Sourav Ganguly

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Personal information

Full name Sourav Chandidas Ganguly
Born 8 July 1972 
Behala, Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Batting Left-handed
Bowling Right-arm medium
Role Batsman

International information

National side India (1992–2008)
Test debut (Cap 206) 20 June 1996 v England
Last Test 6 November 2008 v Australia
ODI debut (Cap 84) 11 January 1992 v West Indies
Last ODI 15 November 2007 v Pakistan

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Sourav Chandidas Ganguly (born 8 July 1972), or Sourav Gangopadhyay (affectionately known as Dada; meaning “elder brother” in Bengali), is an Indian cricket administrator, commentator and former national cricket team captain who is the 39th and current president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He is popularly honoured as Maharaja of Indian Cricket. During his playing career, Ganguly established himself as one of the world’s leading batsmen and also one of the most successful captains of the Indian national cricket team. While batting, he was especially prolific through the off side, earning himself the nickname God of the Off Side for his elegant stroke play square of the wicket and through the covers. 

As a cricketer he played as a left-handed opening batsman and was captain of the Indian national team. He was elected as a president of the BCCI in 2019. and President of the Editorial Board with Wisden India. Before being elected as the President of BCCI, he was the President of Cricket Association of Bengal, governing body for cricket in West Bengal, India.

Ganguly was introduced into the world of cricket by his elder brother, Snehasish. He started his career by playing in state and school teams. After playing in different Indian domestic tournaments, such as the Ranji and Duleep trophies, Ganguly got his big-break while playing for India on their tour of England. He scored 131 runs and cemented his place in the Indian team. Ganguly’s place in the team was assured after successful performances in series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia, winning the Man of the Match awards. In the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he was involved in a partnership of 318 runs with Rahul Dravid, which remains the highest overall partnership score in the World Cup tournament history. Due to the match-fixing scandals in 2000 by other players of the team, and for his poor health, Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar resigned his position, and Ganguly was made the captain of the Indian cricket team. He was soon the subject of media criticism after an unsuccessful stint for county side Durham and for taking off his shirt in the final of the 2002 NatWest Series. He led India into the 2003 World Cup final, where they were defeated by Australia. Due to a decrease in individual performance, he was dropped from the team in the following year. He returned to the National team in 2006, and made successful batting displays. Around this time, he became involved in a dispute with Indian team coach Greg Chappell over several misunderstandings. Ganguly was again dropped from the team, however he was selected to play in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. He is regarded as one of India’s most successful captains in modern times, and one of the greatest ODI batsmen of all time. Currently, he is the 8th highest run scorer in One Day Internationals (ODIs) and was the 3rd batsman in history to cross the 10,000 run landmark, after Sachin Tendulkar and Inzamam Ul Haq. In 2002, the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack ranked him the sixth greatest ODI batsman of all time, next to Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Dean Jones and Michael Bevan. 

Ganguly joined the Kolkata Knight Riders team as captain for the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament in 2008. The same year, after a home Test series against Australia, he announced his retirement from international cricket. He continued to play for the Bengal team and was appointed the chairman of the Cricket Association of Bengal’s Cricket Development Committee. The left-handed Ganguly was a prolific One Day International (ODI) batsman, with over 11,000 ODI runs to his credit. He is one of the most successful Indian Test captains to date, winning 21 out of 49 test matches. Sourav Ganguly is the most successful Indian test captain overseas with 11 wins. The Indian team was ranked eighth in the ICC rankings before he became the captain, and under his tenure the team rank went up to second. An aggressive captain, Ganguly is credited with having nurtured the careers of many young players who played under him, and transforming the Indian team into an aggressive fighting unit.

Along with Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, and Utsav Parekh, Ganguly is also the co-owner of Atlético de Kolkata, a franchise of the Indian Super League, which won the inaugural season in 2014. 

Ganguly was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004, one of India’s highest civilian awards. Ganguly was awarded with the Banga Bibhushan Award from the Government of West Bengal on 20 May 2013. 

Ganguly is currently a part of the Supreme Court of India appointed Justice Mudgal Committee probe panel for the IPL Spot fixing and betting scandal’s investigations. 

Early and personal life

Sourav Ganguly was born on 8 July 1972 in Calcutta, and is the youngest son of Chandidas and Nirupa Ganguly. Chandidas ran a flourishing print business and was one of the richest men in the city. Ganguly had a luxurious childhood and was nicknamed the ‘Maharaja’, meaning the Great King. Ganguly’s father Chandidas Ganguly died at the age of 73 on 21 February 2013 after a long illness. 

Since the favourite sport for the people of Calcutta was football, Ganguly was initially attracted to the game. However, academics came in-between his love for sports and Nirupa was not very supportive of Ganguly taking up cricket or any other sport as a career. By then, his elder brother Snehasish was already an established cricketer for the Bengal cricket team. He supported Ganguly’s dream to be a cricketer and asked their father to get Ganguly enrolled in a cricket coaching camp during his summer holidays. Ganguly was studying in tenth standard at that time. 

