I was privileged enough to see the blockbuster Indian Premier League game between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals at the iconic Dubai Stadium this week. But what made it even more special that I got to meet my boyhood hero Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI President, at the stadium.
I was following cricket from the age of five and had heard from Dad about the historic win against Australia coming from behind under the captaincy of ‘Dada’ and how he made the Indian team strong. Dad had also shared about his debut hundred at Lord’s and also his epic celebration at the Lords balcony after Indian won a thriller against England in the NatWest Trophy. I must now have seen that final umpteen times, and every time I watch it back, I feel pumped up and get goosebumps. From that early age I started following Dada as he was an inspiration to youngsters like me.
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Being a left-hander myself, just like Ganguly, I loved the grace with which he used to play the cover. It was a treat to the eyes and no wonder he was called as the ‘God’ of offside by the great Sachin Tendulkar. And the way he used to step out fearlessly to spinners was something I always dreamt off — I could never do it during my playing days.
I remember his final series against Australia where he scored a hundred in Mohali and in his final Test was on verge of scoring another hundred but unfortunately got out for 80 and missed the double of scoring a hundred in his debut and final match. But what I fondly remember is that MS Dhoni made him then captain on the last day of his Test career which brought tears of happiness as Dada was the one who gave MS Dhoni his break and rest is history.
I can never forget the fact that Sourav Ganguly was India’s most successful captain during his playing days and made Indian win abroad with a bunch of talented players and backing them to the core, no wonder he was called the Dada of Indian cricket.