Season 5 of the Indian Premier League may just be the last one we will see of Sourav Ganguly as a player and captain, as the former India skipper now wants to only be the mentor of the Pune Warriors team in the next season.
With Pune out of race for a place in the play-offs, Ganguly is likely to miss the remaining three games. Speaking exclusively to NDTV, Pune team owner Subrata Roy Sahara said: "Sourav wants to give youngsters a chance in the last games."
Roy also clarified that Ganguly was just interested in being the mentor of the side this season but he pushed him to play and lead the side. "Sourav will be the mentor next season. We pushed him to play in IPL 5."
Pune team's regular captain Yuvraj Singh is currently recuperating from a rare germ cell cancer and is likely to turn up for his side next season.
After a decent start in the tournament, Ganguly has gone through a torrid time both as a batsman as well as a skipper.
Roy, however, came to his defence and said it was not Ganguly's captaincy that did his side in but lack of good Indian talent. "Ganguly is a fine captain, our team lacked good Indian talent."
Having lost nine out of their 13 matches under his captaincy, which has come under scanner for some debatable team selections, Ganguly's own batting form also deserted him in this edition.
With 261 runs from 13 games at a strike-rate of shade over 100 and fielding which is atleast a few notches below the standard set in a competition like IPL, the soon-to-be-40 Ganguly struggled to fit himself to the demands of the shortest version.
Some of the decisions made by Ganguly which came under scanner include Bangladeshi opener Tamim Iqbal not getting a single game despite being the top-scorer during Asia Cup with four back-to-back half- centuries. Also T20 specialist Alphonso Thomas was repeatedly ignored in favour of West Indian Marlon Samuels who did precious little with the bat or ball after the first three games.
India international Rahul Sharma got dumped after being clobbered for five consecutive sixes but the feeling among the domestic players was how and why the likes of Rahul and Manish Pandey were getting repeatedly ignored to favour the likes of Mithun Manhas who is not known to finish off games.
Last but not the least was Ganguly's own form. Whether at the top or in the middle-order, one of India's finest captain looked totally out of sorts having played a lot of dot balls in all the matches.
(With PTI inputs)