Impossible Is Nothing

February 13, 2007

By Rahul Misra 

In Feb 2005, an email with the following text landed in my inbox.

Instructions on the back of Maggi 2 minutes noodles pack:
Step 1: Boil one cup of water
Step 2: As soon as Ganguly goes out to bat, put the noodles in the boiled water and add the tastemaker.
Step 3: Stir till Ganguly is on the field.
Step 4: As soon as Ganguly is back in pavilion, your noodles are ready to eat.

What followed was a year long barrage of Ganguly-bashing. His batting form went from bad to worse and there were people out there who made a living out of creating jokes on him. Bulletin boards were filled with cries of his removal from the team, there were those who made bets on whether he’d reach double figures. I admit it, I made a few bucks myself doing that. Stats like 48 runs in 5 matches did the rounds over and over. And when we went to see the 2nd India-Pak test match in Bangalore, we were sure Ganguly won’t last more than 10 balls. He obliged us, handing the ball to first slip.

The end had to come, and it did. Many didn’t like the way it came, many didn’t like the way he was treated.. but through heated exchanges televised on the national channel to email which were leaked and gobbled up with glee which our sensation-loving media, in December 2005, Sourav Ganguly was shown the door out of the Indian Test team. I sometimes wonder how he would have felt at that point. The team management dead against him, the public not really that supportive either.. and his batting form had all but left him. He had been dumped in a coffin, nailed all around and buried six feet under. A cricinfo article talked about how he didn’t go without a fight. Oh boy, the author had no idea.

This was the most successful Indian team captain, one who had twirled his shirt around at Lord’s. And then, as fickle as public memory is, he all but disappeared. Youth was the order of the day now and except the abuses Greg Chappel got when he reached West Bengal, there wasn’t much else to remind us of him. And then, 6 months later, he was back. Dressed in a formal shirt, he sat on the steps of a cricket pavilion and talked to the camera in a Pepsi ad. He referred to the Indian team as “mine”, he talked about how he had been practising real hard. The timing couldn’t have been better, the cricket team wasn’t doing too well and the stage was set for the comeback of a lifetime. Sure enough, as the team got thumped in South Africa, Sourav Ganguly was recalled to bolster the middle order. It can be said that wouldn’t have gotten a reprieve if the collective Indian team form hadn’t slumped. But that thought is nothing more than a byline, fortune has always favoured the brave.

He must have walked to the pitch in that 4-day match with Atlas’ weight on his shoulders. He returned with the highest individual Indian score in the match. Not many expected it, hardly anyone predicted it. But there was no looking back and in the middle of the 3rd test, the Times of India headline read, “Ganguly leads India’s fightback.” A few days later, he was selected for the one-day squad, the comeback was complete.

The Prince of Calcutta was back on the throne.

The Indian squad for the World Cup was announced this weekend. I drove to my office listening to RJs discussing names like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina, Karthik and Kaif. In absolutely no one’s mind was Ganguly’s place in the squad in doubt. He is back and all of us know it.

A sport is supposed to be an extension of life. It throws at individuals similar challenges and gives us, those sitting on the sidelines, an opportunity to see how our heroes face them. We, in India, are often accused of putting our cricketers on the high pedestal, not realizing that it is after all “just a game.” For once, seeing this drama play out in front of us, I’m proud of our fanaticism. I’m proud that the youngsters in our country look up to someone who has it in him to be a real role model.

He didn’t swing on a spider web and rescue Mary Jane, he didn’t smash up Lex Luger after being pounded with Kryptonite.. and he didn’t vow to “smoke out” the Taliban. Sourav Ganguly did a lot more, he took all the hits, didn’t buckle, believed in himself, found strength deep within and came back the way not many can. He showed us that perseverance counts, that it’s not what others think or say that matters, and that with self-belief, it is always possible to bounce back.

A true champion has the ability to get up when others would stay down. He has that seemingly impossible iota of strength still left when all hope seems lost. By digging in that reserve, Ganguly showed us that he deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest. The Adidas executives should kick themselves in the backside, for more than any other brand ambassador they’ve got on this country, it is Sourav Ganguly who has earned his stripes in the World Cup squad and truly personifies the slogan – “Impossible is Nothing.”


13 Responses to “Impossible Is Nothing”

  1. RaviKumar Says:

    Too good article Rahul keep it Up.NO better way can the Greatness of this cricketer could have been best described

  2. raj Says:

    that adidas thing was a dig on Rahul Dravid, right? You guys will never learn. True, Saurav is a champion. But Rahul is no less a champion and was the architect of many a Saurav captaincy triumph. Especially when Saurav was woefulyl out of form. To take a dig at Dravid (ofcourse you’ll deny it but that adidas was a give away) just because saurav is doing well is stupid.D raivd has a equal or better record in ODIs and Tests recent times.

  3. Rahul Says:

    @RaviKumar – Thanks!!

  4. Rahul Says:

    @Raj – Dude!!! I’m laughing so hard I think I’ll die.. it wasn’t a dig at Dravid.. I love Dravid.. he rocks.. we won the match yesterday coz he held up one end.. and well, ummm, ahem, isn’t Dravid a Reebok brand ambassador?!!! You guys really will never learn 😀

    And puh-leeezzz don’t get back with some Adidas has acquired Reebok argument.. everyone knows and considers them to be separate brands. Adidas showrooms don’t sell Reebok products 😉


  5. Ankit Says:

    Awesome writing (Not that it comes as a surprise)

  6. Sudeep. Says:

    Hey come to think of it, its not too late for Adidas to hire Ganguly. Man, you just lost a million bucks by publishing that idea for free 😀

  7. Bisku Says:

    Ganguly has come back no doubt. His will power to improve his form has got him to where he is now. But it got triggered because of Chappell controversy. A coach should believe that if a player performs poorly, he needs to learn the basics and get back to form. Captaincy got into Ganguly’s head and he got complacent. Getting back to form was just the hard work that’s required from each player in the squad and Ganguly delivered it. Sehwag is pretty much in a state where Ganguly was, when he was dropped. but then he still is in the squad because Dravid thinks he is important.

  8. Pingal Khan Says:

    ya great writing .ganguly is a hero .And the adidas one was brilliant .By the way only a ridiculous guy can say dravid’s one day record is as good as souirav’s while in tests Dravid is an alltime great and sourav is a mediocre player , in ODIs Sourav is one of the alltime greats.

  9. NAyK Says:

    Emotionalism, emotionalism! What would Indian cricket be without it! 🙂 Anyway… onto my own emotionalism… we always give glory to the batsmen, but sadly, the bowlers are getting more and more neglected. What we need is matchwinner bowlers… in both ODI and tests. In tests we have Kumble… in ODI’s? That’s what we need more talk about. We need to view our bowlers as the most precious commidity… good bowlers are so rare… in all nations. We NEED them.
    More power to Zaheer, Munaf, Agarkar, Bhajji, Kumble, Pathan and Sreesanth… may you get many man of the match awards this world-cup!!! 🙂

  10. NAyK Says:

    ps. if you’re interested… here’s my more detailed ’emotional’ take on the issue:

  11. […] reaction was written in reaction to yet another Ganguly-oriented blog entry that reminded me that we talk more about ‘batsman’ than bowlers… perhaps […]

  12. psikolog Says:

    tebrıkler admin

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