Saurav Ganguly, the most successful captain of India and the third batsman to get to 10,000, with One Day centuries second just to Tendulkar, has given India some of the performances in the past years. If Tendulkar can stay in the team supported only by his performances of the last century and his fans, lets see why Ganguly cannot.
1) 183 v Srilanka, Taunton (1999) This was one of the memorable innings by any Indian as Saurav Ganguly still holds the record for the highest individual score by an Indian in world Cups. With seven huge sixes, he was also part of a record partnership of 318 with Rahul Dravid, India thus reaching a huge score of 373. This game really was a confidence booster for India in the 1999 World Cup. Even if Srilanka was not having a good run at that time, an achievement like this against the big names like Chaminda Vaas and Muralitharan, is quite amazing..
2) 124 v Pakistan, Dhaka (1997/98) Indians seemed to be in big trouble as they were supposed to chase a big score above 300 against a tough bowling attack. Tendulkar blasted away from the start before falling before his fifty, but Ganguly continued and stabilised the innings and made a number of partnerships, setting a good platform for a thrilling end to the match, thus giving India one of its best victories, a run chase which will always be rememberd by the Indian fans.
3) 127 v South Africa, Johannesburg (2001/02) It is October 2001, Saurav Ganguly placed a fine shot on the off side off Shawn Pollock to get off the mark. Saurav who was not supposed to be at the best of his form, was smashing the ball to every corners of the field, Pollock suffering the most from it. There were some big blows all around the ground from this man, but a comparitively slower 101 from Tendulkar and as there was not much slogging in the end restricted India to 279/5 which South Africa chased with ease, thanks to the bowling of Srinath, Agarkar and Prasad.
4) 141 v Pakistan, Adelaide (1999/00) It is the tri-series consisting of India, Australia and Pakistan. India is facing trouble, about to be knocked out from the series, but not with the Prince of Kolkata on fire! Saurav scored his second century of the series in blistering style, and went after the bowling in the final overs and an Indian win was certain. 1999/00 really was the year of centuries for Saurav, an year which saw him as the most successful opening batsman.
5) 131 v England, Lords (1996) The year is 1996, and this is the first test match I watched from the beginning to the end. In the scorecard, 0my eyes got stuck at one name, SC Ganguly and I wondered who he was. What cae next was some of the best shots on the offside, and it didnt take much time for him to become only the third cricketer ever to score a century on debut at Lords, after Harry Graham and John Hampshire.
A few other ones: 130* Sri Lanka at Nagpur (1998/99) (This one was followed by a bowling performance of 4-22) 153* New Zealand at Gwalior (1999/00) (Gave India the edge in five match One Day series) 141* South Africa at Nairobi (2000/01) (Indians make their presence felt in the tri-series) 111* Kenya at Durban (2002/03) (Indians will no longer crumble before the weaker sides) 144 Australia at Brisbane (2003/04) (The captain is back to form against the best side)
It is a pity to see how a player of his class is treated by a player known for bad tactics (Greg Chappel) and a board of selectors who havent got even half the statistics that Saurav have. Even after playing much better than the other players of the team in the final test, if he is not selected for the next series, the selection team certainly is a bunch of jokers.
They already proved this by giving a One day specialist and a slogger like Saurav chance only in the test matches. Greg Chappel is busy talking about Shoaibs action and lets see if he is thinking something about the Indian team - atleast we are paying him a big amount! Wonder if this Australian is jealous, because Saurav beat his team in their own land.
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