It took Jaydev Unadkat 21 years to break the record of Dodda Ganesh for most wickets by a fast bowler in Ranji trophy. But the story was quite different for the Karnataka fast bowler who once wrote history after picking up 63 wickets in the 1989-99 season. His achievement on the domestic circuit came after he was dropped from the national team in 1997 and faced moments of disparity but never gave up.
By the time Ganesh retired, he had bowled over 20000 deliveries for Karnataka, picking up 365 wickets with 20 five-wicket hauls to his name. He also recorded six 10 wicket-hauls to his name with the best bowling figures of seven for 36.
Dodda Ganesh: with sheer hard work I’d stupendous seasons in 1997, 1998 and 1999
It was a difficult time for Ganesh after being dropped from the national team but he decided to work hard and burn the midnight oil with all the work put in bearing fruits. He recorded a stupendous Ranji season thereafter and not only claimed the record of highest wickets by a fast bowler in 1998-99 but also saw Karnataka lift the prestigious trophy.
“Had to pen down this after seeing various cricketers confessing that they’d suicidal thoughts in their days out of the Indian team. Well, let me share my experience. I, too, was dropped from the Indian team, in 1997. And, I did not step out of my house for a month, in disparity (sic),” Dodda Ganesh tweeted.
“For me – it was the end of the world. I couldn’t stomach the fact that I was discarded without a fair run at the top level. But I was only 23 then and knew I’d a lot of cricket left in me – with age on my side. I decided to burn the midnight oil.
“And with sheer hard work I’d stupendous seasons in 1997, 1998 and 1999. In 1999, where Karnataka ended up being the Ranji champions, I’d picked up a total of 63 wkts (a record for a seamer back then), and was dreaming of a World Cup berth. But it was not to be,” he added in a series of tweet.
Dodda Ganesh was not considered worthy of a comeback
Dodda Ganesh, however, was not considered worthy of a comeback for the national team even though he was ticking all the boxes for the state team. He played for the India A side in the meantime but not featuring for the national team was a big blow for him personally.
“I was not considered worthy of a comeback. All I could manage was – make the cut for a few India-A tours. It was a dagger through my heart to see bowlers who’d picked much lesser wickets than me being rewarded with the Indian cap.
“Remember, I, too, was in my mid-20s then and young enough for a comeback. Later, with Karnataka being relegated to the plate group post 2000, my dream of an international comeback faded away in front of my eyes.
Had to pen down this after seeing various cricketers confessing that they’d suicidal thoughts in their days out of the Indian team. Well, let me share my experience. I, too, was dropped from the Indian team, in 1997. And, I did not step out of my house for a month, in despairity.
— ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ | Dodda Ganesh (@doddaganesha) June 4, 2020
In the series of tweet, while talking about mental health, Ganesh mentioned that by the time he was 30, he had learnt to make peace with himself. The Karnataka legend also added, ‘life is beyond cricket’ and advised to live with our loved ones.