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Sourav Ganguly Was Embarrassed About Waving His Jersey at Lord's Balcony after Iconic Natwest Win

Photo by CricketNext / News18.

Photo by CricketNext / News18.

Dada famously waved his country's blue jersey in the iconic Lord's balcony on July 13, 2002, after his men chased down England's steep target of 326 and upset the hosts in their own backyard.

Prince of Calcutta, Dada or simply Sourav Ganguly.

The left-handed opening batsman and aggressive former captain turned a year older on Monday. Considered one of the best skippers India has ever produced, the "God of the off side" along with the then coach John Wright changed the way one looked at the Indian cricket.

Under Ganguly's firm leadership, India were able to break the 16-Test winning streak of Australia at the Eden Gardens. The match is fondly remembered as one of the greatest witnessed in the sport, where Laxman and Rahul Dravid put their foot down and weaved a partnership of 376 runs. India, who were at a brink of loss after their first inning, bounced back and won it by 171 runs.

While Team India triumphed in several away and home series under his captaincy and Wright's guidance, perhaps the biggest success the Ganguly-led Men in Blue tasted came in 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup, where Team India found themselves in the finals against Australia.

Then came July 13, 2002.

The match that has remained etched in the memories of every desi fan is undoubtedly the historical Natwest final of 2002, where elated Dada famously waved his country's jersey in the iconic Lord's balcony after his men chased down England's steep target of 326 and upset the hosts in their own backyard.

The shirt wave sent a strong message across, one that became synonymous with India's arrival in the scene. A shirtless Ganguly at Lord's balcony became the poster of Indian cricket.

Sure, emotionally-charged Dada went overboard with celebrations but the skipper wasn't just celebrating the thrilling victory. His antics were also in direct response to English cricketer Andrew Flintoff.

England was touring India for a 6-match ODI series months before the Natwest loss with hosts leading the series 3-2. It all came boiling down to the last over of series decider game when India needed 11 off 6 deliveries and had two wickets in hand.

At the crease were Anil Kumble and Hemang Badani looking to take the team across then winning line when Nasser Hussain, England captain, handed the ball to Flintoff to deliver.

The duo managed to score five runs off the first three deliveries, needing another 6 to win the match and the series.

On the fourth ball, Kumble was involved in a disastrous run-out and Javagal Srinath, being a true tail-ender, was bowled out on the very next.

Flintoff ran a victory lap at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, waving his shirt after inspiring a nervy victory, a win that clinched a 3-3 draw in the series.

That defeat was avenged months later at Natwest and it was the Indian skipper who led the celebrations from the front.

Despite having no regrets over it and admitting that it all happened in the heat of the moment, Ganguly, in an interview with Gaurav Kapur on Breakfast With Champions, revealed that he was a little embarrassed after his daughter got to watch the footage of his epic celebrations.

"Hum 3-2 aage the Wankhede mein, phir England jeeta to series 3-3 hua. Srinath ji bowled ho gaye. Toh Flintoff ne Wankhede mein ghuma dia. Maine kaha chalo theek hai, Lord's mein bhi kar lete hain. (We were leading by 3-2 at Wankhede and then England won. Srinath was out bowled. Flintoff celebrated the victory by waving his shirt at Wankhede. I said, let's do it at Lord's)," Ganguly said on Kapur's show.

"Lekin main thoda sa embarrassed hoon uss incident ko leke. Meri beti dekhi woh ek din, kehti, 'aap log yeh kyun kar rahe the? Cricket mein karna padta hai yeh?' I said, 'Nahi, nahi. Karna nahi padta, main kar liya tha galti se. (However, I was a little embarassed over that incident. One day, my daughter watched it and asked, 'Why are you doing this? Do you have to do such things in cricket?' I said, No no, it's not necessary to do it. I did it by mistake)," he further added.