India’s historic Natwest final victory on July 13, 2002 has been etched in the memories of every Indian cricket fan. The match is also remembered for the then captain Sourav Ganguly’s famous clip wherein he was seen removing and waving his jersey in the iconic Lord’s balcony. The celebration came in after Men in Blue were able to chase down England’s steep target of 326. The partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif helped the team to claim victory and upset the hosts in their own backyard.
Dada’s iconic celebration is said to be a reply to Andrew Flintoff. Earlier in February 2002, Flintoff had run all across the Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai after the bilateral ODI series was drawn. In the 6-match ODI series, India was leading with 3-2. To claim victory in the series, the hosts needed 11 off 6 deliveries. Flintoff bowled the last over and managed to keep his nerves under control. He gave just 6 runs and claimed two wickets clinching a nervy victory.
His act had disappointed Indian fans and especially Ganguly. The revenge turned to be more sweater for Dada as the Indian team clinched victory from the hosts in their home ground. As soon as the Kaif had hit the winning runs, the then captain wasted no time and took off his t-shirt. He frantically waved it at the England players from the Lord’s balcony. His celebration is also believed to be an intent to show the world India’s aggressive side.
In the last 19 years, the incident is remembered time and again, and Ganguly is often asked about the same in several interviews. During a chat show with Aparshakti Khurana, former cricketer Rahul Dravid expressed that he was shocked at Dada’s celebration. The 50-year-old attended the show with former teammates Kaif and Ajit Agarkar. Talking about the iconic celebration, Dravid also revealed that Harbhajan Singh, popularly called Bhajji, also wanted to remove his shirt. “I don’t know Bhajji’s body might have been a little better than Dada’s,” he added.
The three cricketers reminisced their good old days and shared several funny instances from their playing days.