‘The Prince of Kolkata’, Sourav Ganguly turns 46 today. Dada, as he is fondly known is undoubtedly one of Greatest Cricket Captain India has had. He ushered a new era of aggression and in-your-face attitude among the team which totally lacked in the more gentleman Indians.
Dada’s Captaincy :
Indian Cricket team was earlier called ‘Lions’ at home and ‘Lambs’ abroad. Dada’s contribution was immense in garnering respect for India from the foreigners. It was his leadership that instilled confidence in the team that they could win abroad. He was the man who taught India not only how to win overseas but also celebrate with a swag.
How can one forget, Dada taking off his shirt and waving it off from the Lord’s balcony where India won the Natwest Trophy final in a stunning chase of 326. How can one forget the Adelaide Test victory against Australia in 2003 which came after 23 years. However, Dada’s biggest achievement as a captain would be the 2003 World Cup. India won against every team, only couldn’t crack Australia.
Dada’s contribution as a captain is tremendous. He took over the reigns of the Indian team when match fixing scandal had rocked Indian Cricket. He took his core group of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble along with the youngsters Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and formed a formidable team.
Dada’s Batting :
Dada’s captaincy has always overshadowed his batting. But he was truly a phenomenal batsman. He isn’t called as ‘The God of Offside’ for no reason. He used to dance down the tracks to spinners and hit them over to gigantic sixes. Dada has 190 sixes in ODIs.
He made his test debut at the Mecca of Cricket- Lords in 1996 along with another Indian legend Rahul Dravid and scored brilliant 131. Ganguly has played 113 Test matches and scored 7212 runs at an average of 42.17 including 16 centuries.
His ODI record is stunning to say the least. He is the only ODI player to have won 4 consecutive Man of the Match awards. He was the highest run scorer in 1997, 1999 and 2000. He was the fastest to reach 9000 ODI runs. In his 311 ODIs, he has scored 11363 runs with 22 centuries and 72 half centuries at an average of 41.02. To mark his ODI brilliance, his batting average never went below 40.
Along with Sachin Tendulkar, he has amassed 6 Double Century partnerships. He has won 30 Man of the Match awards. He is among the few cricketers to have scored 10,000 runs, taken 100 wickets along with 100 catches.
Dada – The Fighter :
Ganguly was axed from the Indian Cricket team in 2005 under coach Greg Chappel. He made a stunning come back in 2007, becoming the leading run scorer in the calendar year with 2346 runs. Finally he hung his boots in 2008. MS Dhoni showing respect to his hero, gave him an opportunity to lead India for one last time when one wicket was left for a win against Australia.
Dada’s agression and attitude hasn’t retired with him. It stays. It remains ingrained in the minds of the Indian team. Virat Kohli, especially, has the same aggression and in-your-face attitude that Dada possessed. His legacy continues.