It is a known fact that Sourav Ganguly was an astute and a strong captain, who led India to some of the most emphatic victories during his era. The Prince of Kolkata took the captaincy when India reeled after the match-fixing scandal involving Mohammad Azharuddin. By leading the men in blue to victories against Australia and England across formats, Sourav Ganguly triggered a competitive spirit amongst the Indian team.
But Ganguly’s batting credentials don’t lay too far behind either. With over 18000 runs across formats, he was one of the best top-order batsmen of his era. The BCCI President shared many match-winning and swashbuckling partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag during his heydays. Meanwhile, former India selector and coach reveals the advice he gave to Ganguly, which was the turning point.
Madan Lal firmly told the left-handed to avoid batting at number five and move to the top of the order. Madan wanted to utilize him better, and a shift to the opening position paid off well as Sourav Ganguly made 54 in an ODI against South Africa in Jaipur in October 1996. Following his knock of 54, he became a regular opener alongside Sachin Tendulkar. The southpaw became a regular member in the Indian team in 1996 and used to bat at number three and shifted to number five but couldn’t achieve anything monumental.
“We wanted to utilise Dada. I don’t know if he remembers or not. I told him ‘Dada, nothing will happen batting at no. 5. You should directly open.” Lal stated as quoted by Sportskeeda.
And then he never looked back: Lal on Sourav Ganguly
The 69-year old went on to mention that the former captain accepted his suggestion and executed it to perfection. Madan Lal commended Sachin’s and Sourav’s partnership, which was quite popular and crafted several match-winning stands for India.
“So, I told him, he was like ‘okay’. And then he never looked back. Sachin and Sourav’s partnership has been really popular for India – the two won a lot of matches for India. I was a coach at the time. I vaguely remember I might have told him this during the Sri Lanka tour.” the former India cricketer added.