Sourav Ganguly - A Captain That Changed Indian Cricket

Photo D-5637L | Sourav Ganguly of India in an action during … | Flickr

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Sourav Ganguly, although was right-handed, learned to bat left-handed so that he could use his elder brother's sporting equipment. 
During the peak time of his career, that is 2000-2005, he was given the name - God of the off-side; because watching him play off-side shots with complete command was a treat to the eyes of the fans.

Ganguly was a right-arm medium-pace bowler. He could swing and seam the ball both directions that were often useful to break strong partnerships. Ganguly has taken 100 catches in ODIs which is quite impressive keeping in mind that he was not a very good fielder, especially his slowness in judging the ball to block runs and his tendency to get injured while catching the ball.

However, earlier in his career, he was not very comfortable with the hook and pull shots, often giving his wicket away. He also had difficulty in handling short bouncers which was exploited by the Australians and the South Africans. However, after his comeback in 2007, he already had improved upon these weaknesses to a great extent.

Journey as a Captain -

Due to the match-fixing scandals in 2000 and the resignation of Sachin Tendulkar due to his poor health, Ganguly was made the captain of the Indian cricket team. He was an aggressive captain who is applauded and worshipped by Indian fans because the cricket world magically changed under his leadership.

India started to win matches and tournaments which previously were lacking from the team for a long time. Unlike some of the earlier captains, Ganguly was considered an impartial captain who forever pushed his players to perform better.

A glimpse of how successful Ganguly was as a captain could be seen when the team’s ICC rankings under his tenure went up to second position. Before him, the team was ranked eighth.

Controversies and Comeback -

The beginning of his temporary end came in 2004 at Nagpur, where his last-minute withdrawal led to Australia winning the series. To add misery to his career, his personal form also deteriorated around the same time.

The breaking point was reached when his differences with Greg Chappell leaked into public domain putting his career into deep jeopardy.

Ganguly’s unforgettable and joyous celebration at Lord’s attracted controversies for him for many years. Although, several cricketers said that the celebration showed his fearless attitude with which he led the team.

Off the field, his interactions with the media and his fans were honest and earned him the respect of cricket followers from everywhere. However, along with this respect came the criticisms. Ganguly was condemned as a hot-tempered man who refused to listen to others’ opinions and abided by his own rules and regulations.

But, these controversies seemed to have vanished away because Ganguly has transformed the Indian team into an aggressive fighting unit and has nurtured the careers of many young talented players who played under him.

Stairs for the New Comers -

Ganguly's greatest legacy lays in his influence over the younger and budding generation of cricketers. Ganguly believed that every young player should have played at least two years of domestic cricket before he gets selected for international games.

He also stated that each newcomer should be given at least five games to prove himself. This all comes after he faced unfair decisions against him that endangered his international cricket career. It made him understand the insecurities of other talented newcomers faced in the team. 

It was Sourav Ganguly who supported players who he believed to be talented like Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and many more become world-class cricketers.

Achievements -

He is one of the only five cricketers to have attained 10,000 runs, 100 wickets & 100 catches in the ODI cricket. What is exemplary is that his Test batting average never went below 40.

He still holds the highest individual score by an Indian batsman (183) in the Cricket World Cup. Out of 49 Test matches that he led, India lost only 13 making him a very extraordinary captain.

You can sense how much people love Ganguly when there were protest rallies throughout the country with a signature such as ‘No Dada No KKR’ after the latter removed Ganguly in its 2011 session.

People will support you, people will criticize you. When you cross that rope, everything is about you. - Sourav Ganguly.

Written by - Ritika Singh

Edited by - Bushra Makhdoomi

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