By both leading from the front and with macho posturing, like when he famously doffed his shirt at Lord's, Sourav Ganguly ushered in a new era of competitiveness in Indian cricket. But after five years as the country's most successful captain poor form and obduracy finally did him in. Cricinfo brings a recap of his captaincy saga.
Captains India for the first time in the Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge tournament, against West Indies as Sachin Tendulkar is rested due to a sore back. Brian Lara's cameo helps West Indies win the game.
Barely a week later, he leads India again in the Toronto Cricket Festival - with Tendulkar skipping the tournament due to an injury - against West Indies. India clinch the series 2-1.
February 21 2000
Tendulkar announces that he will step down as captain at the end of the two-test series against South Africa.
February 26 2000
Selectors name Ganguly as the captain for the ODI series against South Africa.
Ganguly becomes full-time captain as India beat South Africa in the ODI series. He scores amagnificent centuryand two fifties as India win by a 3-2 margin.
Ganguly heads a bunch of youngsters in the ICC Knock Out Trophy in Kenya. Aspectacular win against Australiain the league game is the highlight as India enter the final, where theylose to New Zealand. India go to Sharjah for the Champions Trophy tournament where they gettrounced in the final against Sri Lanka. But Ganguly, with his attacking captaincy, has done enough to restore the Indian fans' faith in the team.
Ganguly leads India for the first time in a Test match, against Bangladesh - making their debut - at Dhaka. A one-off fixture, India romp home by nine wickets; Ganguly scores 84.
Ganguly is in fine form, scoring a big century (144)in the second ODI against Zimbabwe and turning in an allround display in the fourth to clinch the series for India. Rahul Dravid leads India for the first time in the fifth and the final match of the series.
Ganguly's first outstanding achievement as captain. A resurgent India clinch an epic series at home against world champions Australia, after trailing 0-1, with athrilling two-wicketwin at Chennai. Ganguly's contributions with the bat are minimal, but his aggressive, innovative leadership and heroic marshalling of the younger players usher in a new era of competitiveness for India. Further, this series signifies the strong relationship forged between Ganguly and John Wright, the coach, and promises better times ahead for Team India.
India start their bad habit of losing in the finals. In Zimbabwe, theywin every league match but go on tolose the final against West Indies.
India lose in the final of the Coca-Cola Cup. The tournament marked the first time Sehwag opened the batting.
Amidst claims of a slump in batting, Ganguly hits an unbeaten 98 in thesecond Testagainst Sri Lanka at Kandy, after India again trail 0-1. Ganguly and Dravid put on 191 runs as India chase a fourth-innings target of 264. However, Sri Lanka clinch the third Test to win the series 2-1.
Another final,another loss, this time the Standard Bank Trophy to South Africa.
In an unprecedented and highly controversial action, Ganguly and five other Indian players are summoned by Mike Denness, the match-referee, and warned for excessive appealing during thesecond Test at Port Elizabeth. Ganguly is also accused of not controlling his players, and is punished with a suspended ban for one Test match and two one-day international matches. India lose the three-Test series 2-0, and the third is deemed unofficial by the ICC amidst threats of a revolt by India and the BCCI.
Another final-like situation awaits India. India lead England 3-2 as they face off for the sixth and final one-dayer at Mumbai. Despite Ganguly's 80, India, chasing 256, come close butlose by five runs. Andrew Flintoff takes off his shirt and runs on to the field, irking Ganguly who would do his revenge act at Lord's a few months later.
Ganguly hits 136 against Zimbabweat Delhi, his first hundred as captain and his first since November 1999, as India win by four wickets. In the ODI series, India recover from a 1-2 deficit to win 3-2.
India lose thefifth Testagainst West Indies to lose the series 2-1, and Team India looks to be running out of steam. Ganguly still manages to score 322 runs at 53.66, his unbeaten 75 in the second Test at Port-of-Spain contributing to a 37-run win.
For the first time after eight tours and almost 50 years, India win a matchat the Kensington Oval in Barbados and India go on to win the three-match ODI series.
India go to Lord's, for the final of the Natwest Series, with an awful record of nine final losses in a row, six of them under Ganguly. But a redemption awaits them at Lord's as Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif star in an amazing win. Ganguly doesn't forget Flintoff's celebration in India and does a little war dance after removing his shirt in the balcony of Lord's.
