Sourav Ganguly: Passionate leader, breezy batsman

Sourav Ganguly ended his captaincy career with 21 victories and 13 losses from 49 Test matches. With 76 victories and 66 defeats from 147 ODIs, he finished as one of India’s most successful cricket captains.

In 1996, the Indian batting line-up had a very unsettled look to it. Sanjay Manjrekar was nearing the end of his career. The powers of Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mohammad Azharuddin were also on the decline. The auditions of the likes of Vikram Rathour and Ajay Jadeja were not paying dividends and the team was on the hunt for young batsmen who could be in for the long haul.

On India’s tour of England in 1996, India laid their hands on one such player. Sourav Ganguly first appearedĀ on the international circuit in January 1992 against West Indies but got his next chance four years later. With a few ODIs under his belt, Ganguly entered the iconic Lord’s in his first Test appearance.

The experiment was a success in its first go as Ganguly hit a sumptuous century in his debut Test. Another century followed in his second Test match and in no more than a year, Ganguly was a regular feature in the national side. Dada was promoted to open the batting with Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs and that proved to be a masterstroke.

After a controversial 2000, Ganguly took over the reins of the Indian team as captain. He soon showed what his leadership was capable of with a record-breaking, passion-arousing win against Australia in 2001 in Kolkata.

The team had not been in great shape in the lead-up to the 2003 ODI World Cup but the captain knew how to extract the best out of his players as India ended up as the runner-ups of the tournament, after a heart-breaking defeat to Australia in the final.

Another crest in Ganguly’s captaincy career came on India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004 as the team won the ODIs 3-2 and the Tests 2-1.

Ganguly is credited to inculcate the hunger for consistent wins in the modern Indian team. This was a team which was not just content to compete, but wanted nothing but a victory. Despite 21 victories and 13 losses from 49 Test matches and 76 victories and 66 defeats from 147 ODIs, differences with Greg Chappell marked the beginning of the end for Ganguly’s career.

After doing well as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal, the captain turned administrator currently holds the position of the President of the BCCI.

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