A man not afraid of controversies
Sourav Ganguly was not only India's most successful captain, but also controversy's favourite child. He often rubbed his opponents the wrong way and miffed match referees. CricketNDTV.com takes a look at some major controversies of his career.
<p>Sourav Ganguly was not only India's most successful captain, but also controversy's favourite child. In his 17-year-long career, he often rubbed his opponents the wrong way and miffed match referees. But all those controversies and setbacks have made him what he is. Each time he emerged stronger and more determined. </p> <p>NDTV.com takes a look at some major controversies of his illustrious career:</p>
Sourav Ganguly made his ODI debut in 1992 against West Indies in Brisbane. On the same tour he was criticized for acting high and mighty. He allegedly declined to carry drinks in the middle as the 12th man. His attitude was scrutinized and his critics said he made it to the side not because of his talent but lobbying and affluent background. He silenced them well with a hundred on his Test debut at Lords in 1996.
During India's 2001 tour to South Africa, match referee Mike Denness found six Indian players, including Ganguly, guilty of various offences during Port Elizabeth Test. The worst accusation was levied on Sachin Tendulkar. He was suspended for one Test for ball tampering. Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Shiv Sundar Das and Deep Dasgupta were given one Test ban each for excessive appealing. <br /> <br /> Captain Ganguly was slapped with one Test and 2 ODI matches ban for his inability to control his players' behaviour. The bans were lifted after the protest from BCCI. This incident also highlighted match referee's partial attitude towards the Asian players and drew flak from cricket fans worldwide.
In 2001, with 16 consecutive Test wins Australia captain Steve Waugh toured India, the 'final frontier'. Skipper Ganguly, annoyed with Waugh's complaints about every trivial issue, noticed his late arrival for the toss irked his Australian counterpart. He beat Australia in their mind game. He continued to keep Waugh waiting for the toss throughout the series.<br /> <br /> When India returned the visit in 2003-04, Waugh, who was playing his last series, asked Ganguly to be on time for the toss. To this he replied: "If you behave, I will."
It was the platinum jubilee year of the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) and it was celebrated at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata with a one-off ODI match between India and Pakistan. India were bowling second and heavy dew in the month of December made it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball properly, resulting in slow over-rate. Match referee Clive Lloyd, considering Ganguly's past records, slapped a six-ODI ban. That meant he had to sit out of the series in Sri Lanka.<br /> <br /> BCCI backed the skipper and challenged the ban. It was reduced to a 4-ODI ban but by then it had done the damage. Chief Selector Kiran More appointed Rahul Dravid, who was reluctant to become the stand-in skipper, the full-time ODI captain. Ganguly came back in the side and played under Dravid. While he was serving the ban, he played county cricket for Glamorgan. With coach John Wright stepping down, 'new man' Greg Chappell was given the reins of the Indian team, who was referred and backed by Ganguly himself. <br /> <br /> Only if he could see what was coming his way!
After match-fixing scandal, this was one of the saddest chapters of Indian cricket. Greg Chappell, who was brought in on the recommendations of Ganguly, on the Zimbabwe tour asked Ganguly to step down from the captaincy and pave way for youngsters like Mohammad Kaif.<br /> <br /> They publically offered each other olive branches. Just when everybody thought it was over, a full-fledged e-mail from Chappell to the BCCI was leaked in the media and it soon snowballed into a major controversy. He was soon seen out of the side.
Emerging as the highest scorer in 2007, Ganguly was back in the reputed Indian middle-order. Just after an unsuccessful tour of Sri Lanka, where none of the Indians really scored much, Ganguly was the first man to face the axe. The selection committee headed by Dilip Vengsarkar dropped Ganguly from the Irani Trophy squad (their last assignment), sending clear signal to all. But change in the regime and the selection committee, saw him back. But soon after his selection he declared his retirement after the Australia series. He confessed that he was disappointed and could not take any more humiliation.<br /> <br /> Apart from all these incidents, there were other occasions when small controversies brushed past the Bengal Tiger. The notorious Nagpur pitch followed by Ganguly's pull out in 2004-05, New Zealand custom officials unpacking his and his mates' luggage on the airport for carrying dirty shoes in 2002-03 and his zillion encounters with the umpires and the referees, all these incidents will make him be remembered for the right as well as some wrong reasons.