A captain who has never won a world cup...
He has never won a world cup for India.,
He did not win a single ICC trophy for India.,
He lost the crucial world cup finals meekly against the might Aussies..
The team under him wasn't an unbeatable side..
Lost half a dozen finals...
They strive hard certain times to win a tournament against some mediocre teams..
Yet... he is the best captain Indian cricket team has had till date. And he is Sourav Ganguly.
Today being his birthday, I thought I would write an article about him, this may be an antique one for the middle age or the senior folks who follow cricket intensely. But for the new age kids born after 2k might find the reason why I spot as the best skipper at the end.
Unlike many captains (In fact all the Indian captains), Sourav was not identified as a captain in a normal scenario like his predecessor was sacked for a non-performance or a world cup loss. The match fixing scandal in the year 2000 compelled the ICC and BCCI to sack few senior players in the team. Sachin Tendulkar being the super star of cricket denied the captaincy for personal reasons. So the board wanted a tough man to rejuvenate the integrity of the game among the public. It would be unbelievable for some to even believe that the majority of the Indian public lost their hopes on the game of cricket and they stopped watching that. Heroes became fallen heroes. Tigers became paper tigers. People came to know that cricket is simply a staged show planned in an AC room of the five star hotels by the billion dollar people and realistically showcased in the stadium by their puppet heroes.
India being the major contributor of revenue to ICC and the cricket fraternity, both the ICC and BCCI do not afford to lose the interests of Indian public on the game. Though Sachin Tendulkar being the savior in the lot, he cannot practically carry the whole freight.
That is when the great Sourav Ganguly aka Dada was recognized as the new skipper. The predominant assignment given to Dada was to bring in oneness to the team. The BCCI gave him free hands to pick youngsters he desired to bring. He played a major role in the selection committee. Any cricket fan would never forget the 2011 world cup triumph. But out of the 11 players played in the finals 7 of them were brought in during Ganguly's regime and that includes the very own captain MSD.
Dada made the team to realize their capacity. In the 80s and 90s the Aussie fast bowlers used to treat the indian giants like minnows. Indian goliath would prefer to be submissive considering the gentleman-ness of the game which was being taught during their school coaching days. But Ganguly changed the schema of the team. He brought in the typical Bengali haughtiness in the team. Harbhajan singh, Yurj Singh, Zaheer Khan and few more are intense acolytes of the aggressive Ganguly.
He taught the Indian team to win matches abroad. He made them come out of the comfort zone of being flat pitch monsters and panic-stricken mouse in the swinging wicket. He reduced the reliance on Sachin Tendulkar and empowered the youngsters. Natwest final and 2001 Aussie test series were the typical examples for Dada's prowess attitude and the unique virtuosity. Steve Waugh being the captain cool of the previous era and most toughest rival to handle mentioned in his biography that he found his match when he played Sourav Ganguly.
Captaincy is not only about winning matches or the leadership is not about the victory alone, paving way to the descendants to taste the success is the best ever leadership skill. And Sourav Ganguly is a wizard of it.