowed. Your Captaincy record 49 Tests from 2000 until 2005, winning 43 percent, although take away the victories over Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and this success fall to 30 percent which is far better than the next captain, in your era we saw more wins than draws.
Now you just need 39 runs to complete 7,000 runs in Test cricket, but the onus and media focus is on Aila who has taken up a 5 Test plan to break Lara’s record. Hope Mohali ground proves good for both of you.
Don't feel sad about leaving the so called "fab four" team, Jam and Aila will soon follow, I have their send off letters written as well. Once again thank you for serving the INDIAN cricket for 12 long years and entertaining us. Indian cricket owes a lot to you Dada.
Legend: Aila - Sachin Tendulakar
Jam - Rahul Dravid