Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Sourav Ganguly is born - leader who taught India to win
July 8, 1972 - Ganguly's captaincy record is much better than his predecessors with 21 victories and 13 losses from 49 Test matches. In ODIs as well, he won more than he lost with 76 victories and 66 defeats from 147 matches.
In 1996, the Indian batting line-up was in shambles. Sanjay Manjrekar was in the last leg of his career. The powers of Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mohammad Azharuddin were waning. The auditions of the likes of Vikram Rathour and Ajay Jadeja were also not bearing fruit and the team was looking for young batsmen who could be in for the long haul.
On India's tour of England in 1996, the team found one such player. Sourav Ganguly had made his international debut in January 1992 against West Indies but had to wait four years for his next chance. With a few ODIs under his belt, Ganguly walked down the stairs of Lord's in his first Test appearance.
The experiment was a success in its first go as Ganguly struck a century in his debut Test. Another century followed in his second Test match and within a year, Ganguly was a regular feature in the Indian team. He was promoted to open the batting with Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs and that proved to be a massive success as well.
After the match-fixing controversy in 2000, Ganguly took over the reins of the Indian team. He soon showed what his leadership was capable of with a once in a century, come from behind victory against Australia in 2001 in Kolkata.
The team had not been in the best of forms 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 were successful in finishing as the runner-ups of the tournament.
Another high point in Ganguly's captaincy career arrived 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 instill the hunger for victory in the new-age Indian team. This was not a side which was not just content to compete, but strived for nothing but a victory. His captaincy record is much better than his predecessors with 21 victories and 13 losses from 49 Test matches. In ODIs as well, he won more than he lost with 76 victories and 66 defeats from 147 matches.
After differences with Greg Chappell and waning form, many thought that Ganguly's international career was over but he made a sensational return to form on the tour of South Africa in 2006-2007. He became India's highest run-getter on the tour with 214 runs from three matches at an average of 42.80, the second highest in the series.
While Ganguly's highest score in ODI cricket came towards the beginning of his career in the form of 183 against Sri Lanka at Taunton in the the 1999 World Cup, his best performance in Test cricket came in the last leg of his career - 239 against Pakistan at Bengaluru in 2007.
Ganguly was mulling retirement when he was included in the squad for a home Test series against Australia in 2008. Before the first Test itself, he announced that the series would be his last. Although the left-hander put in decent performances in the series, he did not back track from his decision and played his last international match in November 2008.
Ganguly led the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in the IPL, but with little success. He also dabbled in commentary with the 2019 World Cup being his latest stint. He then made a seamless transition into administration and after serving as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal, he has now been appointed as the President of the BCCI.
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