Sunday, November 09, 2008

Quietly Fades the Dada

When Krejza tumbled to the turf a few overs before tea, and the myopic, contacts-wearing Ganguly made his slow way back to the pavilion, a fan held out a placard that said "Even the Don scored a duck in his last innings."

The comparison might sound preposterous but Ganguly was as important to his generation in Indian cricket as Don was to his (and to all others succeeding).

Nobody who has seen him dance down the pitch to a spinner will grudge him his awkward and tentative pulls. Nobody who has seen the placement and timing on his sublime off-drives will grudge him his inability to follow the short ball all the way through with his eyes. And nobody who saw him ruffle the feathers on the green baggy cap in its own territory will grudge him his banian-clad antics blue jersey in hand.

Now that he will no more take the field as a batsman in Test cricket, post-mortem analyses will prove this and that, but even if he did not manage to end as he began, as his form in the series and the match promised, the moment surely is his. Even the Don faded quietly, and Dada, after all the kicking and the screaming before the series and all through his life, had to go for a first-ball duck, quietly, to heart-felt applause.