Friday, May 4, 2012

Gambhir vs Ganguly : Clash of the alter egos in IPL 5

The IPL-5 has crossed its midway point last week and now the tournament is gearing up for the excitement that is staple fare in the last leg. Many questions are dogging the viewers' minds.
Who will be in the top four ? Whether the current momentum and points of the teams will hold on till the last?  Presently Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai & Mohali are leading the table while Pune & Deccan are placed at the bottom although Deccan has finally got its act going and look to be in the forward momentum while Pune led by the comeback-master Sourav Ganguly has lost the forward-stride that it had gained when they had beaten Delhi in their home ground after a superlative performance by Ganguly.
For the average cricket viewer in Kolkata, the match on the 5th of May between Kolkata Knight Riders led by Gautam Gambhir and Pune Warriors led by Sourav Ganguly is turning out to be a crowd puller not only because Dada (as Ganguly is fondly known among his fans) at the ripe age of 40 is playing in his home ground after quite a long break but also because Gambhir has led the fans of Knights to believe for the first time in the five years of the tournament that they have it in them to win the trophy this time.

The captains of both the teams have a lot in common between them to the extent that one can almost depict Gambhir as the alter-ego of Ganguly. Firstly both are stylish left-handers, secondly both are captains, thirdly Gambhir debuted on 3rd of November 2004 when Ganguly was the captain of Indian team , fourthly Gambhir has taken over the captaincy of the Knights from Ganguly . But the punchline of the story lies elsewhere. Gambhir had lost his place in the tests  when he was prone to get out in the 30's & 40's and he was out for nearly 2 years from Dec'05 to Dec'07 while Ganguly had taken his place. In the year 2012, however things are different. Gambhir has matured to be a solid cricketer, averaging more than 50 in tests and 40 in ODIs. Although Gmbhir lost his vice captaincy to Kohli after the disastrous Indian tour of Australia in last winter, he is determined to prove that given the freedom to lead his team he can actually give Dhoni, a good competition for the slot of captaincy of the Indian team. While Ganguly who was forced to retire in 2008 from international cricket is trying to prove, not very successfully,  in every edition of IPL that he still has the fire in the belly to play international cricket.The rivalry between the teams has reached the personal quarters of the captains too. Dona, wife of Ganguly,  a resident of Kolkata has been quoted as saying that she will support Pune all the way although one has not heard any matching comment from Natasha, Gambhir's better half. At the age of 40, Ganguly will not find it easy to tame the Knights whereas Gambhir, who turned 30 last October (coincidentally having the same birthday as yours truly) is blazing on all guns whether in batting, fielding or captaincy.

To a casual observer, it looks like game,set and match for Gambhir and the Knights. Although more often than not the casual observers are correct, it still remains to be seen whether guile & experience can triumph over energy & youth in this gloriously-uncertain  game of cricket which always gives ample opportunities to both. As for my money , observant reader(s) can easily  decipher where they lie unless heavy rains turn out to be the spoilsport-victor in the end.

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