Finally, Saurav Ganguly has decided to take the sane route and has decided to call it quits from cricket . I guess this should be a cue for Dravid and a bit later, Sachin Tendulkar to start planning for their swansongs too.
While I might not be a very vocal supporter of Ganguly, there was a period of time when I liked Ganguly a lot - the time when he scored centuries in ODIs against teams other than Kenya, Namibia and Holland. And, arguably, he along with SRT formed the best ODI opening (or any?) batting partnership. The dominance of India in ODIs in the last 10 odd years can be mainly attributed to the stability that he provided along with SRT. Comparisons have always been there, especially when you are batting alongside the finest batting genius India ever produced (for the ODI format) and to his credit, Ganguly has stood up to the comparison and delivered. If not for he taking his "aggressiveness" and "Captain Courageous" tags too seriously, he might have ended up on the good side of more people. I cannot forget seeing Ganguly in the Indian dressing room (at MAC Stadium) in 2001, talking on a damned cell phone when Steve Waugh was at the center, waiting for the toss. It was my first experience of watching a game with the players and it was bad that I had a bad taste at that with Ganguly's disrespect for the Australian captain. And while he was instrumental in people like Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh being successes, he was also responsible for not backing people like Shriram or Badani - who are much better fielders than Yuvraj and are decent hits with the bat too. But, for all the negatives I've given here, SCG remains the most successful Indian captain ever (which, I hope Dhoni would break, at least in ODIs). Here's wishing him the best in life after the playing field - in IPL or the commentary team (How many of you remember Ganguly saying that if you are chasing 260 plus, you need to score 90 odd in 15 overs during the Kochi ODI against Australia in 1998 - the game where Sachin took 5 wickets).
Here's a list of favorite Ganguly knocks/performances.
1. Dhaka - Independence Cup - Scored a gutsy 120 odd. This, in my rating is the best Ganguly ODI innings.
2. World Cup - 1999 - Sri Lanka @ Taunton - 183 runs - Muralitharan was never spanked more in my knowledge.
3. Sahara Cup in Toronto - Ganguly's most favorite tournament, I guess.
4. Obviously, the debut series against England, 1996
5. Brisbane 144 against Australia in the first test in 2005.