The Sourav Seesaw

A look-back on the ups and downs of India's most successful Test captain ever
The Sourav Seesaw
The Sourav Seesaw
outlookindia.com
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January, 1992: Makes ODI debut against Australia, scores just 3 before being dropped.

June, 1996: Scores century against England at the Lord's in his Test debut and follows it up with another century in the very next Test at Trent Bridge.

October, 1996:  Opens the innings for the first time in an ODI at Jaipur against South Africa, marking the beginning of what would be the greatest opening combination in ODI history, with Sachin Tendulkar. He scores 54, Tendulkar 64, in a 126-run stand.

August, 1997: Scores his first ODI century in Colombo against Sri Lanka in his 32nd match. This comes in the wake of 147 in the second Test, an innings responsible for drawing the Test. 

September, 1997: Leading scorer and wicket-taker in the Sahara Cup as India thrash Pakistan 4-1. He scored 222 runs at 55.5 and 15 wickets at 10.66. Wins four Man-of-the-Match awards in five matches and Man of the Series.

November-December, 1997: Top scorer and Man of the Series in the three-Test home series against Sri Lanka with 392 runs at an average of 98.

January, 1998:  Scores 124 against Pakistan as India score 316 in 47.5 overs to win the Independence Cup in Dhaka. It is at that time the highest successful run-chase in ODI history, 

July, 1998:  Scores 109 against Sri Lanka in Colombo, in the then highest opening stand in ODIs. He and Tendulkar (128) put together 252 runs as India win the Singer-Akai-Nidahas Trophy final by six runs. 

May, 1999: Scores 183 in Taunton against Sri Lanka in the World Cup, then highest ODI score by an Indian. His 318-run partnership with Rahul Dravid (145) is the then highest partnership ever. India's 373 for 6 is the then second-highest ODI total ever.

September, 1999: Captains India for the first time in the Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge tournament, against West Indies after Tendulkar pulled out due to sore back.

February, 2000: Joins Lancashire.

February, 2000: Named captain for the five-ODI home series against South Africa after Tendulkar resigned as captain

March, 2001: Led India to 2-1 win against Australia at home in the historic Test series, after being one down and following on with the victory in Calcutta after following-on setting the benchmark for India's most successful captain ever.

November, 2001: Ganguly and five other Indian players are warned for excessive appealing during the Port Elizabeth Test by match-referee Mike Denness. Handed a suspended ban for one Test match and two one-day international matches.

July, 2002: In what would be remembered as an iconic moment of his aggressive captaincy, he took off his shirt and waved it defiantly at the Lord's balcony after an improbable win in the NatWest Series final to round off impressive back-to-back tours of West Indies and England. Before this, India had lost as many as last nine finals it played in a row, six of which were under Ganguly. He also scored a century in the Test series that followed as India draw the series 1-1.

March, 2003:  Scores a century in the World Cup semi-final as India make it to the final, for the first time since 1983, under his captaincy

December, 2003: Scores a brilliant counter-attacking century in a tricky situation in the first Test at Brisbane to set the tone for Indian batsmen on the Australian tour. 

April, 2004: Becomes the first Indian captain to win a Test series in Pakistan. Also with 15 Test wins, he becomes India's most successful captain. India also win the five-ODI series too by a margin of 3-2. 

October, 2004: India lose the first Test against Australia in Bangalore by 217 runs. He struggles both as batsman and as captain, and withdraws from the last two Tests due to injury. Australia finally capture the final frontier, a victory against India in India that they were denied in 2001, with a 2-1 series win -- first time in 35 years that India lost a home series against Australia.

March, 2005: The bad patch begins in real earnest. Scores 48 runs in the series against Pakistan at 9.60. Pakistan wins the decider at Bangalore, drawing the series and virtually signalling the end of the successful Ganguly-Wright relationship. 

April, 2005: Banned for six matches for slow-over rate during the ODI series in Pakistan. Has to sit out the fiftth and sixth match as India go down to lose series 2-4 to Pakistan.

September, 2005: Scores an excruciatingly slow hundred against a depleted Zimbabwe and goes public at the award ceremony that Indian coach Greg Chappell had suggested during the match that he should step down from the captaincy. Chappell says he was asked for his honest opinion on his form and leadership in a private meeting between the two. India beat Zimbabwe 2-0. 

September 2005: The Captain vs Coach is out in the open. Greg Chappell e-mail to BCCI is leaked: 'It Is Time For Him To Move On' 

November, 2005: End of five-year reign as Test captain as Rahul Dravid takes over the reins against Sri Lanka.

January 2006: Amidst major controversy, is picked for the Test series in Pakistan. Does not bat in the first Test, dropped for the second, and scores 34 and 37 in the third in Karachi. Not selected for the ODI series that followed. Is not picked for the home Tests against England or for the ODI series against South Africa.

December, 2006: Picked for Test series against South Africa, after India loses all the ODIs. Scores a half-century with the tail in the Johannesburg Test, as India reach a crucial 249 and win by 123 runs. He is the leading run-getter for India in the series.

January, 2007: Scores 98 in his ODI comeback in Nagpur against West Indies.

May, 2007: Scores an even 100 in Chittagong, his third century in three-and-a-half years -- Bulawayo, 2005 and Brisbane, 2003. 

July-August, 2007: Scores 249 runs at 49.80 in India's series win in England to cement his place in both Test and ODI squads.

November-December, 2007: Top scorer (534) and man of the series in the three-Test series against Pakistan with first Test century at his home ground at Eden Gardens. Slams his first double-century in Bangalore.

December 2007-January 2008: A mixed Test series in Australia (235 runs at 29.37, two half-centuries). Axed from ODI squad.

April, 2008: Scores a serene 87 to help India level the three-Test series against South Africa on an under-prepared, dual-paced pitch in Kanpur

7 October, 2008: In what seemed like a routine press-conference, he first denied speculation that the BCCI is trying to force the 'fab five' to retire. But as the press-conference was winding up, he came out with what was a carefully scripted announcement, made to sound almost like a by-the-way:  "Just one last thing before I leave. I just want to say that this is going to be my last series. I've decided to quit. I told my team-mates before coming here. These four Test matches are going to be my last and hopefully we'll go on a winning note."

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