If you grew up in an Indian household and suddenly a conversation of Bengal comes up in the family, there is a 100 percent chance that the conversation would probably be about Bengali cuisine, a certain Bengali poet with a beard or about an Indian cricketer who disliked running and enjoyed eating as much as the person next door, but could also go shirtless and wave his Indian jersey while defeating a mighty English side, unlike the person next door.
Sourav Ganguly has always been a mysterious figure. His personality was such that he could attract many people who don’t even follow the sport in watching the game he was a part of.
Tracing his path from a charming debutant at Lord’s to an Indian captain and, finally, the BCCI president has been an emotional roller coaster for us.
Surprisingly, Dada was never a sanitised presence, but was always a household idol. He defined a brand of cricket based on hurling aggression back and never cowering away, carrying the hopes, aspirations, and drive of countless Indians who wanted to see the usual big shots fearing an Indian team.
And there he was, waving jerseys, keeping captains waiting, slogging it around the park, with so much to prove and so many obstacles to overcome. As the Maharaja celebrates his 50th birthday, we look back at some of the most memorable moments from his sporting career.
Ganguly was known for his distinct leadership style during his time on the field. In the summer of 1996, he made his Test debut against England, earning the nickname “Dada.” He quickly made headlines after scoring a century in his first Test at Lord’s. In his second Test, Ganguly scored a century. As a result, he became the third batsman in history to score a century in each of his first two innings.
The ‘Prince of Kolkata’ then made his mark in the One-Day International format, winning four consecutive Man of the Match awards against Pakistan in 1997. Ganguly scored 183 runs against Sri Lanka in the 1999 World Cup and shared a 318-run partnership with Rahul Dravid.
The Team India camp was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in 2000. Ganguly was then named captain of the team, where he began grooming new talent.
Ganguly led India to the finals of the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy for the first time. Another Team India milestone came in 2001, when the Ganguly-led side defeated Australia 2-1 in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The Australian team, led by Steve Waugh, asked India to follow on in the series, but VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid staged one of the greatest comebacks in Indian cricket history.
Ganguly’s most memorable moment was undoubtedly when he removed his jersey on the Lord’s balcony, when India famously beat England from the jaws of defeat in the Natwest World Cup finals in 2002.
Ganguly, 48, also led India to the World Cup finals in 2003, where they narrowly lost to Australia in the championship game.
In 2004, he also led an ODI and Test series in Pakistan. The Test series victory was India’s first on Pakistani soil.
Ganguly also had a famous spat with then-coach Greg Chappell in 2005-6, after the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ was left out of the Team India squad. Ganguly, on the other hand, worked his way back into the team and recorded a fifty-plus score in Johannesburg.
He last played a Test against Australia in Nagpur in 2008. He played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) until 2012, when he retired from domestic cricket.
Dada played 113 Tests and 311 One-Day Internationals for India. In his international career, the left-handed batsman scored 18,575 runs across all formats.
Ganguly was a driving force behind the concept of day-night Test cricket in India. His efforts were rewarded in 2019 when India played its first-ever day-night Test match against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens.
He led India in 195 matches across all formats, winning 97 of them. The former captain later became President of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and is now President of the BCCI.
From dominating in the field to making game changing decisions for the board, our very own DADA has done it all.