As BCCI President and one of India’s finest captains Sourav Ganguly celebrates his 49th birthday today, former India wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta heaped praise on the Prince of Kolkata and recalled an incident which showcased his temperament and mental toughness as the skipper of the Indian cricket team. Ganguly is widely recognized as one of the greatest captains to lead India and is credited for instilling a sense of belief and confidence in the team and also for dramatically improving the country’s overseas record.
Dasgupta narrated an incident as India geared up to take on a stiff Zimbabwe team in a Test match in Delhi in 2002. Ganguly, the Indian skipper was a touch worried about his form and performance and told Dasgupta that it could be his last game if he failed to deliver with the bat.
However, as things panned out, Ganguly turned up the next day and went on to register a magnificent hundred under pressure.
“I haven’t seen anyone as mentally strong as Dada (Sourav Ganguly). On the eve of a Test match against Zimbabwe in Delhi, he told me ‘This could be my last match’. I was surprised and couldn’t believe what he was saying. I mean, he was the captain. How could he get dropped? But he was quite convinced that if he doesn’t score, it could be his last game. And guess what happened?" exclaimed Dasgupta.
“Zimbabwe used to be a good side then with all the stalwarts in Flower brothers and Heath Streak. The next day, he goes out there and gets a hundred. Later in the evening, I asked him if he was happy. He said, ‘I’m more than happy," added Dasgupta.
Ganguly batted one down at number three in the match and top-scored for India with a brilliant 136. After losing Shiv Sunder Das early in the innings, the Indian captain resurrected the innings with none other than Dasgupta who was the other opener for India in the match. A hundred-plus partnership for the fifth wicket between Ganguly and Virender Sehwag changed the complexion of the match and put India in the ascendancy. India went on to win a tight encounter by 4 wickets.
Dasgupta praised the effort and performance of Ganguly and stated that the innings displayed how tough he was mentally producing the goods when India needed it the most.
“This is what greats are made of. That just shows how mentally strong he was,” stated Dasgupta.
Dasgupta hailed Ganguly for changing Indian cricket and for building a strong nucleus of world class players by nurturing and encouraging them. He gave the Indian cricket team the necessary ‘attitude’ which transformed Indian cricket forever.