Yes. You read it right. It’s Sourav – a Billion Dreams. When the Sachin Tendulkar’s biopic is hitting boundary with every passing day, when the fans are gathering in front of the multiplexes by hundreds and hundreds of thousands with the roar “ Sachin Sachin”, I am thinking of Sourav Ganguly, the man who weaved a billion dreams for his countrymen.
This Man Only Thinks of Himself & Has Nothing to Do with the Country
As portrayed in the movie, Sachin- the Billion Dreams, after 1999 world cup, Sachin was made the captain of India for the second time in spite of being reluctant to lead India further. He could step down instantly but the thought of his fans in India prevented him from doing that. Both he and Anjali came to the conclusion that if he refuses to take the responsibility this time, the countrymen might consider that this man only thinks of himself and has nothing to do with the country. But, he failed for another time and decided to contribute in the team only as a batsman.
BCCI Banned 4 Team Members
This was the time when the match fixing scandal took over the stage and Azharuddin with 4 others, including Ajay Jadeja, one of India’s most popular middle order batsmen were banned by BCCI. The country that considers cricket as it’s religion, as if started doubting even in God who had been questioned several times, but of no use as the God himself was shocked. Yes, even Sachin didn’t have any idea what was going on and to quote his words “that was the worst time in Indian cricket”.
Devotees Attacked the Temple of India
It’s India where the world cup semi final gets stopped if the players underperform, where an on duty police officer at the Eden Gardens starts dancing when India beats Australia, where every house worships the posters of cricketers before an India Vs Pakistan match, a fault like match fixing would never be pardoned. People started attacking the houses of the players who felt it insecure to move a single step without guards. Even, Sachin didn’t go out of his house for a long time. Commandos were there always to protect the temple of India from the devotees. People felt it irritating that they were actually fooled when they chocked their throats, shouting at the ground or sitting in the drawing room. They couldn’t judge for which matches they shouted meaninglessly.
As Sachin Says “ when we lose a match, they said that we didn’t give our hundred percent. If we win, they used to say that the opponent let us win the match. We badly needed to change people’s thoughts about us. We had to win the hearts of the countrymen so that cricket in India can be celebrated again”. India needed someone who could be trusted, who could make people believe that yes, we can, we play for pride. Amidst such conditions, Sourav was called.
Crouching, Slouching Dada Is Here
The platform was set. India Vs Australia, the team that had been winning 14 tests in a row, came to India with the mindset “we are invited just to increase the number of wins”. But Sourav had a different plan.
The then Australia could give a tough competition against any team now or you can include some would be teams also. Such was the batting, blowing and fielding of the team that even criticism feared to utter anything against it. The result was predestined and India lost the first test match badly.
The pressure was rising. After all, the next match was going to be held at the Eden Gardens, the largest cricket stadium in India. The poor batting continued and it seemed that they are going to lose this match as well. Thanks to that destructive innings of VVS Laxman who partnered with Rahul Dravid and put India back in the game. India reached the mark of 657 in the second innings and declared just before the lunch of the final day, giving no chance to Australia to win the match. By tea, Australia’s score was 161/3 and it seemed that the match would draw. Then all of a sudden, Aussies lost 5 wickets for 8 runs in just 31 balls. Harbhajan took two wickets in an over followed by three wickets from Sachin.
As Sachin says “ it’s a great pleasure for a captain when all your tricks click in the match” and when it’s about tricks, who can be a better inventor than Sourav. He noticed that the ball was turning and as Harbhajan was in a process of surprising the batsmen with attacking deliveries, Sourav thought it would be better to give the responsibility to someone who could support him. As Manjrekar utters the words of Ganguly “just one over for you mate” and Sachin proves the decision is not wrong. He took Gilchrist, the dangerous man in the very first ball and put India into the driver’s sit. Later he took two more wickets for the captain and the rest is history.
Post-Sourav Era- a Fairy Tale
Yes, it was the team that people had lost their faith in, it was the team that got it’s four members banned due to match fixing one year back and this was the captain who led India in the world cup after two years and made the team reach the final. Unimaginable right? After all, who would have thought that after such a condition of Indian cricket, Sourav’s boys (9 out of 15 were youngsters, participating in world cup for the first time) would be playing the final? I am sure none but one man. Sachin like all the countrymen has dreamt of winning the world cup. But this man thought of it. This is Dada for you.
If cricket is our religion and Sachin is our God, the story of post-Sourav India is like a fairy tale where he is nothing short of the BFG.