Credited for jump-starting Team India’s rise to power in international cricket, Sourav Ganguly’s association with cricket is remarkable more for the spirit than the statistics.
Right from his debut to his crackling repartee behind the mic, we bring you five reasons why Dada is the legend he is.
The Debut ton
Sourav made his debut for the ODI format in 1992, but was dropped twice after playing a match each time, for what was termed as his “arrogant attitude”, and reports of him refusing to carry drinks for his team mates, which he denied later.
After Navjot Singh Sidhu left the tour midway, Ganguly made his test debut, in 1996 against England at Lord’s. It was only the third instance when a batsman scored a century in each of his first two innings after Lawrence Rowe and Alvin Kallicharan. His ton at Lord’s also remains the highest score by a batsman on his debut at the ground.
While Dada has scored a total of 38 international centuries, some of them will stay etched in the indian cricket lovers’ minds for a long time. There was the 124 he scored against Pakistan in January 1998, at Dhaka, which helped India record the highest successful ODI run-chase at that time. Centuries from Saeed Anwar and Ijaz Ahmed had helped Pakistan put up a mammoth 314 for 5. Ganguly was named the Man of the Match.
More records came in the 1999 world cup match agains Sri Lanka in Taunton, when his 183 became then the highest ODI knock by an Indian; the 318-run partnership with Dravid (145) reached the highest partnership at that point; and India’s 373 for 6 was the second-highest ODI total at the time.
Beside these, other memorable knocks include, the 141 against Pakistan, at Adelaide, in January 2000; the 128 against England at the Headingley Test in August 2002, the 144 against Australia, at Brisbane Test, in December 2003 and the 239 against Pakistan at Bangalore Test, in December, 2007.
Any memory of Ganguly’s cricketing innings cannot be complete without the mention of his captaincy. Taking over the reigns of the Indian cricket team after the infamous match-fixing scandal, the first major glimpse of Ganguly’s skill as skipper came in the second match of the 2001 test series against Australia. India went on to win after Steve Waugh enforced a follow-on, with Dravid and Laxman ‘s batting skills and Sourav’s shrewd marshalling of his bowlers.
2002 saw the memorable moment with India winning the NatWest series against England and Ganguly extracting sweet revenge against Andrew Flintoff by taking off and waving his shirt from the Lord’s balcony.
2003 saw Ganguly leading India into a world cup final for the first time after 1983, only to be defeated by the then indomitable Aussies.
After a long stretch of poor batting form, his face-off with Greg Chappell and consequently getting dropped from the captaincy and the team, the world watched in awe as the 33-year old went through some of the most rigorous training schedules to make a solid comeback in 2006 ICC Champions Trophy. He had modified his original batting stance and style, gave solid performance in both the Test and ODI series that year.
After retiring from international cricket in 2008, Ganguly has become a mainstay in the commentary panels across leading sport-channels, his witty re-joinders making him a crowd favourite.
Sourav Ganguly is also the current co-owner of the Indian Soccer League Kolkata franchise, Atletico de Kolkata, which went on to win the opening season of ISL .
Some unknown facts about Dada :-
· He taught the team not to be afraid. The team which used to stand quietly and take all the sledging, slowly started to reply back. They suddenly had the guts to sledge back.
· Before he was captain, Indian team hardly won anything abroad. He taught us to win abroad.
· He had confidence in his players and taught them to believe in themselves.
· Sehwag, Harbhajan, Yuvraj, Zaheer, Dhoni, Irfan were all unknowns. He made them believe in themselves! He made them what these players are today.
· He promoted Sehwag from middle order to opener which worked wonders.
· He kept Steve Waugh waiting for the toss.
· The famous kolkata 2001 victory against Australia, where Laxman and dravid had an amazing 303 runs partnership was BECAUSE dada promoted Laxman to number 3.
· He took India to the final of 2003 world cup.
· India won their first series in Pakistan under him.
· India won border-gavaskar series in 2001 which is also called the best test series of that trophy.
· When India lost to England in Wankhede, Flintoff removed his shirt and ran around the ground celebrating their victory!
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Dada took revenge and did the same in Lords in 2003 Natwest series final where India chased down 326 at the time when chasing 280+ was considered difficult and chasing 300+ impossible!
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· Dada was the one who gave Dhoni a chance in the team.
· He laid the foundation for the team which won 2011 world cup. He taught Indian team to fight back, to believe in themselves.
· India Vs Srilanka
SC Ganguly c & b Muralitharan 109(runs) 184 136(balls) 6(4’s) 2(6’s)
SR Tendulkar st †Kaluwitharana b Jayasuriya 128(runs)
182 131(balls) 8(4’s) 2(6’s) 97.70(SR)
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This quote sums it up
Ganguly is the BEST captain of Indian Team and Dhoni is the captain of Best Indian Team