Here are four decisions that Sourav Ganguly made as captain of the Indian cricket team that changed Indian cricket forever.
Sending Laxman at No.3 in 2001 against Australia
Ganguly was known as a man that worked on instinct. Laxman seemed to be the only Indian batsman who seemed at ease against Australia in the first innings of the now-famous Kolkata Test in 2001. India was asked to follow on Day 3. Ganguly decided to send Laxman at the No.3 position in place of Rahul Dravid. This move, though a lot of people remained sceptical, worked wonders for the team as both Laxman and Dravid batted through Day 4 with the former registering 281 – the highest score by an Indian back then to set up an otherwise impossible win on Day 5 which a rampaging Harbhajan Singh finished off. India’s win put Australia’s 16-match winning streak to an end and India went to win the final Test at Chennai, winning the series 2-1.
Asking Sehwag To Open
A lot of people who know Virender Sehwag today, know him for his accomplishments as an opener. However, the explosive Delhi right-hander used to bat in the middle order. When he debuted for India in South Africa at Bloemfontein, he smashed a century batting four down. This feverishly run-hungry play from Sehwag prompted Ganguly to ask him to open the batting for India. He believed that Sehwag’s batting prowess would bring better results at the top of the order. With an average of 50 and two triple hundreds to his name, Sehwag catapulted to becoming one of the most successful Test openers of India and contributed to several Indian victories, especially overseas.
Convincing Dravid To Don The Gloves
With the lack of a permanent wicket-keeper, Ganguly decided to put an end to the issue by asking Rahul Dravid to keep wickets for the team’s balance. Dravid, one of the most reliable top-order batsmen back then, was obviously reluctant but had no choice but to obey his captain’s orders. The move turned out to be successful because it allowed India to play an extra batsman from 2002 to 2004. Dravid did not fare too badly at the No.5 position either. As a matter of fact, some of his best ODI innings came during that time.
A Brilliant Motivator
Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, MS Dhoni, and Zaheer Khan all made their way into the limelight under Ganguly’s captaincy. He rebuilt the Indian side from the depths of the match-fixing scandal in the late 20th century and made them believe that they could win anywhere in the world.
Ganguly was a fantastic captain for the team and went on to become one of the most respected cricketers of all time. He stood up for his teammates, earning him the title ‘Dada’.