He picked feisty cricketers like himself: Nasser Hussain lauds Sourav Ganguly
Mohammad Kaif and Zaheer Khan take a quick single. The England fielder tries to take a shy at the stumps, misses and Zaheer and Kaif run for a second - it is over - India have chased down 326 to win the 2002 Natwest Trophy. India captain Sourav Ganguly removes his shirt and waves it at the Lord’s balcony to celebrate. This thrilling moment from 2002 Natwest Series final between India and England is still etched in the minds of Indian cricket fans.
There is a reason why Ganguly is revered as one of the most successful captains of India. It is not only because he led India to a Test series win over Australia in 2001. It is not only because India made it to 2003 World Cup final under his captaincy. It is also not because he led India to a Test series draw in England and a Test series win in Pakistan in 2004. Ganguly is remembered for the new attitude that he developed in his team which revolutionised India cricket in the early 2000s.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain, who was the captain of the losing England side of the 2002 Natwest Series final, said that Ganguly made India a tougher side when he took charge of the team.
“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,” Hussain said on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“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 further added.
Hussain further added that Ganguly developed a team with like-minded people who were all eager to win for India and put their best foot forward.
“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 said.