Former Indian captain and current BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly celebrates his 48th birthday on July 08, 2020 (Wednesday). Ganguly, born in Kolkata on this day in 1972, is widely celebrated as one of India’s most successful captains and among the greatest left-handed batsman cricket has witnessed. His elegant strokes through the covers earned him the nickname “God of the Offside”. Ganguly’s former India teammate Rahul Dravid, while describing Ganguly’s prowess in the finding the boundary with a simple stroke square of the wicket, once famously quoted “On the offside, there is God and then there is Sourav Ganguly.” Sourav Ganguly Says Life Will Be Normal Once the COVID-19 Vaccine Is Out.

Initially, written off after a disaster ODI debut against the West Indies, Ganguly made most of a second call-up to the national team and smashed a century on Test debut against England at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground. He went on and scored a second consecutive hundred in the very next Test and didn’t have look back from there.

Just four years within his maiden Test appearance, Ganguly was handed the captaincy, after then skipper Sachin Tendulkar resigned from the role, at a time when Indian cricket was rocked by massive spot-fixing allegations. But Ganguly lifted the country and helped India take first steps towards greatness yet again. As the ‘Maharaj’ of Indian cricket turns 48, take a look at some interesting facts about Sourav Ganguly.

  1. Sourav Ganguly was born to Shri Chandidas and Nirupa Ganguly in Behala, Kolkata on July 8, 1972
  2. Ganguly was initially a right-handed batsman but it is believed he shifted to a left-handed batsman so that he could use his elder brother’s (who was left-handed) cricket kit
  3. He was nicknamed ‘Maharaj’ (greatest king) by his father. Later renowned cricket commentator Geoffrey Boycott gave him the title ‘Prince of Calcutta’
  4. Ganguly is one of only five batsmen to score a century on Test debut at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Harry Graham (1893), John Hampshire (1969), Andrew Strauss (2004) and Matt Prior (2007) are the other cricketers to achieve the feat
  5. His score of 131 on debut in 1996 remains the highest score by any international debutant cricketer at Lord’s
  6. Sourav Ganguly was the first Indian cricketer to score a century in a World Cup knockout match. Only Rohit Sharma (137 vs Bangladesh in 2015) has managed to equal that record
  7. He is the only cricketer to win four successive Man of the Match award in ODIs. He won it against Pakistan between September 14 and September 21, 1997
  8. Ganguly is also only third cricketer to score a hundred in World Cup semi-finals and lead his team to the final. Aravinda de Silva and Mahela Jayawardene are the others
  9. Sourav Ganguly is one of only five cricketers to have completed the treble of 10,000 runs, 100 wickets and 100 catches in ODI cricket
  10. He holds a unique record of facing the first-ever delivery in the Indian Premier League’s history. In the inaugural IPL match in 2008, Ganguly faced the opening delivery of the match and the bowler was Praveen Kumar
  11. An apartment complex in Kolkata was renamed after Ganguly and is called the ‘Sourav Housing Complex’
  12. Ganguly also has a road named after him in the City of Joy. It is called the ‘Sourav Ganguly Avenue’ and is a 1.5 km road in Rajarhat

One of India’s most successful captain, Ganguly enjoyed an illustrious career of 16 years before calling it quits in 2008. He played his last international match on November 6, 2008, against Australia. He scored a first-ball duck in his final innings and set the rare record of scoring a century on debut and a duck in last innings. Ganguly represented India in 113 Test matches and scored 7212runs while he also played 311 ODIs and amassed 11,363 runs for the national team. Happy Birthday Maharaj!

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 07, 2020 09:30 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website