Kolkata, Nov 6 : As former Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly plays his last test, fans at his hometown in Kolkata express dismay over his decision to retire.
The 36-year-old, left-handed batsman, Ganguly had announced at the start of the India-Australia series that it would be his last.
He was named in the squad for the first two tests despite being dropped for a premier domestic game, seen as a selection match, following a poor series in Sri Lanka in August.
Ganguly's fans, who otherwise used to celebrate cricketer's achievements were sad and gloomy as their 'hero' is playing his last match in Nagpur against Australia.
"Saurav will retire after Nagpur test it is a sad thing for me as well for all his supporters in Bengal. When Saurav used score big in his innings we used to celebrate here at this place only and today he is playing his last game so we are feeling very sad. And the saddest part is that no Bengali in India can play such excellent cricket in 50-100 years and become the captain of the team. We believe that whatever Saurav did is unforgettable for entire country," said Sunil Halder, Ganguly's fan.
Holding posters of their icon they said Sourav should not call quits as still a lot of cricket was left in him and can continue his game for the next 2-3 years.
"Saurav is a kind of person who never says anything through words to prove himself but always gives a fitting answer by his bat. He used to score good runs in his team but still he was sent out of the team. And his day will end now but we feel that he still has a lot of cricket alive within him and has a lot to give to us and to the country. He himself has accepted this as well," said Biplab Paul, another fan.
Meanwhile West Bengal Government also feels that Ganguly is like a brand ambassador of the state and can definitely help in the development and industrialization of the state.
"I don't have any plan but I will be very much pleased if he gets involved into developmental work or in any other work. That will be very much useful to us for the industrialization and development. He is an idol and icon of Bengal not only for sports but for other purposes also. His services can be utilized. He can advice us on sports development and he can advise us on industrial development," Ashok Bhattacharya, Minister for Urban Development, West Bengal.
Ganguly, a veteran of 109 test and 311 one-day internationals, faced turbulence several times in his career including his first outing in international cricket in 1992, which followed an interregnum of four years.
In 1996, he made a comeback to national team during India's tour to England where he along with Rahul Dravid made their test debut.
Ganguly, known mainly for his silken off-side drives has so far amassed 6,888 runs with 15 centuries and 34 half centuries in test matches. However, he has been more prolific in the one-day internationals with more than 11, 363 runs with 22 three-figure scores.
India's four senior batsmen are under increasing pressure ahead of the four-test series against top-ranked Australia starting in Bangalore on October 9.
A debate on their advancing ages began after India's test series defeat in Sri Lanka in August where the 'fab four' Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Vangipurappu Laxman fared poorly.
Story first published: Thursday, November 6, 2008, 22:50 [IST]
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