Debut century more special than shirtless celebration at Lord's, insists Sourav Ganguly
Ganguly opens up on his famous shirt-waving celebration at the home of cricket.
What's the story?
Shedding light on his mindset during the famous shirt-waving celebration at the fabled Lord's Cricket Ground, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has affirmed that the inimitable celebration was a direct by-product of his team's miraculous comeback in the 2002 NatWest Series final. Reminding onlookers about his name etched on the honour's board, the 45-year old insisted that his debut Test century in 1996 was a lot more special moment than his shirtless saga at the same venue.
"I would never do it (go shirtless) now. Every time they would show that footage (on any sports channel), I called the producer and told him that I have 20,000 international runs and several hundreds. But he said that is what he wants to show. (The shirtless celebration) was done a lot more out of satisfaction. Do not forget the name on the (Lord's) honour's board (as a result of his century on Test debut). That will remain a lot more special", Ganguly said at the India Today Conclave East 2017.
In the past...
Chasing a massive target of 326 during the summit clash against England in 2002, India plummeted to 146/5. When the proverbial writing almost appeared on the wall, the then unfancied duo of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif put on a game-changing partnership to propel the 'Men in Blue' to a famous victory.
The heart of the matter
Soon after Zaheer Khan and Kaif completed the winning runs, Ganguly flummoxed everyone by taking his shirt off and waving the blue jersey in euphoric celebration at the Lord's balcony. The Indian captain's shirtless episode remains one of the most unforgettable moments in the history of ODI cricket.
The shirt-waving saga was not his only tryst with the de facto home of cricket. In fact, six years prior to his prominent celebration, Ganguly had stormed into Test cricket at the Lord's Cricket Ground. Showing no nerves usually associated with a debutant, the then 23-year old compiled a scintillating 301-ball 131 to enter the Lord's honour's board.
Parallels from history
Ganguly's shirt-waving celebration was actually derived in response to Andrew Flintoff's shenanigans during the sixth ODI between India and England at the Wankhede Stadium earlier in 2002. The maverick all-rounder celebrated his team's series-levelling triumph by taking his jersey off and running around the venue in elation.
Considering the fact that he managed to do what plenty of acclaimed batsmen were not able to achieve, Ganguly's debut Test ton and the accompanying reward in the revered honour's board should be held in higher regard. Having said that, his famous shirt-less celebration was a coming-of-age moment for an Indian team which would go on to compete in an unrelenting manner outside the subcontinent too.