Home > Features >

Sourav Ganguly: 10 things you need to know about the Prince of Kolkata

Sourav Ganguly was a fine captain during his time © Getty Images & IANS
Sourav Ganguly was a fine captain during his time © Getty Images & IANS

Sourav Ganguly, born on July 8, 1972, is perhaps the most controversial international cricketer India has ever produced. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at a list of 10 things the cricket fans ought to know about him.

You may be a hardcore Sourav Ganguly fan. You may have burnt effigies of Greg Chappell about eight years back (how time flies!). You may detest him to the core. You may have celebrated his axing. But one thing is for sure: you cannot be neutral towards the man. Here, then, is a list of things about the man that may interest you.

1. Left Front

Ganguly was born a right-hander. He writes, eats, and as we know, bowls with his right-hand. He was a right-handed batsman, too, in his early days. His brother Snehashish was, however, a left-hander, and Sourav wanted to use his gear. Exactly why he did this is unknown, since the Gangulys are one of the richest families of Calcutta, but the choice made him the leading run-scorer among all left-handed Indian Test batsmen.

2. Crossing Park Street

Ganguly was a student of St Xavier’s College, Calcutta — a prestigious institute located on Park Street, one of the busiest and broadest roads of the old capital of The Raj. Growing up in the same city (I was in school when he was in college), this columnist often heard rumours that when he really timed them, his humongous sixes crossed the college grounds, crossed Park Street, and landed well across the road.

The story may have been apocryphal, but given the fact that he had actually crossed Wankhede Stadium, it may have been true as well.

3. Doing a Waugh

It is well-known that Mark Waugh had replaced Steve Waugh in the Australian Test side — a news that Steve had to break over the dinner table. A similar thing had happened at the Ganguly household as well (albeit at one level lower), though it is not known whether Snehashish, the elder brother, was the person who let Sourav know.

Snehashish had not done anything of note in the 1989-90 Ranji Trophy, and had scored three in the semi-final against Hyderabad. Bengal captain Sambaran Banerjee had influenced the selectors to draft in the teenager Sourav to make his First-Class debut in the final at Eden Gardens. The reason? Ganguly Junior could bowl!

4. Ouch! Ouch!

Sahara Cup 1997 was, without a doubt, Ganguly’s finest series. When he came back in 1998, India started by winning the first match (though they eventually lost 1-4). Ganguly won the Man of the Match award again with three for 33 and a half-century, but in the process of the innings he “achieved” something rare.

The Pakistani fast bowlers, especially Mohammad Zahid, had come with a plan to work on Ganguly’s weakness. They bounced at him, and two of the blows turned out to be a bit too severe. He had to retire hurt on ten with the Indian score on 37 without loss. He resumed after India’s first wicket fell and retired hurt again for 54 with the team score on 187 for four.

It is not every day that you come across a man retiring twice in an international innings.

5. Like captain, like coach

When a dejected Ganguly walked back to the pavilion at Trent Bridge in 2002 after Steve Harmison had bowled him, John Wright may have broken into a wry smile in the Indian pavilion. It was Ganguly’s second 99 (the first had come four-and-a-half years back against Sri Lanka at Nagpur); Wright had also scored two 99s in his Test career.

6. The Test opener

Only once had Ganguly opened batting in a Test, and it was in the same Test where he had gone all the way in the first innings in 1997-98, hitting Kumar Dharmasena out of Wankhede. With India having secured a 151-run lead, Sachin Tendulkar promoted Ganguly (instead of Nayan Mongia) to open with Navjot Sidhu. It did not go too well: he fell to Pramodya Wickramasinghe for a 12-ball 11.

7. The send-off; well, almost

The 1997 tour of West Indies was not a good one for Tendulkar’s India: not only did they lose both the Test and One-Day International (ODI) series, but the tour also marked the beginning of a long series of injuries for Javagal Srinath. The third Test at Kensington Oval was a dramatic one: chasing 120 for a victory on a minefield, India were skittled out for 81 by Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop, and Franklyn Rose with VVS Laxman being the only one to reach double figures.

The onus came on Ganguly to go up to Tendulkar with an attempt to make him feel better. He tried to make the dejected Tendulkar “feel positive”. Tendulkar had promptly responded with the words “go for a run tomorrow morning”. For some reason, Ganguly had not turned up for the run; and Tendulkar, for once, was livid.

Ganguly later wrote in Sachin Tendulkar: The Man Cricket Loved Back: ““His [Tendulkar’s] face was almost purple with anger. He told me, in language that cannot be printed, that he was going to send me home and that I should sort myself out because my career could be ending. The thought of being sent home was enough to light a fire under my shoes. I wouldn’t have broken any records, never have, never will, but from the next morning I was up and running.”

8. Bidding farewell to Azhar…

Mohammad Azharuddin was Ganguly’s first international captain, but it is relatively less known that Ganguly was Azharuddin’s last international captain. Azharuddin played his last Test under Tendulkar, but when Ganguly took over as India’s ODI captain, Azharuddin played 11 ODIs with Ganguly as his captain: four in the controversial home series against South Africa, four more in the Coca-Cola Cup at Sharjah, and three more in the Asia Cup that followed.

9. Knock ’em out

India has played ten knock-out World Cup matches — two in 1983, one in 1987, two in 1996, two in 2003, and three more in 2011. Surprisingly, Ganguly is the only one to have scored a hundred in these matches when he got a 114-ball 111 not out against Kenya in the 2003 semi-final at Kingsmead.

10. Reality check

Post-retirement, Ganguly had seamlessly merged with the Indian commentators; along with Rahul Dravid, he brought a breath of fresh air in the men behind the microphone. As a parallel, Ganguly also became the anchor of Subhankar Chattopadhyay’s Dadagiri — a reality show on Zee Bangla — arguably the most popular Bengali show of its kind.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Mahesh Rawat’s ton puts match beyond North’s reach

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Pakistan eye victory after a successful day

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Bangladesh grab upper hand at Stumps

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Pakistan eye victory as Australia reel at 59/4 at stumps on Day 4

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: David Warner admits that Australia is not scared of big targets

Suresh Raina gifts Aditya Garhwal an autographed bat

Dwayne Bravo says West Indies pull-out had everybody’s consent

Younis Khan scores 26th ton to establish Pakistan record

Younis Khan scores 26th ton to establish Pakistan record

Younis Khan becomes seventh Pakistani cricketer to score two hundreds in a Test

Virat Kohli and others with 20 ODI hundreds

David Warner and others with records related to hundreds in consecutive Test innings

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Apple to merge Beats Music with iTunes next year as music sales fall 14 percent in 2014: WSJ

Shahid Kapoor’s Haider screened at Rome Film Festival!

Dhanush’s Vellai Illa Pattadhaari completes 100 days!

Dear IAF, every smartphone not just Xiaomi could be a security threat

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

How to make tamarind or imli packs for hair and skin

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here