Despite being right-handed, Ganguly learnt to bat left-handed so he could use his brother’s sporting equipment. After he showed some promise as a batsman, he was enrolled in a cricket academy. An indoor multi-gym and concrete wicket was built at their home, so he and Snehasish could practice the game. They used to watch a number of old cricket match videos, especially the games played by David Gower, whom Ganguly admired. After he scored a century against the Orissa Under–15 side, he was made captain of St Xavier’s School’s cricket team, where several of his teammates complained against what they perceived to be his arrogance. While touring with a junior team, Ganguly refused his turn as the twelfth man, as he reportedly felt that the duties involved, which included organising equipment and drinks for the players, and delivering messages, were beneath his social status. Ganguly purportedly refused to do such tasks as he considered it beneath his social status to assist his teammates in such a way. However, his playmanship gave him a chance to make his first-class cricket debut for Bengal in 1989, the same year that his brother was dropped from the team. 

He is married to Indian classical dancer dancer Dona Ganguly, with whom he has a daughter Sana (b. 2001).

Playing career

  • 1990–96: Career beginning and debut success

Following a prolific Ranji season in 1990–91, Ganguly scored three runs in his One Day International (ODI) debut for India against the West Indies in 1992. He was dropped immediately since he was perceived to be “arrogant” and his attitude towards the game was openly questioned. It was rumoured that Ganguly refused to carry drinks for his teammates, commenting that it was not his job to do so, later denied by him. Consequently, he was removed from the team. He toiled away in domestic cricket, scoring heavily in the 1993–94 and 1994–95 Ranji seasons. Following an innings of 171 in the 1995–96 Duleep Trophy, he was recalled to the Indian team for a tour of England in 1996, in the middle of intense media scrutiny. He played in a single ODI, but was omitted from the team for the first Test. However, after teammate Navjot Singh Sidhu left the touring party, citing ill-treatment by then captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Ganguly made his Test debut against England in the Second Test of a three-match series at Lord’s Cricket Ground along with Rahul Dravid. England had won the First Test of the three-match series; however, Ganguly scored a century, becoming only the third cricketer to achieve such a feat on debut at Lord’s, after Harry Graham and John Hampshire. Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior have since accomplished this feat, but Ganguly’s 131 still remains the highest by any batsman on his debut at the ground. India was not required to bat in the second innings due to the match ending in a draw. In the next Test match at Trent Bridge he made 136, thus becoming only the third batsman to make a century in each of his first two innings (after Lawrence Rowe and Alvin Kallicharran). He shared a 255 run stand with Sachin Tendulkar, which became at that time the highest partnership for India against any country for any wicket outside India. The Test again ended in a draw, handing England a 1–0 series victory; Ganguly scored 48 in the second innings.

  • 2000–05: Ascension to captaincy and accolades

In 2000, after the match fixing scandal by some of the players of the team, Ganguly was named the captain of the Indian cricket team. The decision was spurred due to Tendulkar stepping down from the position for his health, and Ganguly being the vice-captain at that time. He began well as a captain, leading India to a series win over South Africa in the five-match one day series and led the Indian team to the finals of the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy. He scored two centuries, including one in the final; however, New Zealand still won by four wickets. The same year, Ganguly tried his hand at county cricket career in England but was not successful. In “The Wisden Cricketer”, reviewers Steve Pittard and John Stern called him as “The imperious Indian—dubbed ‘Lord Snooty’. They commented:

“At the crease it was sometimes uncertain whether his partner was a batsman or a batman being dispatched to take his discarded sweater to the pavilion or carry his kit bag. But mutiny was afoot among the lower orders. In one match Ganguly, after reaching his fifty, raised his bat to the home balcony, only to find it deserted. He did not inspire at Glamorgan or Northamptonshire either. At the latter in 2006 he averaged 4.80 from his four first-class appearances.” 

His Lancashire teammate Andrew Flintoff thought him to be aloof and compared his attitude to that of Prince Charles. In Australia’s three Test and five-match ODI tour of India in early 2001, Ganguly caused controversy by arriving late for the toss on four occasions, something that agitated opposing captain Steve Waugh. In the Fourth ODI, he caused further controversy by failing to wear his playing attire to the toss, something considered unusual in cricket circles. However, India won the Test series 2–1, ending Australia’s run of 16 consecutive Test match victories in the Second Test. The match saw India looking set for defeat after conceding a first innings lead of 274. Waugh chose to enforce the follow-on and V. V. S. Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) batted for the entire fourth day’s play to set Australia a target of 384 on a dusty, spinning wicket. The Australians were unable to survive and became only the third team to lose a Test after enforcing the follow-on. In November 2001, Ganguly’s wife Dona gave birth to their daughter Sana. During the final match of the 2002 NatWest Series held in Lords after a stunning performance by team mates Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif, Ganguly took off his shirt in public and brandished it in the air to celebrate India’s winning of the match. He was later strongly condemned for tarnishing the “gentleman’s game” image of cricket and disrespecting Lord’s protocol. Ganguly said that he was only mimicking an act performed by the British all-rounder Andrew Flintoff during a tour of India. In 2003, India reached the World Cup Final for the first time since 1983, where they lost to the Australians. Ganguly had a successful tournament personally, scoring 465 runs at an average of 58.12, including three centuries. 

