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Dada and IPL: An unrequited love story


altIPL is the king of cricketainment. 9 teams clash with each other in this marquee T20 tournament which provides plenty of excitement. What could be better than the Prince of Kolkata playing in the King of cricketainment. IPL is one chance where fans get to see their retired cricket idols back in action.

When dada retired in 2007, we fans were not worried as we knew we can still catch him in action during the IPL seasons. When Shah Rukh announced DADA and the KKR team, KKR team was the most fancied team in the IPL because it was captained by the greatest captain of Team India. But Buchanan's bizarre ideologies and lack of Indian talent in the team contributed to the lack of success. When Dada was sacked from the team, entire Kolkata erupted in frenzy and booed the team. This says everything about the man, Sourav Ganguly. No player commands such a maniac following in their home town. Shah Rukh realized that the team was going nowhere with McCullum as skipper and Dada was back in action as skipper during the IPL-3. But indifferent form and the lack of success of the overseas players made KKR taste defeat more often. Then came the unthinkable, Dada not being bought in the auction. Finally PWI bought him to stabilize Pune Warriors. His first match for PWI resulted in the most bizarre act of fan worship in India, when a fan stormed into the field and fell at the feet of the warrior prince. That says so much about Ganguly and his legend that lives on the minds of his fans.

IPL- 5 came and he was back to his best, leading the team. But again with not much success. But Why??

The problem with both KKR and Pune was the local contingent failing to deliver. With KKR the likes of Manoj Tiwary and in Pune Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Rahul Sharma were below par. The captain is only as good as his team. The second reason was Dada was never going be in the kind of form as he was in his heydays. Lack of match practice did not do him any good. Who knows, he would have been a totally different player if the IPL had started before 2007. Despite all this he and PWI started well in IPL 5, probably peaked a bit too early and lost steam towards the end. But every single home match was filled with crowds, most of them cheering for their beloved Dada.

IPL 5 featured the mother of all clashes , KKR vs PWI. It was the most expected match of the season, maybe even the entire IPL. Bengal cricket board erected LCD monitors all over the city for the fans. The son of Bengal returns to Eden Gardens as the opposition captain. The Eden Gardens was split in support of PWI. Half the stadium was in light blue cheering for the most famous son of Bengal and the other half cheering for Gambhir's KKR. Ganguly was at his fighting best, inspiring a comeback for PWI, but sadly could not complete the rituals and PWI lost. Had Dada steered his team to victory, it would have been a famous win since Dada is likely to retire from IPL this season. Even this season we had glimpses of Dadagiri, famously in the match against the heavyweights Delhi. When he dismissed KP and set off on a celebratory run, it was a goosebumps raising moment for all DADA fans. After the famous shirt-swirl at the Lords balcony, this can be counted as the next best display of his raw passion. According to reports this might be his last IPL, and we may never see a cover drive as beautiful as his and his famous down-the track-six against left arm spinners would be dearly missed. But nothing can take away his contribution to team India as a player and as the greatest captain. Dada - you will remain a rockstar and the greatest left handed player India has ever produced.

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