Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian captain and current BCCI president, will always be known as the person who stepped forward when Indian cricket was at its nadir and led it into a new millennium with a lot of promise.
There was aggression in the new Indian side he created and it seeped from the captain. There was also a sense of belief that they were the best and the captain redefined the way Indian cricket approached the game.
He blooded and groomed young players in Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, MS Dhoni, and Irfan Nathan, among others, and these players became the cornerstones of the side that rose to great heights.
Here, in this article, we take a look at three of the most iconic celebrations from Sourav Ganguly.
3. Wild celebrations after dismissing Kevin Pietersen
In this IPL game for the Pune Warriors, Ganguly played second fiddle with the willow to Jessie Ryder who powered the team to 193. In response, Delhi Daredevils looked on track to chase the total down as Kevin Pietersen and helped Delhi race to 74 for 1 at the end of eight overs.
Sourav Ganguly took up the mantle with the ball and landed the first ball on a length that moved just a touch and kept low. It snuck under the bat to castle Pietersen. With hair ruffled, Ganguly raised his hands and raced all over the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. It was a perfect TV moment as the former India captain showed he still had the fire and aggression from his heyday.
2. Celebrations after the Gabba Test
It was an important series for India and their captain Sourav Ganguly kept saying that the tour would be pivotal to the fortunes of the new and young Indian team. In the first Test in Brisbane, Australia posted 323 runs on the board and it was a challenging score on a fast Gabba surface.
In response, India were in a spot of bother as they were reduced to 62 for 3 with Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar all back in the hut. Sourav Ganguly walked out and the pressure was on the skipper. Australia’s attack was without Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne, but the bowlers they had were still challenging in their own conditions.
The Indian captain started with some wonderful hits through cover and he slowly gained confidence. By the time he was dismissed for 141, he had hit 18 fours and given India the belief that they could compete with Australia in the series. When he reached his century, he took off his helmet, jumped once and then jumped again and pumped his fist in the air - it showed that the series and all the hard work that went before the it had paid dividends.
1. The shirt-waving celebration at Lord's
This was one of the most iconic matches in Indian cricket when a young side toppled England at Lord's to clinch the NatWest series. England batted first and, courtesy of a century by Nasser Hussain, they posted 326. It was always going to be a tough chase for the Indian side and when they were tottering at 146 for 5, even the most ardent fans would have given up hope.
However, this is when Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif stitched together a superb partnership of 121 runs that put India back on track. Kaif was unbeaten on 87 as India got home in the final over.
This sparked wild celebrations and as the cameras panned to India's dressing room, the captain took off his shirt and waved it with a lot of energy. This footage remains one of the most iconic from Indian cricket history.