The current BCCI President and one of the most impactful captains of all time to have led the Men In Blue, Sourav Ganguly is at the heart of Indian cricket. People who love him call him Dada and people who hate him, don’t exist.
But as much as the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ revolutionised the game of bat and ball in this country, he has been infamous for his temperament and outspoken attitude, which has landed him in hot waters more than a few times during his career as an Indian cricketer.
Here are five controversies about Sourav Ganguly that his die-hard fans would probably want to forget:
1. Playing Like ‘Prince Charles’?
Andrew Flintoff in his book Being Freddie, spoke about how Ganguly made it very difficult for his Lancashire teammates during the 2000 county season to like him.
“Ganguly just didn’t work out at all,” he wrote. “You can accept a player not playing well, because we all have our ups and downs in our career, but he just didn’t want to get involved.
“He wasn’t interested in the other players and it became a situation where it was 10 players and Ganguly in the team. He turned up as if he was royalty – it was like having Prince Charles on your side.
Flintoff also spoke of rumours about how Ganguly used to ask other people to carry his kit. “Although he never asked me,” he added
2. Calling Rahul Dravid Out In Public
In an interview with Headlines Today in 2011, Ganguly called out Rahul Dravid for not being able to stand up to Greg Chappel during his era of captaincy.
“Rahul Dravid is such type of a person who wants that everything goes smoothly. He knew that things were going wrong, but he had no courage to revolt and tell him (Chappell) that he was doing wrong,” Ganguly said.
Talking about how he was asked to give up his leadership ahead of the Zimbabwe series in 2005, he said: “Obviously, whatever happened with me a year ago in Zimbabwe and the kind of furore that followed any captain would think that I peacefully play cricket which is right also.”
A few days later, Dravid, in a rare incident, hit back and addressed the former skipper’s statement.
“If Ganguly is saying I could not control Greg Chappell, he is entitled to an opinion. He has played many years for India,” he told Headlines Today. “But he can’t put words in my mouth as I have never had any such conversation with him.”
3. Faked Injury To Avoid Batting In Difficult Conditions?
Imagine someone like Sourav Ganguly, the man who once whirled his jersey around after India won the NatWest Cup in 2002 at Lord’s, being so scared of batting in difficult conditions that he resorted to faking injuries. Well, at least that’s what former Indian coach and Ganguly’s arch-nemesis Greg Chappell wrote in his book, Fierce Focus.
“He was retiring hurt, yet he appeared to have no injury. I suggested he go for an MRI scan, but he declined. I’d seen a lot of excuses over my years from guys who didn’t want to bat in difficult conditions, but normally they were more subtle than this,” he wrote.
“He, in my view, was simply frightened of a failure before the test series.”
Chappell’s remarks about Ganguly dodging unfavourable conditions to play on, were the first. Australia’s Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden have both talked about how ahead of the third Test between India and Australia in 2004 both Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh backed out from playing because of a grassy surface.
In Standing My Ground, Hayden wrote: “We put their ailments down to acute cases of ‘greentrackitis’, where you develop a severe intolerance to green wickets likely to give you nothing as a spin bowler and plenty of headaches as a batsman.”
5. Making Opposition Wait On The Field
In 2006, speaking at the Hindustan Times Summit, Ganguly admitted that he was deliberately late for the toss against Steve Waugh for a 2001 series in order to teach him a lesson or two about rude behaviour.
However, Waugh in his autobiography Out of My Comfort Zone shares that he was annoyed by Ganguly’s “continued petulance” in being late for the toss and mentions that he was late “seven times” during that series.
Seven years later, in an IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals, Ganguly was late once again which led to RR skipper Shane Warne losing his cool during the post-match conference.