Sourav Ganguly, the swashbuckling former Indian cricket captain, prolific ODI opener and current BCCI president turns 48 on Wednesday. Ganguly remains one of the world’s biggest cricket icons the game has ever known.
Geoffrey Boycott once called him ‘The Prince of Calcutta‘. His parents nicknamed him ‘Maharaj’. Some labeled him the ‘Royal Bengal tiger’ for his temper, while some argued him to be the best Indian Cricket team captain ever. And most lovingly, he is known as ‘Dada’.
Making Steve Waugh wait for the toss or the shirtless celebration in the Lord’s balcony, everything the Prince of Kolkata has done is iconic and cherished to date.
Sourav Ganguly had a dream start to his career at the hallowed ground of Lord’s, where he scored a century on his Test debut and after that, he didn’t look back. Ganguly received the nickname God of offside’ due to his exemplary skill of playing shots on the off side.
With 11,363 runs and 22 ODI hundreds to his name, Ganguly goes down as one of India’s best opening batsmen that has ever been produced. Apart from his batting records, Ganguly is also hailed as one of the best captains of Indian Cricket team and is often credited for revolutionising the team in early 2000s. Under his leadership, India went on to beat Australia in Test series in 2001, beat England at Lord’s to win 2002 Natwest Trophy, reached 2003 ODI World Cup final, drew against England in Test series in 2004, and even defeated Pakistan in a Test series in 2005.
Ganguly had taken over the captaincy in troubled times for Indian cricket, right after the match-fixing fiasco, but went on to become the most successful caprtain from the country till he remained at the helm.
Sourav Ganguly changed the face of Indian cricket with his unparallel leadership, aggressive approach and unmatched batting skills.
During his tenure as captain from 2000 to 2005, India played with aggression ― home and away, be it any opposition.
The Indian players too started believing that winning overseas was not a big deal and that belief was instilled by the ‘Prince of Kolkata’.
Under his leadership, India went on to beat Australia in Test series in 2001, beat England at Lord’s to win 2002 Natwest Trophy, reached 2003 World Cup final, drew against England in Test series in 2004, and even defeated Pakistan in a Test series in 2005.
However, his own choice for the position of India’s coach ― Greg Chappell ― proved his nemesis. Soon after Chappell took up the job, he clashed with Sourav Ganguly and did not take long to oust him from both captaincy and team membership. When he finally made a comeback after a few years, he was a pale shadow of his smashing former self.
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Ganguly was the third-fastest player across the world to reach 10,000 ODI runs. He also holds the record for the highest individual score in CWC for India.
On 23 October 2019, when Ganguly formally took over as the 39th BCCI President without facing any opposition to his candidacy. Hailed all over the country as a players-man and the best possible person for the job, Ganguly has had an eventful eight months in his scheduled 10-month tenure.