In the history books of Indian cricket, the name of Saurav Ganguly is registered as a fighter who lead India to glory in international cricket. When Ganguly was handed the task of captaining the Indian team towards the end of the 1990s, Indian cricket was in deep trouble. Many cricketers were suspended or banned after accusations of match-fixing and there was a great trust deficit between the fans and the teams.
However, Ganguly was determined to turn around things and he steered the team out of that dark period. The face of Indian cricket changed under his leadership and a team that was considered only tigers of home turf, learned how to win matches on foreign soil. Who can forget visuals of Ganguly waving his jersey from the Lord’s balcony after beating the English side?
Ganguly laid down the foundation of the golden years of Indian cricket and even after retirement he has been involved with the game as an administrator.
As we celebrate his 49th birthday today (July 8), we take a look back at his life journey and list some interesting facts about the Prince of Kolkata:
Considered as one of the greatest left-handed batsmen from India, Ganguly is fondly called the God of the off-side. However, he was not a left-handed batter initially. Ganguly’s elder brother Snehashish who was also a Ranji cricketer for Bengal used to be a lefty batsman and Ganguly adapted to his batting style so that he could use his brother’s cricket kit.
Interestingly, Ganguly made Ranji debut in the final of the tournament in 1990 and he replaced his own elder brother in the squad.
Ganguly was picked in the Indian squad for the Australian tour of 1992, but he did not get a chance to represent India. After the tour, he was dropped from the side and to wait over 4 years before getting the chance to don the Indian jersey on the field.
In his debut test against England in 1996, Ganguly slammed a century and got himself in the club of debutants who scored a ton in their debut match.
India has never lost a test match where Ganguly has scored a ton. Out of his 16 test century matches, India has won 4 and drawn 12 matches.
Ganguly faced the first ball to be ever bowled in IPL. In the inaugural match of IPL in 2008, he opened the batting with Brendon McCullam for Kolkata Knight Riders.
Ganguly’s fandom is such that there is a road named after him Rajarhat, West Bengal. The road named “Sourav Ganguly Avenue" was inaugurated by Ganguly himself.