Kolkata: It has been nine long years since he bid adieu to the game at the highest level but still those cracking cover drives, those glorious sixes over long-on and that winning roar, are engraved in the minds of ardent cricket fans all over the world. Taking over the reins of the team at a point when Indian cricket had been rocked with the evil of spot-fixing, he built the side and took it to greater heights which gave the Indian team the image of being a top side that it is today.
Making his Test debut against a top quality English attack at the iconic Lord’s Stadium many would have thought that the 24- year old would succumb to the pressure and perish. But what followed next set the tone for the rest of his career as people all around knew that man with intent and aggression has stepped into the cricket field and isn’t going to leave until he makes a mark.
Well indeed, six years later he made a mark at the same stadium when he waved his shirt at the Lords’ balcony after India beat England in a thrilling contest to clinch the NatWest trophy. That shirt-waving wasn’t a mere celebration, it was his way of announcing to the world that the Indians were not going to give it back if anyone messed with them. It was under his captaincy that the Indian team got some exciting cricketers like Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Harbhajan Singh to name a few who went on to play major roles in Indian cricket and make some memories which no Indian would ever forget.
Leading his team to it’s first World Cup final in 20 years , his career wasn’t free from controversies. He got involved in one of the most infamous spats in the history of cricket with the then coach Greg Chappell following which he was not only removed as the captain but was also sacked from the team. The next year, he was also removed as the Test captain.
Although he was recalled to the team later that year, India’s disastrous World Cup campaign in 2007 resulted in a lot of criticisms and tough times followed for the men in blue.
That didn’t deter him from from emerging as one of the top run-getters in 2007. In the South Africa tour preceding that, he made an epic comeback, which has set an example for not only cricketers but athletes all over the world that giving up isn’t an option.
Although he hung up his boots in 2008, he continued his association with Indian cricket and even today, he is a part of the BCCI appointed Cricket Advisory Committee and other bodies besides rendering his services as the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal.
The pride of Bengal, ” Dada” is revered by the cricketing fraternity all across the globe. The man who is no less an inspiration at 45 continues to set new standards of greatness. From SportsCrunch, we wish the legend a very happy birthday!