Mumbai: Sourav Ganguly is and will always be considered to be one of the bravest Indian cricketers of all time, but when there is a gun pointed at your head, it is perfectly fine to shiver in your boots, and that’s exactly what happened with the former skipper.
Sourav Ganguly’s fondness for driving in England is well documented. But not many know that he preferred driving over travelling in the tube after what he described as “one of the most terrifying moments” of his life during his first tour to England in 1996.
The incident happened during Ganguly’s first tour to England where he announced himself on the international stage by scoring a century on debut and finishing the series with two centuries in three matches with an average of 105.
It all took place when the legendary Indian captain had some free time and decided to go meet some family in Pinner along with Navjot Singh Sidhu from Cavendish in Piccadilly.
Ian Botham’s Beefy’s Cricket Tales
In Ian Botham’s Beefy’s Cricket Tales, Ganguly spoke about how once during India’s tour of England, he thought he was going to die when he got into a confrontation with a bunch of drunk teenagers. In the chapter titled ‘Troubles in England,’ he talks about how since the incident, whenever he visits the country, he almost always travels around on his own and does not use the tube or buses.
“I will almost always drive myself around when I’m in England now, after one of the most terrifying moments of my life travelling on the London Underground,” he wrote.
“We got on the tube and set off towards Pinner. In our carriage, there was a group of young teenagers, two boys and three girls, and they were drinking. We were sitting opposite them and I could see that one of them was looking at us while he was drinking his beer.”
The cricketer says that he knew that one of the guys was trying to get a reaction out of them just to start a fight. Ganguly wanted nothing to do with the kids and even asked Sidhu to remain calm. He picked up the can and quietly put it aside, when one of the boys got in Ganguly’s face.
“I told him I didn’t say anything, but Sidhu jumped in and confronted him. I knew then that there was going to be some trouble. I took my glasses off and threw them to the floor away from us, and got ready for whatever was to come. There were some punches thrown and, just as we got to a station, I pushed the lad and he fell over. He got up and the next thing I saw was a gun in my face. I thought, ‘My gosh, this is it – my life is going to be over here on this train’,” he said.
It was at this point that one of the girls, who Ganguly described as “quite big” and “really quite strong” grabbed the guy with the gun and pulled him away.
“I was shaking and obviously very upset, but thankfully my tour and my life were able to continue.”
Nobody knows what could have happened that day if the girl wasn’t there, but as Ganguly went on to become one of the greatest Indian batsmen and captains of all time, an entire nation must indeed feel grateful that she was present at the time.