Men who hung their boots
Millions rested their hopes on these match-winners who played for their nation with heart and soul. Their presence on-field gave opposition sleepless nights. And as they say goodbye to the game, cricket.ndtv.com brings to you an insight into their lives and what made them so special.
<p>“He should retire now…”, “Time has ripened for Dada to bid adieu to international cricket”… Debates, analyses, expert comments and more, all this came from almost every impulsive corner of the game but the fans were left gasping with only few words, their hearts skipped a beat when Sourav Ganguly, finally, said the final bye to the love of his life, a committed love affair that lasted 12 long years. </p> <p>The man who knew no fear announced that Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008 against Australia would be his last appearance for the Indian team and retired in a graceful manner, leaving behind fans soaked in gratitude for the contribution he had made to the game. They could only wish him the best in life after cricket. </p> <p>The Maharaja's journey began in January 1992 against Australia. Four years later, Ganguly earned his first century in the longer version of the game at the Lord’s against England and in August 1997, he smashed his first ODI century in Colombo against Sri Lanka. Though Ganguly couldn’t manage a fairytale exit during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, as he was out for a duck in his last innings, he would certainly not regret leaving his job without India winning the invaluable series. </p> <p>For over a decade now, fans have been used to seeing the fantastic four of Indian batting together. Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, have always been beyond ‘larger than life’ figures for the people of a nation that eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. Ganguly's exit has left a void in Indian cricket which will be difficult to fill in the near future.</p> <strong>Also read: </strong><br /> <br /> <a class="text2bold_link" target="_blank" href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/talking_picture.aspx?ID=42">A man not afraid of controversies</a> | <a class="text2bold_link" target="_blank" href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/talking_picture.aspx?ID=41">How Ganguly changed the face of Indian cricket</a> | <a class="text2bold_link" target="_blank" href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/gallerydetails.aspx?picId=2916">Ganguly in different moods</a>
<p>Adam Gilchrist, an aggressive left-handed batsman and a record-breaking wicket-keeper, was considered the Australian team’s backbone. He was undoubtedly one of the best keepers in the game.</p> <p>Gilchrist broke the record for the most dismissals by a wicket-keeper, added the last feather in his cap and decided to leave the Australian green baggy forever on January 26, 2008, during the final Test match against India at Adelaide. </p> <p>His first ODI appearance was against India in 1996 and his Test debut was against Pakistan in 1999. </p> <p>Contrary to his image of an upright cricketer, his controversial autobiography <em>True Colors </em>drew flak from many quarters. Gilly shocked the world with some strange remarks in his book. He called legendary Sachin Tendulkar a sore loser. The episode he referred to was the racism row involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test. </p> <p>The Australian even went on to dub veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan a chucker. The book definitely turned out to be a big harm to Gilchrist's long-lived reputation.</p>
<p>He’s the man who played a vital role in scripting many a splendid Test wins for India. Some of the most memorable wins for India came with the help of his unconventional spin attack. He was appreciated and respected across the world of cricket in his role as a player, a guide and a leader. Anil Kumble – a man who’s needs no introduction - will be missed by not just the Indian spin department but also by his fans worldwide. </p> <p>Kumble has had his share of glories and praises during his career that lasted over a decade. His famous ‘broken jaw’ Test in the year 2002 created waves in the world of cricket. He had all the courage to step out with a broken jaw and save his team from a terrible defeat during the Antigua Test. The world witnessed Kumble's gutsy efforts to come out and prove his mettle. </p> <p>Kumble is only the second bowler in the history of the game to achieve the rare feat of taking ten wickets in a Test match. <br /> <br /> His well-deserved maiden Test hundred at The Oval in August 2007 is fresh in everyone’s minds. By dismissing England’s Monty Panesar in the same match, Anil Kumble also surpassed Glenn McGrath (563) to become the world's third highest wicket-taker in Tests. Kumble’s spin magic couldn’t have come in handy on a better occasion than beating the West Indies on their home soil after 35 long years. He took 6 for 78 to bowl India to a historic victory over the then powerful side. </p> <p>The cricketer and gentleman who served Indian cricket with pure commitment and humility, ended his international career in 2008. We wish him all the best for his second innings!</p> <strong>Also see: </strong><br /> <br /> <a class="text2bold_link" target="_blank" href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/ausind08/gallerydetails.aspx?picId=2859">Anil Kumble bids adieu to cricket</a> | <a class="text2bold_link" target="_blank" href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/ausind08/gallerydetails.aspx?picId=2860">Anil Kumble: The final ovation </a>