In a nutshell, Sourav Ganguly is the man who revolutionised Indian cricket. With the sport needing an image make-over after the match-fixing controversy towards end of the 1990s and the team failing to match up with the big boys on the field, Ganguly had a job at his hand when he was named captain.
Ganguly infused a sense of pride and courage in Indian cricket. Led his team from the front and never backed out of a skirmish. The landmark Test series win over Steve Waugh’s all-conquering Aussies set the tone for Indian cricket’s most momentous epoch. The image of a bare-chested Ganguly waving his shirt in the Lord’s balcony after India won the Natwest Trophy remains a defining image of an Indian captain who gave as good as he got.
Apart from taking India to their second ever World Cup final in 2003 and notching up crucial Test wins outside the sub-continent, Ganguly’s biggest contribution to Indian cricket was his ability to spot and nurture talents. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan were nurtured by Ganguly and blossomed into match winners for the team.
He retired as India’s second highest run-getter and centurion in One-day Internationals behind Sachin Tendulkar and is currently the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal and a successful media personality.