On 12th Aug, I played the final match of the Independence cup, organized between the senior and junior teams of SCIT, in front of a packed crowd cheering both us as well as the senior’s team. The mood was tense and unfortunately I had to do bat in the critical situation where my team needed 6 runs of the last 3 balls. It was really disappointing both for me and my team as that I could not get my team over the line. A painful dagger slowly pierced through my heart as I was coming to terms with the loss. My mind drifted to the thoughts of DADA the fighter who never gave up. He has been an inspiration for me right from my childhood along with my cricketing heroes Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag.
The name which has fascinated everyone following Indian cricket for over a decade is none other than our very own Sourav Chandidas Ganguly, “dada” as fondly called by his supporters. He had gone through a roller coaster ride in his magnificent career. Criticisms had been his staple diet from the time he replaced the enigmatic Sachin Tendulkar as the captain of the Indian cricket team. Still he is considered the most successful Indian cricket captain of all times. The first ever captain to level a series in Australia and defeating Pakistanin no mean feat. His personal form though cost him his place in the side and ended the Ganguly era in Indian cricket history.
MAny would remeber that Sourav Ganguly made his international debut against Australiain India’s tour of Australia in 1992. He didn’t score high and was dropped from further matches. Four years later, following a good domestic record, he was recalled into the national side for a Test series againstEngland in England. He made his test debut at Lords, with a century and repeated the same in the following match. He was retained for the One day team and he went on to become a regular in both forms of the game. One of his most memorable performances was in the final of the Independence cup at Dhaka against Pakistan, when the entire Pakistan team walked back in stating bad light along with the umpires, but Ganguly refused to come in. Ganguly scored 124 in that match in darkness, while Hrishikesh Kanitkar scored the winning runs with a boundary. The marvelous 183 he scored againstSri Lanka in Taunton is still remembered by his ardent fans. Rahul dravid once said that on the offside there is god and then there is Saurav da, he is well known for his sweetly timed cover drives and crispy square cuts.
In 2000, after the match fixing scandal Ganguly was named the captain of the India team where he was trusted upon to rebuild the team and pull it out of the abyss. In 2003 under his captaincyIndiareached the World Cup Final, where they lost to the Australians. No one can forget the epic 144 he scored at Brisbane in the 2003-2004 tour down under which silenced his critics who questioned his ability to play the short ball.
Ganguly has scored over 11,000 runs in One Day Cricket and over 7,000 runs in Test cricket, including 16 centuries in Tests and 22 in ODIs. Sourav, along with Sachin Tendulkar, formed by far the most successful opening pair in One Day Cricket, having amassed the highest number of century partnerships (16) for the first wicket. Together, they have scored 5,308 runs at an average of 45.37.
Ganguly is a temperamental player and has often attracted lots of controversies. The shirt controversy at lords and ban for 6 matches by ICC match referee Clive Lloyd for slow over rates againstPakistanare the most major controversies he has faced. He can be considered the most hated personality among his opponents where captains like Steve Waugh and Shane Warne raised issues over his antics like keeping opposition captains waiting during the toss. With the appointment of new coach Greg Chappell his days in the Indian cricket team were numbered. Chappell sent an email to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which questioned Ganguly’s commitment to the team. Both Ganguly and Chappell were summoned to a BCCI board meeting in which they agreed to work together for the good of the team. Rahul Dravid was appointed captain for the series againstSri LankaandSouth Africaafter Ganguly was not selected for the opening games due to injury. When the two series got over, Rahul Dravid was asked to continue as skipper. He played in the first two Test matches in the three-Test series againstSri Lanka. However, on December 14, he was controversially dropped, for the third Test at Ahmedabad, to make way for Wasim Jaffer, an opening batsman for Mumbai. Jaffer was picked by the selectors as they wished to build up a player selection pool with sufficient experience to succeed at international level. Following the drop, fans blocked roads and railway tracks in Kolkata, burning effigies of chief selector Kiran More and Indian coach Chappell, and the urban development minister ofWest Bengal, Asoke Bhattacharya, said Ganguly was a victim of the internal politics of the BCCI.
The beginning of the end of his glorious career came when his last minute withdrawal from the Nagpur test in the year 2003-2004 Australia’s tour of India where board politics resulted in a green top favoring the visiting team. India lost the series 2-1 to the Aussies and Ganguly became the villain. Contrary to popular belief Ganguly made a comeback in the year 2006-2007 away series of South Africa where he ended up being the highest Indian run getter scoring four half centuries, playing gritty knocks, taking body blows and giving his sweat and blood for the country. His fairytale run continued with a successful tour of England and back to back hundreds against arch rivals Pakistan at home. After being omitted from the one day team for the CB series in 2008, Ganguly was never considered again for the shorter format of the game again. A poor series in Sri Lanka where Ajantha Mendis tore through the much vaunted Indian middle order, Ganguly contemplated retirement forms all forms of the game and announced the 2008 series of Australia’s tour of India as his last. He was given a fitting farewell by the team after which he dabbled in a career of commentary as well as associating himself with the IPL. Ganguly provides thought provoking insights and opinions about the game which is loved by both his fans as well his critics. He would love to remain associated with the game he loves the most and we as fans cannot ask for more.
Love you DADA 🙂
SCIT MBA -ITBM student