Sourav Ganguly – “Down the memory lane”
The story of Sourav Ganguly, the skipper of the Indian cricket team, is one full of the myriad shades of life itself; in fact it has all the ingredients of a well-made potboiler. He is the quintessential hero.
Blessed with tremendous intelligence, he channelised it into everything: is it teaching a lesson to all those who dared to complain against him to his mother or pick up the finer points of every sport that he ever dabbled in. Prodigiously talented, it is his dedication to the game coupled with a never-say-die spirit that has earned him an enviable position in the world of cricket.
Sourav also possesses indomitable will, for he braved all opposition to win the woman of his dreams. A born leader – his boys swear by his ability to develop strategies and lead by example-a good son and a loyal friend.
Here’s Sourav Ganguly in all his avatars.
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly was born 8 July 1972 is a former Indian cricketer, and captain of the Indian national team. Born into an affluent family, Ganguly was introduced into the world of cricket by his elder brother Snehasish. He is regarded as one of India’s most successful captains in modern times. He started his career by playing in state and school teams. Currently, he is the 5th highest run scorer in One Day Internationals (ODIs) and was the 5th person in history to cross the 10,000 run landmark. He is only the 2nd Indian to cross that mark in ODIs, after Sachin Tendulkar.Wisden ranked him the sixth greatest one day international batsman of all time, next to Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Dean Jones and Michael Bevan. After a series of playing in different Indian domestic tournaments such as the Ranji and Duleep trophies, Ganguly got his big-break while playing for India on their tour of England. He scored 131 runs and cemented his place in the Indian team. Ganguly’s place in the team was assured after successful performances in series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia, winning the Man of the Match awards. In the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he was involved in a partnership of 318 runs with Rahul Dravid, which remains the highest overall partnership score in the World Cup tournament history.
Due to the match-fixing scandals in 2000 by other players of the team, and for his poor health, Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar resigned his position, and Ganguly was made the captain of the Indian cricket team. He was soon the subject of media criticism after an unsuccessful stint for county side Durham and for taking off his shirt in the final of the 2002 Natwest Trophy. He led India into the 2003 World Cup final, where they were defeated by Australia. Due to a decrease in individual performance, he was dropped from the team in the following year. Ganguly was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004, one of India’s highest civilian awards. He returned to the National team in 2006, and made successful batting displays. Around this time, he became involved in a dispute with Indian team coach Greg Chappell over several misunderstandings. Ganguly was again dropped from the team, however he was selected to play in the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
Ganguly joined the Kolkata Knight Riders team as captain for the Indian Premier League Twenty20cricket tournament in 2008. The same year, after a home Test series against Australia, he announced his retirement international from cricket. He continued to play for the Bengal team and was appointed the chairman of the Cricket Association of Bengal’s Cricket Development Committee. The left-handed Ganguly was a prolific One Day International (ODI) batsman, with over 11,000 ODI runs to his credit. He is one of the most successful Indian Test captains to date, winning 21 out of 49 test matches. An aggressive captain, Ganguly is credited with having nurtured the careers of many young players who played under him, and transforming the Indian team into an aggressive fighting unit.
1972–89: Early life and introduction to cricket
Sourav Ganguly was born on 8 July 1972 in Calcutta, and is the youngest son of Chandidas and Nirupa Ganguly. Chandidas ran a flourishing print business and was one of the richest men in the city. Ganguly had a luxurious childhood and was nicknamed the ‘Maharaja’, meaning the ‘Great King’. Since the favourite sport for the people of Calcutta was the game of football, Ganguly was initially attracted to the game. However, academics came in-between his love for sports and Nirupa was not very supportive of Ganguly taking up cricket or any other sport as a career. By then, his elder brother Snehasish was already an established cricketer for the Bengal cricket team. He supported Ganguly’s dream to be a cricketer and asked their father to get Ganguly enrolled in a cricket coaching camp during his summer holidays. Ganguly was studying in tenth grade at that time. Despite being right-handed, Ganguly learnt to bat left-handed so he could use his brother’s sporting equipment. After he showed some promise as a batsman, he was enrolled in a cricket academy. An indoor multi-gym and concrete wicket was built at their home, so he and Snehasish could practice the game. They used to watch a number of old cricket match videos, especially the games played by David Gower, whom Ganguly admired. After he scored a century against the Orissa Under–15 side, he was made captain of St Xavier’s School’s cricket team, where several of his teammates complained against what they perceived to be his arrogance. While touring with a junior team, Ganguly refused his turn as the twelfth man, as he reportedly felt that the duties involved, which included organizing equipment and drinks for the players, and delivering messages, were beneath his social status. Ganguly purportedly refused to do such tasks as he considered it beneath his social status to assist his teammates in such a way. However, his playmanship gave him a chance to make his first-class cricket debut for Bengal in 1989, the same year that his brother was dropped from the team.
