Sourav Chandidas Ganguly, the name itself evokes a thousand emotions. He was not only India’s most gifted left-hander but also remains one of India’s finest captains. Ganguly took over the captaincy reigns when Indian cricket was at its lowest. The match-fixing scandal had driven fans away from the game. Ganguly not only built the team from scratch but also reinstated the faith in the game. He now heads the BCCI and remains one of the most influential figures in world cricket. Stay with us to know about the 5 Decisions taken by Sourav Ganguly.
StumpsandBails looks at 5 Decisions Taken By Sourav Ganguly which changed Indian cricket:
#5 Handing Sachin Tendulkar the ball in the famous Kolkata Test
This Test match win changed the course of Indian Test cricket forever. India came back into the game from a seemingly hopeless situation. The likes of VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, and Harbhajan Singh brought India back from the dead. India needed 10 wickets in 2 sessions to win the game. They managed to pick 3 wickets heading into tea on day 5. In a brilliant tactical move, Sourav Ganguly handed over the ball to Sachin Tendulkar asking him to give him a breakthrough. Tendulkar was known as the man with the golden arm. Ganguly had famously told Tendulkar only one over for you mate. Tendulkar prised out the wickets of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, and Shane Warne in a game-changing spell.
#4 Winning the toss and electing to bat at Headingley under overcast conditions
India were trailing 0-1 heading into the 3rd test in the 4 match Test series against England in England. The conditions were tailor-made for English seamers. There was a lot of grass cover on the pitch and the weather was overcast. India had picked two spinners (Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh) on such a track. They had no other option but to bat first and bat big. India luckily managed to put on a mammoth score of 628 in the first innings. They went on to win the game by an innings and 46 runs with the spin twins running riot in the 2nd innings. Ganguly could have taken the defensive option of fielding first. But he took the bull by the horns and chose to bat first. His team responded in stunning style!
#3 Handing Rahul Dravid the wicketkeeping duties in ODI’s
India didn’t have an ace allrounder who could fit the role of a wicketkeeper and a batsman before MS Dhoni. This deprived India of a quality batsman in the ODI setup. India always fell 20-30 runs short owing to the lack of a powerful batter. Ganguly asked Rahul Dravid to don the gloves for the sake of the team. He pushed Dravid down the order at number 5. This provided Dravid the cushion of rest when he came to bat. India suddenly could play with 7 frontline batsmen. The move helped India emerge as joint winners in the Champions Trophy (2002). They won the historic Natwest series (2002) and were the runners-up in the 2003 World Cup.
#2 Asking Virender Sehwag to open in Tests
The call to open with Virender Sehwag in Tests is probably the best move made by any Indian skipper in Tests. Sehwag singlehandedly went on to win games for India in the longest format. He bulldozed attacks into submission in a single session. Sehwag went on to notch two triple tons and is the only Indian to have achieved the feat twice. Virender Sehwag was a middle-order batsman all his life. He made his Test debut for India batting in at number 6. Sehwag even went on to score a century batting at that position on debut. But the famed Indian middle-order was occupied by legends. Ganguly on the other hand didn’t want to lose out on a talent like Sehwag. He asked Sehwag to open in the series against England in 2002. The rest as they say is history!
#1 Ganguly built the core of the Indian team
Sourav Ganguly not just built his own team he even laid down the marker for the future. He helped in identifying the core members of the team who could go onto dominate the future. The likes of Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, and Ashish Nehra blossomed under Ganguly. He provided them with the freedom to excel and express themselves. MS Dhoni and Irfan Pathan too made their debuts under Ganguly. Ganguly made the famous call of sending Dhoni in at number 3 against Pakistan at Vizag in an ODI game in 2005. Dhoni hadn’t done anything of note until then hence the move seemed even more brave and gutsy. MS Dhoni went on to score a swashbuckling 148 and there was no looking back ever since.
Indian cricket is surely indebted to Sourav Ganguly and his contributions. He remains an iconic figure not just in Indian cricket but for the world cricket at large.
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