Sourav Ganguly Biography
While Sachin Tendulkar is often hailed as ‘God’ by his fans, in Kolkata there is only one ‘God’ — Sourav Ganguly. Nothing comes close to the fanatical following Ganguly enjoys in Dominique Lapierre’s City of Joy. Yet, the man generates extreme reactions across the length and breadth of the nation.
Rahul Dravid once famously said, “On the offside, first there is God and then Sourav Ganguly.” Nobody hit the left-arm spinner hard and high over the straight field and midwicket as imperiously as Ganguly. But his critics countered all the hosannas showered on Ganguly by questioning his fragility against the short rising ball.
His supporters hail him as the man who changed the mindset of Indian cricket with unalloyed aggression. They also laud him for empowering the youthful elements in the side and gaining their unstinting loyalty. But his infamous differences with coach Greg Chappell saw the Australian write to the Indian cricket board, charging him of demoralising the team, being panicky, self-centred, feigning injuries and using a divide and rule policy to favour some to the detriment of others. That leaked letter took much of the sheen of Ganguly’s leadership.
Ganguly is a battler. His best came after a year in the wilderness when he returned to enjoy a consistent series in South Africa in 2006-07. It was in this comeback phase that he scored he scored 239 — his highest in Tests — and 91 against Pakistan at Bangalore. But his best, arguably, came a few months later when he scored 87 on against Dale Steyn & Co. on a treacherous wicket. He got a hundred in his first two Tests and got a hundred in his third-last Test and a near-hundred in his last.
As an ODI batsman, however, there cannot be any dispute regarding his supremacy. There have been few batsmen who have been as consistent in the fifty-over cricket as Ganguly; with 11,363 runs at 41.02 and 22 hundreds he is certainly one of the finest in the format.
Ganguly consistently courted controversy, right from his first tour 1991-92 till well after his retirement. It was sad to see Kolkata Knight Riders not wanting his service any longer. But worse was to follow when he went unsold at the 2011 auction.
Whatever his critics say, Ganguly’s place as one of the important figures of Indian cricket cannot be disputed.