Before Ganguly, India were a humble, polite team: Nasser Hussain explains how Sourav ‘changed Indian cricket’
The likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh have often credited former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Gangluly for changing the face of Indian cricket. The aggression and positivity with which Ganguly led India from 2000 to 2005 has been earmarked as one of the glorious eras of Indian cricket mainly because of the manner in which they played their cricket. Echoing the views of many former Indian greats, former England captain Nasser Hussain on Sunday lauded Ganguly for changing Indian cricket.
Hussain, who has played a lot of cricket against Ganguly, said the left-hander brought aggression into the game and before him India was a humble and polite team.
“Ganguly changed Indian cricket,” said Hussain in a podcast with Sky Sports. “Before Ganguly, India were a very humble, polite team. He made them a very feisty side.”
Hussain was talking about the NatWest Trophy final which India won courtesy brilliant half-centuries from Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh in 2002 and as soon as Zaheer Khan hit the winning runs, Ganguly took his shirt off and waved it from the Lord’s balcony.
Since then, Ganguly’s daring act has become a part of cricketing folklore. Hussain said the reason for the same was Andrew Flintoff’s celebration a year ago in Mumbai.
“Freddie bowled brilliantly at the death in that series, in scorching heat! He got the last wicket and, as was the fashion then, he whipped his shirt off.
“He was waving his shirt over his head and somewhere in Ganguly’s mind, he stored that and made sure he used it at a future date,” said Hussain.
From 1-3 down, England had gone on to level the six-match series 3-3 with a dramatic win in Mumbai.
Hussain also said the NatWest final defeat to India still haunts him at times.
“In those days,  that was a seriously good score! But we knew it was a very flat pitch and they had this Fab Five,” said Hussain.
“We got wickets at regular intervals and got them 146-5,” recalled Hussain.
“You ask me now what I still think about on the treadmill; I’ve got India in a final 146-5, chasing 326 - we’ve got Ganguly, Sehwag, Dravid, and Tendulkar out - that’s when you’re thinking what could I have done differently?
[Did you take the foot off the gas?] “I didn’t. But, looking back, I guess some of our team might have done. Not in the fact they did anything different or that I actually saw someone, but it must be a natural reaction.
“Ganguly, himself, admitted he thought the game was gone. They had two young lads coming in, in Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif who hadn’t yet done a lot for them.”
“It is the greatest innings that lad played. He will always be remembered for that,” Hussain added.
Mohammad Kaif had remained unbeaten on 87 off 75 balls as India chased down the target with three balls and two wickets in hand.