India Team to “Team India”
From the depths of despair, shame and uncertainty of match fixing, did India rise under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly who led like a Prince
Under him, India saw a refreshing change in approach and rose to great heights: winning overseas series, reaching WC finals, beating world champs and getting rid of regionalism and corruption that affected match fixing. More importantly, the captain had an attitude, and instilled pride and aggression into the team that was sorely needed for a bruised nation and a team still smarting from the black mark of match-fixing.
There is no debate over the very fact that Sourav had rechristened Indian cricket in his chieftaincy, five years—2000 to 2005. Indians have never had a captain who had looked at the opposition in the eye and forced them on the back foot even before a ball is bowled. Azhar, Sachin, Srikanth, Kapil and Gavaskar did not have the sort of aggression which Sourav had.
As a player and a captain he had given a new looked Men-in-Blue, a blend of youth and experience. This team proved its merit as it raced to the finals of the World Cup 2003.
As an opening batsman in ODI he has alongside Sachin Tendulkar proved themselves to be the most successful ODI opening partnership in history leaving behind Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. With superb timing he caresses the ball to the boundary, especially in ODIs;-when he murderously assaulted the bowler for his big dancing- down- the- track sixers. The manner in which Bengal tiger stepped out and pounces on the ball is a delight to watch for Indian cricket lovers.
He never shied away from responsibilities and always stood up for his boys. Perhaps for the first time Indian cricket got a captain who rose above petty parochial regionalism and fought with BCCI to select the best talents available in the country. Few promising youngsters like Yuvraj , Harvajan , Pathan , Dhoni or player like Sehwag – all are mentored during the tenure of Sourav . He had been responsible for putting India on the path to success with nothing else but faith, determination and hard work.
India team turned into Team India during world cup 2003 in South Africa where Skipper Sourav Ganguly led team from front and was very much instrumental in spearheading Indian successive success story there.His performance in world cup proved that he was a big match player.
He played in total 18 matches, in first two world cups in England and South Africa.; he scored 844 runs with an impressive average of 56.26 with 4 century and one half century. His 183against Sri Lanka in Taunton, South Africa is the highest world cup score in one day cricket.
If we go little deeper we will see that he did better in second world cup in South Africa with a great average of 63 in 10 matches compared to England where in 7 matches he achieved an average quite impressive although - 54.14 .
As a captain, his batting average was better (58.12) than the average (54.14) when he was a non captain. It clearly manifests the very fact that he was always a big tournament player and big challenge motivated him immensely.
Despite abysmal Indian performance in 2007 world cup, Sourav was one amongst very few players who scored runs consistently in three group league matches.