1990–96: Career beginning and debut success
Following a prolific Ranji season in 1990–91, Ganguly scored three runs in his One Day International (ODI) debut for India against the West Indies in 1992. He was dropped immediately since he was perceived to be “arrogant” and his attitude towards the game was openly questioned. It was rumored that Ganguly refused to carry drinks for his teammates, commenting that it was not his job to do so, later denied by him. Consequently, he was removed from the team. He toiled away in domestic cricket, scoring heavily in the 1993–94 and 1994–95 Ranji seasons. Following an innings of 171 in the 1995–96 Duleep Trophy, he was recalled to the National team for a tour of England in 1996, in the middle of intense media scrutiny. He played in a single ODI, but was omitted from the team for the first Test. However, after teammate Navjot Singh Sidhu left the touring, citing ill-treatment by then captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Ganguly made his Test debut against England in the Second Test of a three-match series at Lord’s Cricket Ground alongside Rahul Dravid.England had won the First Test of the three-match series; however, Ganguly scored a century, becoming only the third cricketer to achieve such a feat on debut at Lord’s, after Harry Graham and John Hampshire. Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior have since accomplished this feat, but Ganguly’s 131 still remains the highest by any batsman on his debut at the ground. India was not required to bat in the second innings due to the match ending in a draw. In the next Test match at Trent he made 136, thus becoming only the third batsman to make a century in each of his first two innings (after Lawrence Rowe and Alvin Kallicharran). He shared a 255 run stand with Sachin Tendulkar, which became at that time the highest partnership for India against any country for any wicket outside India. The Test again ended in a draw, handing England a 1–0 series victory; Ganguly scored 48 in the second innings.
1997–99: Marriage, Opening in ODIs and World Cup ’99
Weeks after his successful tour of England, Ganguly eloped with childhood sweetheart Dona Roy. The bride and groom’s family were sworn enemies at that point and this news caused uproar between them. However, both families reconciled and a formal wedding was held in February 1997. Same year, Ganguly scored his maiden ODI century by hitting 113, opposed to Sri Lanka’s team total of 238. Later that year, he won four consecutive man of the match awards, in the Sahara Cup with Pakistan; the second of these was won after he took five wickets for 16 runs off 10overs, his best bowling in an ODI. After a barren run in Test cricket his form returned at the end of the year with three centuries in four Tests all against Sri Lanka two of these involved stands with Sachin Tendulkar of over 250.
During the final of the Independence Cup at Dhaka in January 1998, India successfully chased down 315 off 48 overs, and Ganguly won the Man of the Match award. In March 1998 he was part of the Indian team that defeated Australia; in Kolkata, he took three wickets having opened the bowling with his medium pace.
Ganguly was part of the Indian team that competed in the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England. During the match against Sri Lanka at Taunton, India chose to bat. After Sadagoppan Ramesh was bowled, Ganguly scored 183 from 158 balls, and hit 17 fours and seven sixes. It became the second highest score in World Cup history and the highest by an Indian in the tournament. His partnership of 318 with Rahul Dravid is the highest overall score in a World Cup and is the second highest in all ODI cricket. In 1999–00, India lost Test series to both Australia and South Africa that involved a combined total of five Tests. Ganguly struggled scoring 224 runs at 22.40; however his ODI form was impressive, with five centuries over the season taking him to the top of the Ratings for batsmen.
