Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Top 5 Ganguly moments

With just 3 more test matches left for the final farewell its time to pay a tribute to the best captain India has ever had, dada, bong icon, maharaja, prince of kolkata and god of the off-side !!! Here are my top 5 Ganguly moments :

1) Bare-torsoed shirt waving @ Lords : The single most memorable moment that I've witnessed in Indian cricket history ( I did not see the '83 World Cup ). After India won the Natwest trophy  thrashing England and chasing down 300+ runs, Ganguly in a pre-meditated move tore off his shirt and ecstatically waved it around his head. This was a fitting reply to England in general and Flintoff in particular who had done exactly the same when England had defeated India in a previous one-dayer at Mumbai ... An act of pure distilled aggression ... which has clearly rubbed off on the entire Indian team since then ( Sreesanth / Bhajji etc ... ).  

2) Taming the Pakistan demon : Ever since Javed Miandad smashed Chetan Sharma for a six to win a Sharjah tournament off the last ball sometime in the mid-eighties ( the single most forgettable moment I've witnessed in Indian cricket ) Pakistan had held a psychological edge over India.

The decade long shadow was finally lifted in Dhaka ... at the final of the Silver Jubilee Cup. Pakistan batted first and amassed 300+ runs ... for India to win chasing that huge a total and that too against Pakistan was unimaginable and most of us were not even watching the India innings.

However, news trickled in that Dada was batting rather well so we tuned in to watch ... Ganguly had just reached his half-century ... and went on to score 120+ virtually winning the match for India single-handedly. 

To me this was a tipping point in Indian cricket after the slump of the mid-eighties / early-nineties when a resurgent team with fresh new players under Ganguly's captaincy brought about a whole new attitude to the game.

3) The Lord's debut : A dream test debut of 131 runs and that too at Lord's ... mecca of cricket ... followed by yet another century in his second test. This was after 4 years in the wilderness post his ODI debut in 92 ... which showcased his tenacity and comeback spirit ... this would again come to the fore much later in his career ie. the comeback in 2007 after the Greg Chappel fracas.

4) Nemesis of Australia : Was captain for the 2001 and 2003-04 test series ... both of which will be remembered for the sheer quality of cricket ... and the fact that India simply dominated all aspects of the game. 2001 Kolkata was a major turning point where India prevented Australia from winning a record 15th Test Match in a row and then went on to nail the series by winning the decider in Chennai. The major contributors were of course Laxman with the bat and Bhajji with the ball ... but Ganguly 's captaincy and leadership was never in doubt. 

2003 Brisbane first test ... Ganguly set the tone for the series with a 144 even when the Aussie bowlers consistently aimed for his rib-cage ... a gritty performance which proved that he had the technique to play the rising ball ... something that the pundits had constantly questioned. India drew the series 1-1 ( should have won the 4th test as well ) but Ganguly still lifted the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

5) Propelling India to ODI World Cup finals in 2003 :  While the finals was a case of so near yet so far ... getting India to the finals was a huge achievement in itself. Ganguly himself performed quite well in all the World Cups he played ... in 1999 against Sri Lanka he scored 183 which at that point was the highest ever ODI score by an Indian.

Dada will retire from cricket in a few more days but his cricketing legacy will surely remain as folklore for generations to come !!!

1 comment:

  1. Ganguly is the fastest to reach 7000, 8000 and 9000 runs in ODI cricket. some achievement boss.