Sourav Chandidas Ganguly
The Bengal Tiger
What this man gave to the Indian cricket cannot be matched by another. He is the saviour of Indian cricket after match fixing scandal rocked it in 2000. Call him the “God of offside”, “Dada”, “Bengal Tiger” or “Snooty”, his contribution to Indian cricket is immense despite the many controversies surrounding his career. The “aggression” and “passion” that he infused into the Indian team during his captaincy are relatively newer terms for Indian cricket which was once stereotyped as a team of meek cricketers.
Ganguly emerged as a tough, able and an adamant leader who took his team to new heights when a relatively younger team reached the finals of the 2003 World Cup in conditions most unsuited to Indian cricket. He became only the third man to score a century at the iconic Lords cricket ground on Test debut. In the subsequent Test, he scored another century which made him the third batsman to score back to back centuries in his first two innings. Ganguly scored 11363 runs in his career. His right arm medium pace bowling too came in handy in the one day matches. His shirtless celebration on the balcony of the Lords after the win in the NatWest final is a part of the cricket folklore. It was under his captaincy that India learnt to win overseas. He remains one of the most successful captains of all times in Indian cricket by registering 21 victories in 49 matches. Ganguly played a major role in shaping the career of many young players. It is due to his foresight and immense belief in the capabilities of young shoulders that is paying dividends even today.
Trouble started when Greg Chappell took over the reins as the Indian coach. Ganguly had to pay a huge price for his loss in form by getting dropped continuously during Chappell’s era. His weakness in facing short balls too had come to the fore. Whether it was his late arrival at a toss in Australia or a spat with the groundsman over the pitch in a Nagpur Test, he remained in the limelight for all the wrong reasons during this time. Post-retirement from the international cricket, he played for IPL franchise Kolkata Night Riders and later for Pune Warriors India. Ganguly, who is to join MCC’s world cricket committee from October this year is on the Mudgal Panel which is probing fixing allegations in the Indian Premier League. Now a cricket commentator, Sourav Ganguly has shouldered so many roles and responsibilities that it makes the “Prince of Kolkata” inseparable from the 22 yards where once he had ruled over bowlers with disdain and pride.