Former India captain and current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly turns 49 today. Also known as the ‘Prince of Kolkata’, Ganguly scored over 7000 runs in 113 Tests and more than 11000 from 311 ODIs. He averaged 42.17 in Tests and 41.02 one-dayers. While he smashed 22 hundreds in one-dayers, he had 16 in Tests, including a famous one at Lord’s on debut. In addition, Ganguly also claimed 132 wickets in international cricket with his medium-pacers.
As captain, he led India to 21 wins in 49 Tests and 76 triumphs in 146 ODIs. As captain, Ganguly made a number of interesting decisions that had a major impact on Indian cricket. Here are some key ones:
Sending Laxman to bat at No. 3 in 2001: India were gasping for breath in the Kolkata Test of 2001 against Australia having been made to follow on. Ganguly decided to send VVS Laxman at No. 3 in the second innings. And, VVS creating history scoring 281, then the highest individual Test score for India. Laxman and Dravid (180) batted through Day 4 of the Tests and on Day 5 Harbhajan Singh ran through Australia to end their 16-match winning streak.
Asking Sehwag to open:Virender Sehwag began his career in Test cricket in the middle-order, with a hundred on debut in South Africa. However, with no place in the middle-order in later Tests, Ganguly asked Sehwag to open. The rest is history. After scoring a hundred in England in his first series as opener, he went on to smash two triple hundreds. Sehwag also slammed a double hundred in ODIs, and ended his career as one of India’s most successful openers across formats.
Spotting the talent in Dhoni: When MS Dhoni, who incidentally celebrated his birthday yesterday, was selected in the Indian team for the first time, quite a few people were apprehensive. However, Ganguly backed him even after he failed with the bat initially. During an ODI against Pakistan at Vizag in 2005, Ganguly promoted Dhoni to No. 3. The young batsman blasted 148 and, just like, his Dada, went on to change the face of Indian cricket - as batsman and captain.
Here’s wishing Ganguly a very happy birthday and a year full of good health.
--By A Cricket Correspondent