“On the offside, first there is God, then Sourav Ganguly”. This statement by Rahul Dravid is a testament to his offside batting prowess that he used to exhibit during his cricketing days.
When you ask people about Sourav Ganguly, the first thing that by default pops up their mind is the famous shirt waving incident at Lord’s balcony in the finals of 2002 Natwest Trophy. That incident changed the course of Indian cricket for the years to come.
Sourav Ganguly has been the unshakable pillar of Indian cricket whose contributions are the reason Indian team made it big at the international arena.
He has been one of the greatest match winners for the Indian team with a century in his debut match at Lord’s, the Mecca of cricket and with more than 18,000 runs under his belt during his tenure as a mascot for Indian cricket.
Aggression, Passion and Dedication- Those would be the 3 words that best describe Sourav Ganguly. On his 46th birthday, let’s have a look at some of his facts that changed the course of Indian cricket.
4 facts about Sourav Ganguly that you probably didn’t know!
The God of offside was a team man who fought for his player’s inclusion in the team at any expense. The reason that he is so famous among the Indian players and audience is owing to his nature of backing the player when in need.
Being an exceptional leader and overly talented player of the game, Ganguly knew how to bring out the best from his teammates. He was aware of his player’s strength and weaknesses and gave them ample opportunities to experiment with their potence.
There have been instances when his backing of certain players didn’t go very well with the selectors, but, the players found those constant supports as an opportunity to give their best, which they did justice to on numerous occasions.
Formed a rock-solid team following the match-fixing scandals
The year 2000 was perhaps very dark for the Indian cricket, as senior players namely former captain Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja were caught up in the match-fixing scandals.
There was a tremendous discontent in the Indian dressing room as well as in the Indian audience. That’s when Ganguly donned the mantle of the Indian captain and steered India to unimaginable success in his stint of captaincy.
Scintillating performances in England, Australia along with the unforgettable 2002 Natwest trophy gave him the tag of the overseas champion of Indian cricket.
Mentored many legends
It was under his captaincy only that India received their most successful Indian cricketer, MS Dhoni who went on to become the only captain in cricketing history with 3 ICC trophies till date.
Ganguly was the person who made sure Kumble’s career didn’t come to a halt during their 2003-04 tour to Australia when selectors showed no interest of taking Kumble in the team. He also made sure that players like Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan got the needed exposure and opportunities to experiment with their style of cricket.
And not to forget, he gave up his opening slot for Virender Sehwag, who later went on to become one of the most destructive batsmen in the test arena. As Ganguly has said it many a time during interviews- Sehwag wouldn’t have been half of what he is, if he hadn’t done the opening for the Indian team.
Ganguly always believed in playing the aggressive style of cricket which put the opposition unit on the back foot. His style of cricket was what made the difference for the Indian team. He knew the art of bringing out the best even under worst situations.
Dada is often regarded as the person who changed the mindset of Indian players and also how cricket is to be played especially under foreign conditions. His records against the world champion Australia, England, Pakistan speak of his success even in the most unimaginable situations.
Indian cricket will always remain indebted to Sourav Ganguly. Happy 46th Dada!