It's official now. Sourav Ganguly is now the greatest comeback kid in the history of cricket, relegating contenders like Mohinder Amarnath firmly to the background. Amarnath had once called the selection committee a bunch of jokers. Sourav must have felt the same, but he has always managed to have the last laugh.
Sourav has made a comeback in ODIs, Tests and T20s. He was sacked as India captain, but he returned to lead the Kolkata Knight Riders. He made his first comeback in May 1996 in ODI cricket. And now he is making another comeback, the IPL one, after exactly 15 years in May 2011!
IPL Snippets: Test cricketers, not Tests, are dying
He was once written off from the Ranji format, but returned to play there too!
One has to admire Sachin Tendulkar. Sourav, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and many others made their ODI debuts years after Sachin and retired many years back. Sachin is still playing! There have been no comebacks in Sachin's life.
Sourav is a few months shy of his 39th birthday, but you can be sure that he will give his 100% when he bats for his new team Pune Warriors India. He always has a point to prove!
So that way, the big date now is May 19. On that day, who will win? Dada or Shahrukh Khan?
(That's the day Pune will take on KKR)
It's befitting that one comeback kid should replace another. The vacancy was created with the injury of Ashish Nehra.
Also, the Maharaj will play under the Yuvraj.
The order has indeed changed.The old foxes rule
Only three teams have retained their captains for all three seasons: Chennai Superkings (MS Dhoni), Rajasthan Royals (Shane Warne) and Mumbai Indians (Sachin). Interestingly, at the half-way stage, all three teams were in the Top 4, showing that even IPL teams require consistency.
The fourth team was KKR, thanks to Gautam Gambhir, who has also captained Delhi Daredevils and Team India. Delhi's Virender Sehwag also has been a consistent captain, but he has been hampered by a brand new team.
Of the two new teams, Pune has been languishing near the bottom. Even Kochi has been quite inconsistent between the bottom and middle of the table.
So the first half of IPL clearly favours a tried and established captaincy.
Will it be one of these three who lift the crown?Sachin lords over IPL too
Sachin has been slowly cannibalizing all the Test and ODI batting records which are to be had. His only glaring omission has been international T20s. He played India's very first match, scored 10 runs and retired.
But he sure seems to be making up with the IPL. He got the Orange Cap in 2010 scoring a record 618 runs and also became the Man of the Series that year. He scored his first century in 2011.
He's closing in on 1500 IPL runs with only Suresh Raina ahead of him. In terms of IPL man of the match awards, only Yusuf Pathan has more.
Mumbai Indians isn't doing that badly too. It has a victory rate of about 55%, among the highest of all teams. In 2008, it chased down a target against KKR in a mere 5.3 overs.
But an IPL tournament victory still eludes Sachin. Will that come, like the 2011 World Cup win, only towards the end of his IPL career?What if your country doesn't choose you?
While the "IPL over country" debate rages, what if your country doesn't choose you? Or what if you think that your country will not choose you? Or what if you are angry with the selection team of your country?
It's not just money that lures international players to IPL. Andrew Symonds was not at all happy with the way his board treated him in Monkeygate. Chris Gayle was also miffed with the West Indies board.More columns
The Sri Lankan board handled Lasith Malinga very very poorly.
The truth is that the ICC and boards from other countries have not taken IPL that seriously despite its phenomenal success. They are doing so at their own peril.
It is time the IPL was recognized in the Future Tours programme and international cricket not conducted during that period, otherwise more and more players will be lost to international cricket.The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/