Saurav "Dada" Ganguly, say what you like about the man, but he should single handedly take credit for what Indian cricket has been for the last few years. Of course the man has his idiosyncrasies, but then this is India - every nitwit and his father have gone to self-trips in course of power mongering.
But "The Prince of Kolkata" was different, he was a break from the tradition. His batting relied on hand eye coordination and in his return tour to England after a prolonged hiatus he was spectacular, his batting would rank next only to those Azzu bhai innings against the poms. When he is on the pitch, you will be forced to focus on what he is doing. Maybe thats the difference between Azhar and Ganguly. Ganguly knew where the focus would be and made sure that he made a positive difference there.
Just look at the current stars that we have, Yuvraj, Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Irfan, Kaif etc were all picked, groomed, defended by Ganguly. And the 'boys' delivered for their 'dada' with a bang, that fired Ganguly into doing what he does best, ungli. Ask Waugh or Flintoff how the proverbial finger feels. Meanwhile Ganguly went on scoring runs, piles of them. He dominated the famous Sachin-Saurav combo, but for having a handicap against short-pitched bowling he would have been better at tests too.
He created a huge mess in the Chappell saga, but you cannot count him out. He planned his entrance, all the way down to the pr strategy (remember the ad?) and made a spectacular (and successful to boot) entry into the Indian cricket circus. He played the elder statesman to the hilt, Dada still lights up Yuvraj and Sehwag if you ask me. And his 300+ runs in this series buried his greatest nemesis, Waugh would be proud of him.
The best known proponent of sport mind games in India, cocksure, arrogant, the prince, the god of offside, one who played favoritism, did not play the game in the right spirit, the naghma scandal... pick your memories of him, but one thing you definitely cannot say about him, that he was an unknown fighter for an uncompetitive team. Credit to Ganguly, he has changed that forever.
For me, his ability to rally the team around him and those lofted shots over the infield shall remain enduring images.
Tradition? my foot.