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Saurav Ganguly-The undisputed leader of Indian Cricket

9 July, 2020 05:12:59
Saurav Ganguly-The undisputed leader of Indian Cricket

It was the NatWest Series final 2002 when India was playing against England chasing a massive total of 326. Number 10 batsman Zaheer Khan was on strike while the man in form Mohammed Kaif was at the non-striker end. Andrew Flintoff bowled the third ball of the final over with India requiring 2 runs to win.

Khan managed to make contact with the ball and sprinted like a hare to collect the winning runs.In what was considered the highest successful run chase ever by any international team at Lord’s in ODI’s, the man who was leading the side was none other than Sourav Ganguly. The glare in his eyes looked more like a burning ember. 

Sourav Ganguly’s reaction to the Indian win became a cult moment in the history of world cricket. An ‘in-your-face captain’, waving the shirt forced the world to reckon the arrival of a completely new Indian team that could challenge any opponent and defy the odds to create history.

Ganguly’s heydays does contain certain periods where the southpaw had to miraculously beat the odds in order to prove his mettle – a notable moment being his omission from the Indian team right after his international debut. 

A poor start to his ODI career – getting out for just 3 runs in 1992 against West Indies could not serve his cause and the gritty left hander had to wait for four long years to get another opportunity at the highest level. This time, the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ not only returned as a stronger player but also a much more confident and matured competitor, who would go on to rewrite history. 

To sum up in his own words, Ganguly in his autobiography says, “My journey may not have been successful but then failure has always been the best teacher!”

In the year 2000, the Indian team was going through a rough phase due to match fixing allegations against former captain Mohammad Azharuddin. Sourav Ganguly was handed the captaincy; and the rest, as they say, is history. The southpaw led the Indian cricket team to many accolades on the global stage. He captained India in 49 Tests and 147 ODIs with a very high percentage of wins. 

It would definitely not be an overstatement to say that Ganguly single handedly inspired his colleagues to look the challenge in the eye – laying the foundation for a brand-new Team India in the process. 

The ‘God of off-side’ called it a day from all formats of the game in 2008, scoring a brave 85 in his final Test match against a formidable Australian set up.  

Just like he would effortlessly bisect a packed seven-man offside field in his heydays, leaving fans in awe and opponents clueless, Ganguly played his cards well off the field too. He emerged as the unanimous candidate for one of the top jobs in world cricket: BCCI presidency. Sourav Ganguly’s ascendency as the president of the richest cricket board in the world reaffirmed the saying ‘once a leader, always a leader’. Leadership came naturally to the man who was made captain of the national team when Indian cricket was going through its darkest hour in the wake of the match fixing scandal. 

This instinctive leadership quality was also seen when he was inducted in the Cricket Association of Bengal. His initiatives to structure the cricket leagues in Bengal, talking of the upcoming talents, mentoring them and bringing in an overall professionalism in running one of the oldest Cricket associations in India. The natural way forward was being at the helm of the BCCI, the apex cricket body in India. His on-field charisma and leadership gave dividends and he was once again unanimously given the responsibility to lead the richest cricket board in the world. His actions spoke more than words and no one can question about his winning spree even in the cricket administration of our country.

Today on his birthday, the whole of India, while wishing him is also looking forward to the day when he takes charge of leading world cricket body ICC and takes the game to its highest level.

Story Tag:
  • Sports, Cricket, Benga

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