1997 Sahara Cup; Sourav Ganguly announces his entry into ODI cricket
It was on January 11th 1992, Sourav Ganguly made his One Day International debut. It didn’t turn out to be a good debut for Sourav, as he was dropped after scoring just 3 runs against Australia. He had to wait 4 years to make a comeback. Successful Test debut in June 1996 meant that he earned his comeback in the ODI team. He was made to open for the first time with Sachin Tendulkar in his 11th ODI against South Africa. But the series he made an impact in the limited overs scenario was in the Sahara Cup of 1997 in Toronto.One of those series which launched Sourav Ganguly as a batsman and as an opener. He proved his worth in the team not just with the bat, but also with the ball. He ended the series as the leading wicket taker and runs scorer. He scored 222 runs at an average of 55.50 and 15 wickets at a stunning average of 10.66. He was awarded 4 times Man of the Match in 5 matches played and also the Man of the Series. It was one of those series India beat Pakistan comprehensively 4-1.
1998 Silver Jubilee Independence Cup Final; Sourav Ganguly scintillating century sets up record chase
On January 18, 1998 India played Pakistan in the 3rd final of the Independence Cup. Chasing 300+ totals were a rarity those days unlike the present scenario. In the back of a scintillating century by Sourav Ganguly (124 off 138 balls) India chased down the target off 314. It was the then highest chase in an ODI match. He was always a big tournament player. But more was to follow in the coming years.
2002 Natwest Series; Sourav Ganguly waving his shirt at Lords
If you ask any cricket aficionado on their biggest memory of Saurav Ganguly as captain, it would be the Natwest Series triumph in 2002. He had led his team incredibly well with the exuberance of youth and adrenaline. It was a young team with youngsters like Mohammed Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan in the line up. It was the grand final at the grandest stage of them all – The Lord’s. Sourav Ganguly has good memories about Lord’s, for he scored his debut hundred at Lord’s. But it didn’t look all well for India, which saw England post a mammoth total of 325. The big partnership between Nasser Hussain and Marcus Trescothick put India in a mess. They punished the bowlers with disdain. When India set out to bat, no one had even a glimmer of hope on India.However, openers Saurav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag yet again gave a very good start. India were cruising at 106-0 at one stage. But then it started to fall like a cycle stand, and India got reduced to 146/5. Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh were at the crease. They led the grand Indian fightback and chased 325. History was being made at Lord’s. It was pandemonium everywhere. Ganguly was seen pulling his shirts off in delight. How many have done that before ? None. Joy, excitement and pandemonium everywhere.