Sourav Ganguly had his own unique style of perceiving things; probably the quality that earned him the respect that he has today. The decisions that he took and the way he guided the Indian side will serve as learning lessons for years to come.
On his 39th birthday, NDTV recalls the 10 things that bring back the memory of Dada almost inevitably. (Also see: Ganguly turns 39 | Dada-giri unperturbed)
The ground seemed like his fortress and he was their beloved warrior. Starting from his Ranji debut, till the Indian Premier League, Eden Gardens is a ground that considered Sourav its own son.
The off-side snooker
There were no prizes for guessing that he favoured the off side, but his precision in placement was certainly awe-inspiring. Sri Lanka once placed almost their entire side on the off-side to stop the ball from getting through, but all of them turned out to be mere spectators.
Sledging, what sledging?
With the capacity to win matches, Sourav Ganguly also brought with him the potential to intimidate the opposition. Sourav would stand at silly point, provoke the batsmen and then make them look silly.
His rift with short pitch stuff was not a secret. He ducked at almost everything until the bowler would be forced to target the stumps, where he was one of the best in the business.
He was written off by most people when he was dismissed after playing just one match in 1991, again in the Greg Chappell era and then again after IPL 3. But Sourav Ganguly's endless belief in himself brought him back into the side, a feat that can only be associated with him.
The early morning nightmares
Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar formed a formidable opening partnership which scathed the morale of the fast bowlers. The two complimented each other and gave India some of their best starts.
India were widely known as soft travellers prior to the tenure of Sourav Ganguly. But the Prince of Kolkata brought along a sense of fearlessness which took the side to test match victories over England and Australia, which were earlier considered as the toughest frontiers. His most famous ODI series win came in the Natwest final where India chased down a record 323-run total.
With unmatched success came almost needless controversies. First he was fined for a slow over rate and then the ever controversial spat with Greg Chappell, Ganguly's fall came because of the daring tactics that had taken him to the top.
Leading, even while following-on
Sourav Ganguly's measures were filled with confidence that he imparted to the team. In a test match in 2001, India were down and out after following on against a huge Australian total of 445. Relying on the only bright ray from the first innings, Ganguly sent in VVS Laxman who scored 281, to pave a huge 171-run win for India in the end. A victory that saw India win the series 2-1.
Planting the seeds
Orthodoxy was never a part of Sourav Ganguly's plan and hence stagnation could never be a factor. Dada brought in fresh faces which blossomed over the years to make Team India the team they are today.