By 2004, he had achieved significant success as captain and was deemed as India’s most successful cricket captains by sections of the media. However, his individual performance deteriorated during his captaincy reign, especially after the World Cup, the tour of Australia in 2003 and the Pakistan series in 2004. In 2004, Australia won a Test series in India for the first time since 1969. It was speculated that Ganguly was in disagreement with the head of cricket in Nagpur over the type of pitch to be used for the Third Test. The groundsmen went against Ganguly, leaving a large amount of grass on the pitch. Some experts indicated that the reason for this was for “spite or revenge” against the Indian captain. When Australia’s stand-in-captain, Adam Gilchrist, went to the toss, he noticed Rahul Dravid was waiting instead of Ganguly, leaving him to ask Dravid where Ganguly was. Dravid could not give a definitive answer, saying: “Oh, who knows?” 

Following indifferent form in 2004 and poor form in 2005, he was dropped from the team in October 2005. Having been nominated and rejected in 2000, when the game suffered a tarnished reputation due to match fixing scandals, the captaincy was passed to Dravid, his former deputy. Ganguly decided against retiring and attempted to make a comeback to the team Ganguly was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in recognition of his distinguished contribution in the field of sports. He was presented with the award on 30 June 2004, by then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. 

  • 2006–07: Comeback and rift with Greg Chappell

In September 2005, Greg Chappell became the coach of India for the tour of Zimbabwe. Ganguly’s dispute with him resulted in many headlines. Chappell had emailed the Board of Control for Cricket in India, stating that Ganguly was “physically and mentally” unfit to lead India and that his “divide and rule” behaviour was damaging the team. This email was leaked to the media and resulted in huge backlash from Ganguly’s fans. Ganguly had enlisted the support from the Indian media and eventually the board had to intervene and order a truce between the pair. BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra issued a statement that,

“In view of the decision that cricket is to go forward, both the coach and the captain have been asked to work out a mutual and professional working relationship. For this, performance will be the criteria, applicable to captain, coach and players. Of course the captain controls the game, the coach does his own job. Mutual trust is important. Henceforth no player/captain/coach will write or have any interaction with the media. Going to the media will lead to disciplinary action.” 

Ganguly, Chappell and the Indian team manager for the Zimbabwe tour, Amitabh Choudhary, were asked to appear before the BCCI committee, where it was reported that assurance of working together was given by them. Consequently, due to his poor form and differences with the coach, Ganguly was dropped as the captain of the team, with Dravid taking his place. Chandresh Narayan, chief correspondent for The Times of India, commented that “The row with Greg Chappell just added to the mystery, but he was going through a really bad patch then, his only score [of note] was a hundred against Zimbabwe and that didn’t count for much.” Ten months later, during India’s tour to South Africa, Ganguly was recalled after his middle order replacements Suresh Raina and Mohammad Kaif suffered poor form. Following India’s poor batting display in the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy and the ODI series in South Africa, in which they were whitewashed 4–0, Ganguly made his comeback to the Test team. Wasim Jaffer, Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble had earlier been selected for the one-day squad, despite their recent poor performances. Many saw this as an indictment of coach Greg Chappell’s youth-first policy. Coming in at 37/4, Ganguly scored 83 in a tour match against the rest of South Africa, modifying his original batting style and taking a middle-stump guard, resulting in India winning the match. During his first Test innings since his comeback, against South Africa in Johannesburg his score of 51 helped India to victory, marking the first Test match win for the team in South Africa. Though India lost the series, Ganguly accumulated the most runs on the scoring chart. After his successful Test comeback he was recalled for the ODI team, as India played host to West Indies and Sri Lanka in back to back ODI tournaments. In his first ODI innings in almost two years, he scored a matchwinning 98. He performed well in both series, averaging almost 70 and won the Man of the Series Award against Sri Lanka.

Administration career

From 2015 to October 2019 he was the President of the Cricket association of Bengal. In October 2019 he became President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Records and achievements

  • The only cricketer to win four consecutive man of the match awards in One Day Internationals. 
  • The ninth highest run-scorer in ODI history and third among the Indians, with 11,363 runs.
  • He holds the record for registering the highest individual score by any batsman in an ICC Champions Trophy final(117)
  • He was also the first player to score 3 centuries in the history of ICC Champions Trophy
  • The second fastest batsman to reach 9,000 ODI runs after AB De Villiers of South Africa who broke Ganguly’s record in 2017 
  • One of the only six cricketers to have achieved the unique treble of 10,000 runs, 100 wickets & 100 catches in ODI cricket.

Others were Sachin Tendulkar, Sanathan Jayasurya, Jacques Kallis, Chirs Gayle, Thilakarathe Thilshan

  • His Test batting average never went below 40.
  • Has the highest individual score by an Indian batsman (183) in the Cricket World Cup.
  • One of the 14 cricketers in the world to have played 100 or more Tests and 300 or more ODIs.

Sourav Ganguly is the only batsman to score a century on debut and to be dismissed first ball in his final Test innings.

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