2000–05: Ascension to captaincy and accolades
In 2000, after the match fixing scandal by some of the players of the team, Ganguly was named the Captain of the Indian cricket team. The decision was spurred due to Tendulkar stepping down from the position for his health, and Ganguly being the vice-captain at that time. He began well as a captain, leading India to a series win over South Africa in the five-match one day series and led the Indian team to the finals of the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy. He scored two centuries, including one in the final; however, New Zealand still won by four wickets. The same year, Ganguly tried his hand at County cricket career in England but was not a successful. In “The Wisden Cricketer”, reviewers Steve Pittard and John Stern called him as “The imperious Indian—dubbed ‘Lord Snooty’”. They commented:
“At the crease it was sometimes uncertain whether his partner was a batsman or a batman being dispatched to take his discarded sweater to the pavilion or carry his kit bag. But mutiny was afoot among the lower orders. In one match Ganguly, after reaching his fifty, raised his bat to the home balcony, only to find it deserted. He did not inspire at Glamorgan or Northamptonshire either. At the latter in 2006 he averaged 4.80 from his four first-class appearances.” His Lancashire teammate Andrew Flintoff thought him to be aloof and compared his attitude to that of Prince. In Australia’s three Test and five match ODI tour of India in early 2001, Ganguly caused controversy by arriving late for the toss on four occasions, something that agitated opposing captain Steve Waugh. In the Fourth ODI, he caused further controversy by failing to wear his playing attire to the toss, something considered unusual in cricket circles. However, India won the Test series 2–1, ending Australia’s run of 16 consecutive Test match victories in the Second Test. The match saw India looking set for defeat after conceding a first innings lead of 274. Waugh chose to enforce the follow-on and V. V. S. Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) batted for the entire fourth day’s play to set Australia a target of 384 on a dusty, spinning wicket. The Australians were unable to survive and became only the third team to lose a Test after enforcing the follow-on. In November 2001, Ganguly’s wife Dona gave birth to their daughter Sana Ganguly. At the Border-Gavaskar Trophy of 2001, During the final match of the 2002 Natwest Trophy held in Lords after a stunning performance by team mates Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif, Ganguly took off his shirt in public and brandished it in the air to celebrate India’s winning of the match. He was later strongly condemned for tarnishing the “gentleman’s game” image of cricket and disrespecting Lords protocol. Ganguly said that he was only mimicking an act performed by the British all-rounder Andrew Flintoff during a tour of India. In 2003, India reached the World Cup Final for the first time since 1983, where they lost to the Australians. Ganguly had a successful tournament personally, scoring 465 runs at an average of 58.12, including three centuries. By 2004, he had achieved significant success as captain and was deemed as India’s most successful cricket captain by sections of the media. However, his individual performance deteriorated during his captaincy reign, especially after the World Cup, the tour of Australia in 2003 and the Pakistan series in 2004. In 2004, Australia won a Test series in India for the first time since 1969. It was speculated that Ganguly was in disagreement with the head of cricket in Nagpur over the type of pitch to be used for the Third Test. The groundsmen went against Ganguly, leaving a large amount of grass on the pitch. Some experts indicated that the reason for this was for “spite or revenge” against the Indian captain. When Australia’s stand-in-captain, Adam Gilchrist, went to the toss, he noticed Rahul Dravid was waiting instead of Ganguly, leaving him to ask Dravid where Ganguly was. Dravid could not give a definitive answer, saying: “Oh, who knows?” Following indifferent form in 2004 and poor form in 2005, he was dropped from the team in October 2005. Having been nominated and rejected in 2000, when the game suffered a tarnished reputation due to match fixing scandals, the captaincy was passed to Dravid, his former deputy. Ganguly decided against retiring and attempted to make a comeback to the team. Ganguly was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004, one of India’s highest awards. He was presented with the award on June 30, 2004, by then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
2006–07: Comeback and rift with Greg Chappell
In September 2005, Greg Chappell became the coach for the India tour of Zimbabwe. Ganguly’s dispute with him resulted in many headlines. Chappell had emailed the Board, stating that Ganguly was “physically and mentally” unfit to lead India and that his “divide and rule” behaviour was damaging the team. This email was leaked to the media and resulted in huge backlash from Ganguly’s fans. Ganguly had enlisted the support from the Indian media and eventually the board had to intervene and order a truce between the pair. BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra issued a statement that,
“In view of the decision that cricket is to go forward, both the coach and the captain have been asked to work out a mutual and professional working relationship. For this, performance will be the criteria, applicable to captain, coach and players. Of course the captain controls the game, the coach does his own job. Mutual trust is important. Henceforth no player/captain/coach will write or have any interaction with the media. Going to the media will lead to disciplinary action.”
Ganguly, Chappell and the Indian team manager for the Zimbabwe tour, Amitabh Choudhary, were asked to appear before the BCCI committee, where it was reported that assurance of working together was given by them. Consequently, due to his poor form and differences with the coach, Ganguly was dropped as the captain of the team, with Dravid taking his place. Chandresh Narayan, chief correspondent for The Times of India, commented that “The row with Greg Chappell just added to the mystery, but he was going through a really bad patch then, his only score [of note] was a hundred against Zimbabwe and that didn’t count for much.” Ten months later, during India’s tour to South Africa, Ganguly was recalled after his middle order replacements Suresh Raina and Mohammad Kaif suffered poor form.
