Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly turned 45 on Saturday. The Bengal Tiger has countless achievements in his career and is always remembered for his flamboyant batting and fearless leadership. He has helped team India win many matches and attain new heights in international cricket. He always focused on building a formidable side which can perform in any condition.
Ganguly made a memorable Test debut after scoring a century at Lord’s in 1996, and registered 11 wins from 28 away Tests, which was a record by any Indian captain. He scored 7213 runs in 113 Tests and 11,363 runs in ODIs, after playing 311 matches.
Ganguly took over as captain from Mohammad Azharuddin in early 2000 and injected a much needed aggression in the team, which was missing earlier. He re-build the side with some fresh faces, including Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh, setting up a platform for the team to take charge.
Ganguly’s first major final was when he led India to the final of ICC Knockout Cup in 2000 in Kenya when India faced New Zealand and unfortunately lost after Chris Cairns’ brilliant match-winning knock. His captaincy continued to flourish when India became joint ICC Champions Trophy winners with Sri Lanka in 2002, marking his first ICC tournament win.
But, one of the famous wins under him came during the Natwest series in the final in 2002 when India made an unbelievable comeback against England. After struggling at 146-5, India chased down 326 and went on to produce an emphatic victory with the help of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif brilliance, after which ‘Dada’ celebrated by taking off his shirt at the Lord’s balcony.
In 2003, beating all the odds, Ganguly’s in-form battalion reached the final of the ICC World Cup, making it happen for the second time in India’s cricketing history after 1983. Up against unbeatable Australia, India couldn’t do much and lost the final but proved to the world that a new Indian team with new approach is in the making.
At last, his career ended in 2008 when he decided to retire from International cricket after the home series against Australia. He now currently leads Eden Garden in an administrative role — the president of Cricket Association of Bengal.