The 2000 ICC Knockout in Kenya, the historic 2-1 Test series win against Australia at home 2001, The joint winners tag with Sri Lanka in 2002 Champions Trophy, the NatWest Trophy title in 2002 in England, the 2003 World Cup campaign in South Africa,Test and ODI series wins in Pakistan in 2004 – former India skipper and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has many highs in his career as a captain. Often hailed as the one who ‘changed Indian cricket’, bringing in the belief to win overseas, Ganguly arguably is one of the greatest Indian captains to have ever played the game.
It was never going to be an easy task to choose the best among his achievements as a captain. The former India openner was asked to rate the NatWest final win in England and India’s Word Cup campaign in 2003 and Ganguly gave an interesting answer.
Ganguly said that the Natwest final against England in 2002 was one of the greatest cricket matches that he’s ever been part of.
India had defeated England in the finals of the 2002 Natwest Trophy and after the win, Ganguly took off his shirt at the balcony of Lord’s Cricket Stadium to celebrate in style.
“The Natwest finals had its own charm, when you win in England on a Saturday in Lord’s, its a remarkable feeling. It was a packed house and its a remarkable experience when you play in front of a packed stadium at Lord’s,” Ganguly told opening batsman Mayank Agarwal in a video posted on the official handle of BCCI.
“It was a great moment, we all got carried away, but that’s what sport is, when you win, you celebrate, that is one of the great cricket matches I have been part of,” he added.
In the Natwest final against England in 2002, India was given a target of 326 to win the match. India was struggling at 146/5 when both Yuvraj and Kaif got together at the crease.
The duo put on a partnership of 121 runs to give India a glimmer of hope in the match. Yuvraj was dismissed for 69 runs, but Kaif batted well, as a tailender, to give India a win in the final over by two wickets and with three balls to spare.
Under Ganguly’s leadership, India had also made it to the finals of the 2003 World Cup, but the side lost the summit clash against Australia.
Ganguly said that the campaign in 2003 holds a special place as the side dominated every other team apart from Australia.
“2003 World Cup has a special place, we got smashed by Australia in the finals, they were the best team in that generation as I have said before, beating every team in the tournament except for Australia, I thought it was a great achievement,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly captained India in 146 ODIs, out of which India won 76, lost 65 and 5 were no results. In Test cricket, Ganguly had an even better record as a captain. In his 49 Tests as captain, Ganguly led India to victory on 21 occasions, losing 13 while 15 ended up as a draw.
Ganguly hanged his boot in 2008 after playing 113 Tests, 311 ODIs, scoring 7212 and 11363 runs respectively. Ganguly also had 22 ODI hundreds to his name which is the fourth most by an Indian after Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma.
(With ANI inputs)
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