Following India’s poor batting display in the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy and the ODI series in South Africa, in which they were whitewashed 4-0, Ganguly made his comeback to the Test team. Wasim Jaffer, Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble had earlier been selected for the one-day squad, despite their recent poor performances. Many saw this as an indictment of Coach Greg Chappell’s youth-first policy. Coming in at 37/4, Ganguly scored 83 in a tour match against the rest of South Africa, modifying his original batting style and taking a middle-stump guard, resulting in India winning the match. During his first Test innings since his comeback, against South Africa in Johannesburg his score of 51 helped India to victory, marking the first Test match win for the team in South Africa. Though India lost the series, Ganguly accumulated the most runs on the scoring chart. After his successful Test comeback he was recalled for the ODI team, as India played host to West Indies and Sri Lanka in back to back ODI tournaments. In his first ODI innings in almost two years, he scored a match winning 98. He performed well in both series, averaging almost 70 and won the Man of the Series Award against Sri Lanka. Ganguly was allotted a place in the official team for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. He was the leading scorer for India in their first round defeat against Bangladesh. After India was knocked out of the tournament in the group stage, there were reports of a rift between certain members of the Indian team and Chappell. Ganguly was alleged to have ignored instructions from the team management to score quickly. After Tendulkar issued a statement saying that what hurt the team most was that “the coach has questioned our attitude”, Chappell decided not to renew his contract with the Indian team and left his post as coach, citing “family and personal reasons”. On 12 December 2007, Ganguly scored his maiden double century of his career while playing against Pakistan. He scored 239 runs in the first innings of the third and final Test match of the series. He was involved in a 300 run partnership for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh. Ganguly remained prolific in both Test and ODI cricket in the year 2007. He scored 1106 Test runs at an average of 61.44 (with three centuries and four fifties) in 2007 to become the second highest run-scorer in Test matches of that year after Jacques Kallis. He was also the fifth highest run-scorer in 2007 in ODIs, where he scored 1240 runs at an average of 44.28.
2008–present: International retirement and the Indian Premier League
In February 2008, Ganguly joined as the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team, owned by Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, as part of the Indian Premier League(IPL). On 18 April 2008, Ganguly led the KKR, in the IPLTwenty20 cricket match. They had a 140 run victory over Bangalore Royal Challengers captained by Rahul Dravid and owned by Vijay Mallya. Ganguly opened the innings with Brendan McCullum and scored 10 runs while McCullum remained unbeaten, scoring 158 runs in 73 balls. On 1 May, in a game between the Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals, Ganguly made his second T20 half century, scoring 51 runs off of 39 balls at a strike rate of 130.76. In his innings, Ganguly hit four 4s and two sixes, topping the scorers list for the Knight Riders.
On 7 July 2008, media reported that Ganguly was being projected as a candidate for the post of President of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) against his former mentor Jagmohan Dalmiya. Reports also suggested that he could run for the post of BCCI President in 2014 as East Zone’s representative. Ganguly himself did not deny the reports and did not rule out any such move. The same year in October, Ganguly announced that the Test series against Australia starting in October 2008 would be his last and stated “to be honest, I didn’t expect to be picked for this series. Before coming here, [at the conference] I spoke to my team-mates and hopefully I will go out with a winning knock.” Ganguly played in every game of the four-Test series and amassed 324 runs at an average of 54.00. While playing the second Test match of the series in Mohali, Ganguly scored his final test century. In the Fourth and final Test, with India needing one wicket to secure a victory, the Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, invited Ganguly to lead the side in the field for the final time. India regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, winning the series 2–0.
In May 2009, Ganguly was removed from the captaincy of the KKR for the 2009 season of the IPL, and was replaced by McCullum. The decision was questioned by media and other players of the team, when KKR finished at the bottom of the ranking table with three wins and ten losses. After that, television channel Zee Bangla appointed him as the host of the reality quiz show titled Dadagiri. It presented participants from the 19 districts of West Bengal, who had to answer questions posed by Ganguly. By August, he was appointed the chairman of CAB’s Cricket Development Committee. The job of the committee is to receive a report from the selectors at the end of every cricket season, assess the accountability of the selectors and make necessary recommendations. He played for the Ranji cup in the Bengal team in October 2009. Ganguly scored 110 in the match against Delhi and was involved in a partnership of 222 runs with Wriddhiman Saha.
In the third season of the IPL, Ganguly was once again given the captaincy of KKR, after the team ended at the bottom in the second season. The coach John Buchanan was replaced by Dav Whatmore. In 40 matches and 38 innings for KKR Ganguly scored 1,031 runs and took eight wickets. In the fourth season of the IPL he was signed by the Pune Warriors India, after being unsold in initial bidding process and he made 50 runs of four matches and three innings.
Recently he started his new reality show “Ke hobe kotipoti” in mauhua bangla, which is rocking at its peak!!!!
He is a person who has experienced the champagne air at the tip of Mount Everest and smelled the barren soil as well. The most tempting part of a legend’s life is to determine the exit. Few succeed in doing that, Sourav Ganguly have always the gift the timing and his exit was an endorsement of his magical sense. HE hung his boots of his own terms when he was still at his peak.Yes,Sourav has entertained all of us as a cricketer but his die heart fans take pride in calling him “ THE WARRIOR PRINCE “.
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