Before Ganguly India were a ‘nice’ side: Hussain on Dada’s impact
Former England captain Nasser Hussain, who fought many battles against Ganguly’s India, spoke about his impact on Indian cricket.Updated: Jul 05, 2020 08:10 IST
Whenever a comprehensive history of Indian cricket is written, the moment when a bare-chested Indian captain flung his jersey, while giving a mouthful to the adversary, from the famed Lord’s balcony will always get a mention in bold letters.
Sourav Ganguly took over as India’s captain at the turn of the century. By the time India played the Natwest Trophy final against England, he had already stamped his style on the team. That moment, when Ganguly decided to give it back to the English after a couple of youngsters took his team home in a high-pressure chase, from an improbable situation, will remain as a paragon of what Ganguly meant for Indian cricket.
Ganguly wasn’t a rebel without a cause. He was a man who understood what the game of cricket meant to the masses. He wanted his team to mirror the passion with which his countrymen followed the sport.
Indian cricket fans wanted to see their team compete, to give it back to those who sledged, to stand up in the face of the big boys, not just with their performances but with their actions too. Ganguly assembled a bunch which did just that.
They performed on the pitch, won outside India consistently for the first time, reached a World Cup final for the first time since 1983 and also gave it back to the opposition. Former England captain Nasser Hussain, who fought many battles against Ganguly’s India, spoke about his impact on Indian cricket recently.
“I have always said, and this is a generalisation, but I have always said about Ganguly, that he made India a tougher side. So, before Ganguly, they were a very talented side, but you felt they were also a nice side – very down to earth, would meet you with morning greetings, morning Nasser, it was a very pleasant experience. Playing against a Ganguly side, you knew you were in a battle, you knew that Ganguly understood the passion of Indian cricket fans and it wasn’t just a game of cricket. It was more important than a game of cricket,” Hussain said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
Hussain went on to add that Ganguly’s big contribution to the Indian team was that he brought in aggressive cricketers.
“He was feisty and he picked feisty cricketers whether it would be Harbhajan or Yuvraj or whoever – feisty in your face cricketers – that when you met them away from the game, were lovely, nice,” Hussain added.