Sourav Ganguly is widely thought of as India’s most successful Test captain, overseeing a golden era for his side at the turn of the century.
Known as the Prince of Calcutta for his extravagant batsmanship, Ganguly forged a reputation as a steely and determined leader of India after taking the captaincy in 2000, leading a star-studded side including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag.
Making a lone ODI appearance in 1992, Ganguly spent four years in the international wilderness before seizing his chance on the 1996 tour of England. Making his Test bow at Lord’s, Ganguly put the home bowlers to the sword, striking 20 fours in a score of 131 in difficult batting conditions.
That innings kickstarted his career as he became a mainstay of the Indian lineup in both formats, including a promotion to opener in the ODI side alongside Tendulkar in what became one of the most feared partnerships in world cricket.
Assuming the Indian captaincy after Tendulkar’s resignation, Ganguly famously led his side to a 2-1 series victory over Australia in 2001. The never-say-die attitude of the team was indicative of their leader, as the hosts recovered from a seemingly impossible situation to claim victory.
After leading his side to a World Cup Final in 2003, he scored a memorable century later that year against Australia in Brisbane, regarded as one of his finest innings, helping India to a 1-1 draw away to the world’s best side.
The following year saw victory in Pakistan, becoming the first Indian captain to win there, cementing his legend amongst Indian fans. However, a decline in form and a falling out with coach Greg Chappell saw him removed as captain in 2005, though he continued as a batsman.
Ganguly eventually called time on his international career in 2008 at the age of 36, after 113 Tests and 311 ODIs. During his 16 years with the national team Ganguly made 18,575 runs and 38 centuries – 16 of which came in Tests.
Since his international retirement Ganguly continued to play T20 cricket in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders and Pune Warriors, and has also forged a career in the media.