He's one person who has shown tenacity time and again he's been ignored, he's shown people why he deserves respect! Looking back, there was a time when Indian cricket was plagued by match fixing controversies when a young lad was called upon to lead the team! That guy was someone who turned a bunch of guys with potential into a success-hungry individuals, and most importantly made them a united group. He's the one who developed the team into the Men in Blue! Sehwag, Bhajji, Yuvi- all are the results of this Bong's habit of giving them chances! Although he was credited as the most successful skipper of the nation until we won the WC '11, I still believe his aggression was more fruitful. God knows what would have happened had the Men in Blue beaten the Aussies in the '03 final...
Scoring just 3 in his ODI debut, he was immediately dropped. Rumors have it that he refused to carry drinks and wear the worn out shoes of the then captain, Azhar! However he performed well in the following Ranji seasons, and recalled for the historic Lords test back in '95 (owing to a few injuries), where he scored a century on his debut that's what I call a BANG(Even the other debutant Dravid scored a century)!
The most prominent time of his career was the Friendship Cup back in '97 conducted between India and Pakistan. He bagged the man of the match awards from the 2nd to the 5th ODIs straight. India won the series 4-1. He was the highest scorer (222 runs) and the highest wicket taker as well (15 wickets). Then came the '99 WC, where he was the third highest scorer. After the South Africa tour of India, he was made the skipper and he steered the team to test series triumph against the Aussies in '01, the Natwest in '02 and the finals of the '03 WC!
However, he continued performing well in tests but retired in Oct '08!
Then came the IPL controversy. In '09, the then KKR coach, Buchanan announced his 'multiple captains' theory, which of course was a controversy against Dada! Finally, though, McCullum was made the skipper, due to which, he relocated from WK to cover and started dropping simple catches! Although he was restored in '10 and Buchanan literally kicked out, he got the axe in IPL 4 where he wasn't picked up by any team! He eventually made a comeback with the Pune Warriors, (after they had lost 7 straight matches) but haven't lost a match since his inclusion!
He always has been a fantastic player on the off side, where, it is said that there's Dada first and then God! An awesome player of spin bowling (in particular Slow Left Arm), the trademark sixes straight down the pitch were an eye candy which I miss a lot nowadays. As my cousin wrote in her book, 'Sourav Ganguly: the Fire Within', "Due to excellent eye–hand coordination, he was noted for picking the length of the ball early, coming down the pitch and hitting the ball aerially over mid-on or midwicket, often for a six." (For budding cricketers, hand-eye coordination develops when you play computer games like FIFA.) His medium pacers have often been useful for India and at times, KKR.
He has been India's most successful Test Captain (come on Dhoni, you're yet to beat this one!), the 7th Indian to play 100 tests, 3rd to surpass 300 ODIs, 2nd (5th in the world) to get to 10k ODI runs and 4th to score 11k, not to forget the treble of 10k runs, 100 wickets and 100 catches (although I do agree he has buttery fingers :P but he did improve in the IPL). He's the most aggressive captain India (or maybe the world) has ever seen. Who else could have made Steve Waugh wait at the toss during India's 2001 triumph? Many would have forgotten Flintoff taking off his shirt and running around Wankhede after a win in '02, not Dada. He showed even he can do the same, this time at Lords, after India won the Natwest series of '02 after a dramatic cameback by Kaif and Yuvi! While Sachin Tendulkar will always be remembered as the greatest and most loved, Dada will stand tall as the leader who commanded the respect and admiration of not only his team mates but of the opposition too.
The world is supposedly gonna end on 21st Dec 2012. On 22nd Dec, Sourav Ganguly is gonna make a comeback :P