'Ganguly was a treat to watch'
Kolkata (PTI): Curtains came down on Sourav Ganguly's international career on Monday but his legacy will live on in the Team India dressing room, said Bengal's cricket fraternity.
Lauding Ganguly's eventful 12-year journey in Test cricket from Lord's to Nagpur, former India player and Bengal opener Gopal Bose said the former skipper was instrumental in India getting to shed their pushover tag.
"Sourav's greatest legacy is that he made Indian cricketers shed their inferiority complex. He made the Indians believe that they are no pushovers," the veteran opener told PTI. Bose felt the Ganguly-led team's Natwest Trophy triumph against England was the biggest win for the team.
"When Sourav tore off his shirt and waved it around at the Lord's balcony, Indian cricket got its independence. Sourav's bold gesture at Lord's made us believe in ourselves. From thereon, we could look everyone in their eyes. If you see, nowadays players like Harbhajan (Singh) and (Gautam) Gambhir react... That's the greatest legacy left by Sourav."
"He came at a time when Indian cricket was mired in betting controversy. He made (Rahul) Dravid keep... Only Sourav can do that. That was a master move as we played the ICC World Cup final against Australia," added the 61-year-old.
"I would have loved if Sourav departed like the way he made his debut, with a century. But that happens in cricket. It will be long before we see another Sourav again," said an emotional Bose. Sourav's first coach Debu Mitra, presently at the helm of Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy, rued having missed out on watching his ward play his last innings.
"It's very rare that Sourav failed when I watched him from the stands. Having seen him score a hundred at Lord's in his maiden Test, I would have loved to see him at Nagpur... But I was occupied with my side's commitments. I am sure he would have departed with a hundred if I was there," Mitra said from Rajkot.
He added that India will have to wait to see another Ganguly. "It's the end of an era... We have to wait for another Sourav to come from Bengal. But his contribution is immense and Indian cricket can look forward to that."
"Today I feel happy as well as sad. Happy because I am proud that I got a disciple like Sourav... one of the best cricketer and captain India has seen. At the same time, I am deeply sorry to see him go as we won't be able to see another Sourav innings again," Mitra added.
Sambaran Banerjee was Bengal captain when Ganguly made his debut in the 1989-90 Ranji Trophy final against Delhi and the former stumper said he knew from the start that the left-hander would make it big one day.
Recalling the final, which Bengal eventually won at Eden Gardens, Banerjee said, "I had fought for his selection. He was a gifted player. I took him as a batting all-rounder and in his 22-run innings, at No.3, he tackled the experienced attack of Manoj Prabhakar, Atul Wasan, Kirti Azad and Maninder Singh with ease. He was a treat to watch."
Banerjee, who is now the chief Bengal selector said, "He has given enough to Indian cricket. I wish him all the best for his second innings (in life). We will miss him."