Sourav Ganguly is one player who offered the most to Indian cricket in the early 2000s. He didn’t do that with the bat but by mere presence. At the time when Dada was asked to be Indian Captain, Indian cricket was in turmoil. People who loved the game were the same who were burning the posters of players like Sachin Tendulkar, Azharuddin, and Dravid. The Hansje Cronje confessions had marred international cricket as a whole. At such times, when players of the stature of Tendulkar rejected Indian captaincy, Sourav Ganguly took the responsibility:
Sourav Ganguly and his Antiques as Indian Captain:
When Sourav walked in, he was clear about winning games. He did not want players who went halfhearted on the field. Sourav had the mindset that on their day the opposition is certainly going to beat us. But when India gets an opportunity, Dada wanted players who could seize them.
One of the best anecdotes is of Sourav Ganguly making Steve Waugh wait for the toss. Waugh’s side of the story is that Dada, who was just a newbie captain and was the hosting captain made him wait for 10 mins. This had a sense of unprofessionalism. And Steve thought it was a mind game. But Dada’s side of the story was that he wasn’t finding his blazer! The blazer that the captains have to wear for the toss in a test match!
Now Dada is too smart. Whether it was the blazer or a true mind game, that remains behind the curtains. But if it was a mind game, then it worked as Australia went on to lose the Border Gavaskar Series in 2001 by 2-1.
Sourav Ganguly and the Crop of Players he Gave:
Dada groomed a special set of players. He gave Indian Cricket true gems. To name a few, I would start with MS Dhoni. Ganguly realized that this boy had a lot of potentials. To channel the same, Dada randomly promoted him up the order in one game. He was sent to bat at number 3 and Dhoni scored 148 in that game!
Virender Sehwag was another gem produced by Dada. There was no place in the Indian middle-order in test cricket. Dada suggested Sehwag open. And the rest is, the Nawab of Najafgarh scoring 10K+ test runs as an opener. Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, and Yuvraj Singh are others who were a part of the Indian team that won the ICC T20 World Cup 2011. These were not just players but true match-winners and leaders too.
Ganguly and his Work as the BCCI President:
Now we come to Dada’s contributions after he was appointed as the President of the BCCI. Under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI executed the IPL 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic. And that year as well, the IPL produced huge profits. Further, the construction and inauguration of the largest stadium in the world, the “Narendra Modi Stadium” in Ahmedabad were done under his leadership. Jay Shah had taken charge of the project which was completed by L&T Constructions.
Lastly the appointment of VVS Laxman as the Director of cricket operations at the NCA in Bangalore. This was done to ensure that Laxman helps in grooming a future crop of players. Dada also ensured that the BCCI invests money in the medical treatment of one-of-a-kind and talented players. Hardik Pandya and his expenses for lower-back treatment, and KL Rahul and his expenses for groin injury were all covered by the BCCI.
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