He got the name Bengal tiger partially due to his place of birth and partially due to the way he would pounce on the ball. In 1991, Sourav Ganguly made a disastrous debut during the India tour of Australia and to add to it the media printed some articles alleging that he had, ‘ attitude problems’.
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Sourav refuted these allegations but after that first one day with Australia that marked his debut he was forgotten for four years. It seemed like his career as an international cricketer had ended even before it took off. He continued to play domestic cricket and in 1996 earned a place in the Indian side touring England. He made a dazzling test debut hundred, something that only three others have had the distinction of having achieved at Lords.
His innings were a brilliant display studded with breathtaking drives on the offside and overnight this young man transformed himself into a shooting star. Ganguly’s entire cricket career can be divided into pre 2003 and post 2003. In the build up to 2003 Ganguly made an enormous 183 runs against Sri Lanka in the World cup of 1999; 278 runs and six wickets in the Pepsi cup. He was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1998 and in February 2000 after the match fixing scandal he was named the captain of the Indian cricket team. Sourav Ganguly is considered one of the best captains India has ever had.
As captain of the Indian team Ganguly led India in 49 Test Matches, winning 21 of those, including 12 that were played outside India. He also led India to their first ever series wins in both Tests and ODI’s in Pakistan, a feat that had eluded India in fifty years. His careers biggest victory came when he captained the Indian side to a victory over Steve Waugh’s Australia in the 2001 Border-Gavaskar trophy. In 2003, with him at the helm of Indian cricket India reached the World Cup Final, where they lost to the Australians. Sourav Ganguly was a captain that the boys could count on. He was fearless, and intelligent enough to battle brains with the world’s best. He got the team what they wanted and backed the players he believed in.
Here was a captain who did not shy away from publicly expressing his feelings. During the final match of the 2002 NatWest Trophy held in Lords, after a brilliant performance by his teammates, Sourav took off his shirt in public and brandished it in the air to celebrate India’s winning the match. He was condemned for disrespecting Lords protocol but he earned brownie points nonetheless with the Indian fans. He made a lot of enemies in the media for his assertiveness both, as a batsman and captain. Although Sachin and he formed the best opening combination in ODIs, he dropped himself down the batting order to make room for Sehwag. His failing individual statistics and his controversies with Greg Chappell led him to be dropped from the team in October 2005. When the tiger was down-and-out everybody took pot shots at him.
Everybody wrote him off. Sourav Ganguly has risen like the Phoenix from the ashes. He has accumulated 1000 runs in the past year. His performance in the 2007, India vs.
Pakistan test series has been simply brilliant. Here is a man who can reinvent himself after two decades at the age of thirty five; surely he deserves all praise and accolades.