Sourav Ganguly is a former Indian cricket team captain, and the second highest run-getter from India in the ODIs. He was known as the ‘God of off side’ due to his exemplary skill of playing shots on the off side.
He was born on 8 July 1972 in Behala, Kolkata. Sourav gained interest in cricket because of his elder brother Snehashish, who played for the Bengal cricket team. They built a couple of practice pitches at home and started developing Sourav’s skills on these pitches.
Though a right hander, he started batting left-handed so that he could use his brother’s cricket equipments.
Sourav rose through the ranks by virtue of his performances in school cricket. At the age of 18, he made his Ranji Trophy debut in the finals between Bengal and Delhi at the Eden Gardens. While the match ended in a draw, Bengal were crowned as the champions.
Based on his performances in the domestic competition, he was handed an ODI debut in January 1992 against West Indies. Not only he failed in his first outing, he also became infamous for his arrogant attitude.
He was then dropped from the national side with immediate effect, making him go back to domestic competitions. He scored heavily in the next two seasons of Ranji Trophy. In a Duleep Trophy match just before India’s tour of England, he played a brilliant innings of 171 and was again selected to play for India.
He made his test debut at the Lord’s and made the highest score (131) by any batsman on debut at Lord’s. He again scored a century in the first innings of his second test and became only the third batsman to score centuries in first two innings of their career.
Ganguly then went onto score 1533 test runs including, four hundred and eight fifties and 3237 ODI runs including six hundred and 23 fifties from 1997 to the 1999 World Cup. He hit his career best score of 183 runs in ODIs during the 1999 World Cup.
In 2000, Sourav Ganguly was named the captain of the ODI team. He led the team to its first series victory against South Africa. He also successfully took the teams to the finals of the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy. Though the team did not achieve a lot of trophies, it made a statement that India could fight overseas too.
Under Ganguly’s captaincy, India broke Australia’s streak of winning 16 consecutive test matches in 2001.
Another highlight of Sourav’s career came during the Natwest Series where India beat England in an ODI at Lord's and he swayed his T-shirt from the Lord’s balcony. It was a response to Andrew Flintoff who swayed his T-shirt at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. He also took the team to the finals of 2003 ICC World Cup, but lost to the Australians.
Though his captaincy was on a rise, his batting performances had taken a dip. In 2005, he was dropped from the team.
The bad patch continued with in 2007 when Greg Chappell was appointed India team coach. Greg proved to be a villain for India as he had conflicts with many senior players, and Ganguly was one of them. Greg declared Sourav to be mentally and physically unfit to lead team India.
The year 2008 proved to be huge in terms of popularity of Indian cricket. The Indian Premier League had begun and the ‘Prince of Calcutta’ was made the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders, a franchisee owned by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.
He played for the KKR till 2010. In 2011, he was signed by the now defunct Pune Warriors India.
He played for them in two seasons and then retired from the IPL.
He retired from international cricket in October 2008 with the test series against Australia being his last.
Sourav Ganguly's Stats
Famously known as ‘Dada’ all over the world, Ganguly has played 113 Test matches and amassed 7212 runs including 16 hundred and 35 fifties. He also has 32 Test wickets to his name as a right arm medium pace bowler.
In ODIs, he played 311 matches and scored 11221 runs which makes him the 2nd highest run-getter in ODIs for India. It includes 22 centuries and 72 fifties. He took exactly 100 ODI wickets.
Ganguly entered the commentary box after his retirement and is an active administrator for the BCCI and ICC. He is appointed as the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and President of the editorial board with Wisden India.