5 times Sourav Ganguly showed his 'Dadaness' on the field
Not for nothing is Saurav Ganguly known as ‘Dada’.
In common parlance, 'Dada' is a larger-than-life figure, or a big brother who is not in the least held back or inhibited. And Sourav Ganguly certainly wasn't holding back any punches.
Ganguly, as captain of Team India, employed a no-nonsense approach. He could be spunky and direct. Not for him the soft and genteel manners of someone to the manor born!
The former Indian captain instilled steel in India’s players. He got them to shed their sometimes timid, or less than confident, demeanor on the field, and off it. He made them believe in their talent and ability.
The intrinsic style of the Indian team changed. Aggression came in and batting orders were reshuffled. By the dusk of his career, Sourav Ganguly had successfully transformed the face of Indian Cricket, leading India to glory on the international stage.
As the 'Prince of Kolkata' turns a year older today, we shed light on some of his most Dada-esque moments, on-the-field!
1) Drinks can wait, Pommie!
In 2002, during an ODI series vs Zimbabwe, India were cruising towards a comfortable win in the first ODI, needing to defend five runs from four balls. Zimbabwe had just one wicket in hand, when twelfth man Pommie Mbangwa ran onto the field, carrying drinks and perhaps a few words from the coaching staff.
This infuriated Ganguly, as Mbangwa was seen having a conversation with his teammates even before the drinks were handed to them. Ganguly then sprinted from cover and demanded Mbangwa leave the field. It was later revealed that the scoreboard was displaying an error in the target for which Mbangwa was sent in to convey to the batsmen.
Sigh, typical Dada!
2) Broad - 0, Dada - 1
It was 2007, in the sixth ODI of the seven-match ODI series between India and England. India were tasked to chase 317, and were on course to comfortably achieve their target as openers Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar propelled India to a flying start, putting up 55 runs in the first nine overs.
That’s when things heated up a notch. Ganguly tried to hit Stuart Broad through the off-side on the last ball of the over but found Owais Shah fielding at short cover. Broad and Ganguly were seen exchanging a few steamy words after the over, much so that umpire Aleem Dar had to intervene to stop the two.
The next over saw Broad steaming into Ganguly for which the latter had a befitting response. He let the bat do the talking, and sent Broad flying for a gigantic six. Broad had no response and Dada reminded us why he’s the boss.
3) Don't f**k around with Dada, Arnold!
The ‘Prince of Kolkata’ had got into an on-field spat with Russel Arnold, who ran on the pitch in an effort to gain an (unfair) advantage for his spinners, who were coming on to bowl in the next innings. Arnold cut the last ball of the Kumble-bowled 40th over and ran for a single.
While walking back to his crease, Dravid spotted him creating footmarks on the pitch and pointed it out to captain Ganguly, who did not take any ease off the matter. Ganguly was fielding at cover before he charged towards Arnold, getting himself involved in a heated chat. He was heard saying:
“I am just saying, keep away. Don’t f**k around.”
Ganguly didn’t step down. Even when Umpire David Shephard intervened, Dada gave a mouthful to both Shephard and Arnold.
4) Time for the toss? It can wait.
India vs Australia, 2001. It was a three-match Test series that established Sourav Ganguly as captain. The historic victory over Australia instilled an unmatched level of confidence in Team India, as Australia were clear favorites to take home the series, especially after their 10-wicket win in the first Test.
However, India stunned the visitors by taking the series 2-1. Ganguly’s mind games and tactics succeeded in getting under-the-skin of the opposition, particularly Steve Waugh.
On multiple occasions, Waugh has stated his annoyance at Ganguly’s lack of punctuality during toss-time.
Ganguly tested Waugh’s patience at the toss throughout the series, choosing to keep Waugh waiting out in the middle along with the umpires and implicitly needling his ego, which was riding high on a world-record equaling spree of consecutive Test victories.
No matter Ganguly’s explanation, it indeed worked very well. Kudos to you, Dada!
5) Who can forget that iconic Lord’s moment?
In 2002, Dada took his shirt off and swung it to glory from the Lord’s balcony, after India defeated England in the NatWest Trophy final. The celebration was in response to Andrew Flintoff, who hurt Indian sentiments and swung his shirt at Mumbai’s Wankhede thirteen months earlier, in the joy of having leveled the series with India.
Ganguly revealed that Flintoff’s antics were unacceptable, and “if Lord’s is their (England) mecca, Wankhede is ours.”
Truly, a Dada move.