| Sourav Ganguly
Calcutta: Endorsement seekers are beginning to queue up once again and, so, expect Sourav Ganguly to reach out from the billboards (and the TV screens) after a break.
This time, he may well bowl you over with ‘thanks for not forgetting me’.
Much has happened in limited overs cricket since the September 6, 2005 tri-series final in Harare — the last time Sourav featured in an ODI.
The basics haven’t changed, but three teams have smashed the 400 runs barrier four times — Australia and winners South Africa in the same match, in Johannesburg; Sri Lanka (versus Holland) in Amsterdam and South Africa against Zimbabwe in Potchefstroom.
That’s not all: A shade over two months ago, the Australians finally lifted the Champions Trophy which had eluded them for ages.
As for something personal, Sourav’s tally of 22 centuries got overtaken by Sanath Jayasuriya (23), the current No.2.
Sachin Tendulkar leads with 40.
Sourav’s last three-figure knock was at Kingsmead during the 2003 World Cup semi-final versus Kenya. A century, therefore, is long due.
Ending that drought will be an unstated priority once Sourav returns to limited overs cricket, in Nagpur, next Sunday.
The day after being recalled, he simply told The Telegraph: “It feels great… I’ve always enjoyed ODIs and I’m itching to get on to the park…”
How did he celebrate on Friday'
“Nothing much… I stayed at home and, this morning, went back to the Eden (for the closing stages of the Ranji match against Rajasthan)… But, yes, I’m very happy…”
Returning to the happenings between Harare and now…
For one, the experimental super-sub rule got done away with in March. It hadn’t been well received by anybody.
Then, the hope that Shane Warne would make a one-day comeback ended when he announced he wouldn’t play international cricket after the Sydney Test, which finished on January 5.
Incidentally, in Sourav’s absence, Team India played 41 matches (winning 21) and set a world record of 17 successive wins while chasing.
The 50-plus success percentage is largely due to the excellent run between October 2005 and April 2006.
More recently, there have been plenty of defeats — the last being 0-4 in South Africa.
Today, of course, there’s belief that Sourav’s return is going to reverse that morale-crushing trend.
He will, in any case, take guard at the VCA Stadium with the good wishes of millions.