Sourav Ganguly: The Man Who Introduced "Dadagiri" And Redefined Indian Cricket
Sourav Ganguly, the architect of Team India, secured a permanent place in the history of Indian cricket due to his cricketing prowess, leadership qualities and fighting spirit. His first inclusion to the Indian cricket team was in 1992, but he was dropped for his ‘arrogant behavior’. This incident, however, could not suppress this legend of cricket. Sourav made a historic comeback in 1996 during the England tour. where he scored back to back centuries and secured his place in the test squad. It was the beginning of a new era of Indian cricket which took a complete shape in 2000 when Dada was named the captain of the national team. It was indeed a tough time for Indian cricket. The match fixing scandals stirred the cricketing fraternity of the country. The entire nation was in search for a leader who could emerge as the savior of Indian cricket. The young, dynamic, immensely talented Sourav accepted the challenge of redefining cricket in India. He was instrumental in introducing the concept of ‘Team India’ which is still prevailing. The era of ‘Dadagiri’ had begun.
“Sourav is a great captain and we should be proud of such a leader.”
What is unique in the concept of ‘Team India’? Probably the aggression and nationalism over regionalism are the unique features of this concept. Ganguly believed that the performance of a player is of utmost importance and this should be the only parameter for selection of a player in the national squad. He played a pivotal role in nurturing talents like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan who gradually emerged as the cricketing icons of India. He supported these players during their tough times and helped them to attain new heights under his leadership. During his tenure, India emerged as one of the superpowers of world cricket. The greatest achievement was in cricket World Cup 2003 when Team India qualified for the final. Unfortunately, they could not win the title, but the performance of the team was praised by the entire nation.
For further improvement in performance, Sourav recommended Greg Chappel to be the coach of the national team. In this context, it is relevant to mention that Ganguly was benefitted by the advice of Greg Chappel during the Australia tour in 2003-04 and he believed that the Australian Guru could play the same role for the other members of team India. Probably it was the biggest mistake of his career! He not only lost his captainship, but was dropped from the squad as well. Greg Chappel played a key role in this exclusion. The undisputed leader of Indian cricket was compelled to play in the domestic cricket once again to obtain a place in the national team.
“Sourav’s greatest strength is his mind. He is hard working- not only in the nets but also mentally. He bounces back.”
Despite this humiliation, the Bengal tiger did not give up. He participated in domestic tournaments, scored runs and made a come back on the bouncy surface in South Africa. The fans of cricket witnessed the ‘Dadagiri’ once again. An improvement in his performance had been observed in this stage and as a result of which he was awarded the ‘Man of the Series’ against Sri Lanka. Ganguly scored his maiden double century against Pakistan on 12th December 2007. Finally, in 2008, during the tour of Australia to India, the beloved ‘Dada’ of Indian cricket announced his retirement from international arena. It was the end of a golden era which should be remembered for a man who fought against all odds to revive cricket in this country.
The inception of IPL provided him an opportunity to participate in a domestic, yet internationally reputed cricket league. Dada was named as the captain and the icon player of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the first season of the competition, but was relieved from captaincy in 2009. He, however, was asked to lead the side in the subsequent season. KKR, despite its commercial success, failed to qualify for the semi final in all these seasons. Sourav made a mark as a player, but it could not secure his future in IPL. He was not picked up by any team owner in the auction in 2011. However, at a later stage, he played for Pune Warriors India.
The contribution of captain Ganguly to Indian cricket can never be ignored. He not only revived cricket in India, but also consolidated the national side by introducing the concept of Team India. He was misinterpreted, misrepresented several times, but he never gave up. He imbibed a character into the national team which made the team more aggressive on the field. We, the followers of Indian cricket, may expect that the ‘Dadagiri’ can again be observed in the cricket administration for overall development of cricket in India.
“Ganguly is a great cricketer and I believe he would do justice to cricket administration.”
- Kapil Dev
Lecturer, Department of Sports Management of Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management
Edited By: Ambuj Gupta