Ganguly scores a brilliant 128 against England in thethird Testat Leeds as India rack up 628 for 8 in its first innings. India draw the series 1-1, and walk away with the plaudits after a gritty show in the series.
It's World Cup time. Ganguly's scores three centuries albeit against weak sides in the league games and leads India to the World Cup final after 20 years. But the spectre of losing finalists comes back to haunt them as they are vanquished by Australia.
Another hundredin a tepid drawat Ahmedabad against New Zealand, does its job in silencing Ganguly's critics. However, he is ruled out of the second Test after having to undergo surgery to remove a boil from his inner thigh.
Ganguly's finest Test hundred as captain. His 144 in the first Test at Brisbane sets the tone for a fantastic series against the Australians. The rest of the team responds admirably as India draw the four-Test series 1-1, and return home as heroes.
India lose their way in the VB Series and lose another final.
India head into the fifth and final match against Pakistan on March 23 with the ODI series tied 2-2 and they manage to clinch the series,winning by 40 runs at Lahore.
Ganguly returns from a back injury to captain India in the final Test at Rawalpindi, scoring 77 out of India's mammoth 600 as they win their first overseas Test series in over a decade. The victory also made Ganguly the first captain to lead India to a series win in Pakistan, and he also became the most successful Indian captain with 15 Test wins, erasing Mohammad Azharuddin's record of 14.
India lose the first Test against Australia at Bangalore by 217 runs. Ganguly struggles both as a batsman and as a captain, and his withdrawal from the last two Tests due to injury leads to much media speculation and controversy.
Consecutive fifties against Bangladesh cannot quell calls for his sacking, and he looks uneasy at the crease against an energetic Bangladeshi attack.
The signs of his decline are obvious after a dismal showing in a drawn series at home against Pakistan. Inzamam-ul-Haq's sidetriumphs in the deciderat Bangalore, virtually signaling the end of the successful Ganguly-Wright relationship. Ganguly's batting hits an all-time low, with every bowler giving him a torrid time; even Shahid Afridi's inconspicuous leg-spin finds him wanting.
After the fourth ODI against Pakistan, with the 6-match ODI series tied 2-2, Ganguly is banned for six matches for a slow-over rate - he served out a four-match curtailed ban - and has to watch from the sidelines as India go down 2-4 to Pakistan.
The final act that brought the man down. Anuncharacteristically slow hundred against a depleted Zimbabwe at Bulawayo sends the critics into raptures, only for the controversial Ganguly-Greg Chappell saga to blow up in everyone's faces. Ganguly goes public with his dismay at Chappell's suggestions during the match that he step down from the captaincy, and the media goes wild. Chappell is not amused, maintaining that the Indian captain asked him for his honest opinion on his form and leadership in a private meeting between the two. The tour goes on, with India unsurprisingly sweeping Zimbabwe 2-0, but on the team's return to India Ganguly is publicly ostracised and calls for his sacking are the order of the day. Forty-eight hours after saying that he respected the Indian captain and looked forward to working with him in the future, Chappell fires off a damning memorandum to the BCCI.
Ganguly refuses to fade away. Hehits a centuryin the Duleep Trophy match against a strong North Zone attack to remind the world that he is not done yet.
Ganguly bags a pair, dismissed both times by the man he had handpicked, Zaheer Khan. And on November 22, the selectors end his five-year reign as Test captain when they pick Rahul Dravid to lead India in the Tests against Sri Lanka.
Hours after being removed as captain of the national team Sourav Ganguly steps down from Bengal captaincy.
January to March 2006
Ganguly was picked for the Test series in Pakistan. He did not bat in the first Test, was dropped for the second and scored 34 and 37 in the third at Karachi. His performance wasn't enough to secure a spot in the one-day series that followed. When the Test squad for the home series against England was announced, Ganguly's name wasn't in it .
After spending months on the sidelines, Ganguly, against all odds, was included in the squad for the Test series in South Africa. The Indian team's miserable form and the youngsters' failure to meet expectations contributed to his inclusion. Ganguly has the opportunity to resurrect his career on the hostile pitches in South Africa.