Assertive, unapologetic, and unafraid. Former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly has always been an outspoken figure right from his playing days.
Much like his batting style, the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ has always been fiery and honest in putting forth his opinion which has earned him praise and respect from his peers.
While Ganguly has always been a quotable character, his remarks in the commentator’s box have elevated his forthright stature, and below, on the occasion of his 48th birthday, we list a few of his best quotes from his time as a terrific batsman and as an entertaining commentator:
‘Wankhede Is Our Mecca’
Iconic commentator Geoffrey Boycott was in the commentary box with Ganguly and asked the former Indian skipper about his iconic celebration on the balcony of the dressing room at Lord’s following India’s thrilling victory over England in the final of the 2003 Natwest Series.
Boycott quipped,” “You must mention your experience about taking your jersey off and flying it in the air at the Mecca of Cricket: Lord's! Oh, you naughty boy!” Ganguly quickly pointed out that it was Andrew Flintoff who did it first at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai during England’s Tour of India in 2002. The legendary commentator replied,” “Yeah, but Lord's is the Mecca of cricket,” to which Ganguly answered,” “Lord's is your Mecca, and Wankhede is ours!”
A remarkable reply.
‘Chappell better not call me’
Former Australian cricket coach Greg Chappell, who was the Indian cricket team coach from 2005 to 2007 oversaw a tumultuous time for Indian cricket. The period was particularly tougher for Ganguly who was suspended at the start of Chappell reign as a coach and soon had to forego the captaincy on Chappell’s demand.
India performed terribly on the field during that period and Chappell’s controversy-marred spell ended unceremoniously after India were ousted for the group stage of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. The war of words between Chappell and Indian cricketers has continued, but Ganguly’s stern warning to the Australian is the still most memorable quote from this beef.
Upon being asked if Chappell owes an apology to Indian cricket and in particular to Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and him, Ganguly said,” He can call up Tendulkar or Dravid. But he dare not dial my number. If he is hearing this on TV, he dare not call Sourav Ganguly.”
A loud and clear instruction to the Australian.
‘Eden Gardens belongs to me’
Before 2017, no stand in the Eden Gardens in Kolkata bore the name of a former Indian cricketer. Unlike cricket stadiums across the globe, where it is common practice to name a stand after a great cricketer, the iconic ground in Ganguly’s hometown had resisted doing so.
Current Indian cricket team coach during a commentary assignment asked Ganguly why there wasn’t a ‘Sourav Ganguly Stand’ at the Eden Gardens and ‘Dada’, very typically, replied,” The entire stadium belongs to me, Ravi."
The Bengal Tiger’s Durga Pooja reference
During the sixth match of the Tri-Series between India, England and Australia at Perth, Ganguly was in the commentary box on a rather quiet day in Perth. The former Indian skipper noted the attendance and couldn’t help but take a swipe at the low number.
“The attendance today is 7,653. We have that attendance in Durga Pooja,” joked the quick-witted Ganguly.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Prakash Singh