We just watched the Pune Warriors under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy defeat the mighty Mumbai Indians. Mighty ? Well yes, weren’t Mumbai the tournament favorites for most of the cricket pundits out there. And there was just one team, they all expected to finish bottom, written off even before they started, it was the Pune Warriors India. Some even stated that Sourav Ganguly will be the reason of the team’s downfall. The ridicule went on to such an extent, that most websites including the Mumbai Mirror, TOI & others even published some graphic photos of Sourav Ganguly just few hours before the match.
The players PWI bought this season, were a mere reject by other teams & the best they can do is win a couple of games this IPL was the common verdict by most cricket pundits.
And then the match started and Sourav Ganguly was out very soon just for 3. And the other players, somehow managed a modest 129. Surely they were losing the match, Mumbai with their batting line-up were likely to finish the game much before the 20th over! But then came the CAPTAIN Sourav Ganguly leading out his team.
The great Mumbai Batting lineup bundled out for 101, the so called rejects defeated the mightiest team out there by a good margin. And the game taught us a few things:
Yes, he handpicked them. Be it a Marlon Samuels, Steve Smith, Ashok Dinda, etc. he has handpicked them all. They may not be one of the best players ever in the world, but they know how to play as a team. Yes, cricket is a team again, and everyone has to make up for each other’s strengths & weaknesses. The great Mr.SRK can take an open dig at Ganguly, calling his team KKR being much more of a cohesive unit now, but facts show, how KKR will remain a team of individuals and PWI like they displayed yesterday, are actually a team, playing just to win. With Ganguly openly claiming there was too many things inside the dressing room not just John Buchanan, may be SRK needs to keep his mouth shut and just concentrate on cricket. Just a small advice to SRK, learn something for PWI, new jersey, yet no launch, no hype, just concentrated on cricket. Whereas KKR seems more interested how there new logo looks than cricket.
The inspired captaincy, the bowling changes, bringing the best out of every bowler, is something only a captain at his best can do. The way he used Murli Kartik, bringing him on, picking up a wicket, and again saving him, just showed the sheer cricketing intelligence of the man. Yes he is thinking at least 100 miles ahead of the other fellow captains in the IPL. MS Dhoni had no clue about Levi and Ganguly tamed him in just a few balls. And just look at Ashok Dinda! he was a different bowler in the Asia cup under Dhoni and a completely different bowler for Ganguly. He looked even better than Malinga with his Yorkers yesterday. May be after his 8 straight losses, Dhoni should come & take some captaincy lessons from Ganguly.
And the fielding changes. It was like he didn’t even want to give an inch. He wanted wickets, and there was always a slip present. He applied pressure, so much so, that Franklin played for some time, yet couldn’t hit a ball. And the so called big three of Mumbai – Levi, Rohit Sharma & Pollard were in his back pocket. The strategies were so good; Mumbai just had no knowledge what hit them. As Sundar Raman Tweeted : I thought the captaincy of dada was excellent. Right bowlers attacking at the right time. He would have been my Man of the match! He would have certainly been my man of the match.
And all these at the age of 39 years & 9 months. Most of the experts called him old, but the intensity & the hunger he showed in his game yesterday, looked much more than a Rohit Sharma. Just tells you again, the love this man has for the game. When there is many cricketers, still playing the IPL for money, one man showed again how much he loves the game. And his support just gets stronger every day. They say form is temporary & class is permanent, well there is no greater example of this than Sourav Ganguly in the world of sports, not just cricket. Every time they wrote him off, he just came back & proved them all he is the best again!
So, after watching the match & his captaincy yesterday, I have just one thing to say,