Former India cricket skipper Sourav Ganguly celebrates his 44th birthday on Friday. The flamboyant left-handed batsman, who is currently the second-most successful Indian Test skipper of all time, was wished by his fans, well-wishers and members of the cricket fraternity from all over the world.
Having made his One-Day International (ODI) debut against West Indies during the triangular series in 1992, Ganguly had to wait for more than four years to get his big break in Test cricket. When he finally got his chance in the Lord's Test against England in the summer of 1996, he made his entry in the longest format with a bang by scoring 131 on debut. Indian cricket was never the same thereafter.
After Indian cricket hit rock-bottom following the match-fixing scandal in 2000, 'Dada', as he is popularly known as, took over as the captain of the team, and ushered Indian cricket in a new era ushered.
Among his most memorable moments as captain was the 2001 Test series series win over Steve Waugh's world-beating Australians, winning the Natwest Trophy in 2002 with an epic run-chase in the final, winning both the Test and ODI series in the 2004 tour of Pakistan, as well as a 1-1 Test series draw against Australia in their backyard in 2003-04.
Under Ganguly, India's overseas performances received a major boost, and an overall attitude of aggression and fearlessness was infused in their performances.
Having retired from international cricket in 2008, Ganguly's could not enjoy similar fortunes in the Indian Premier League, where he captained Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as well as Pune Warriors India (PWI). However, it was his appointment as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) following the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya, then Ganguly kicked off a new chapter in life, this time as an administrator. Among his contributions so far is the introduction of pink-ball cricket in India, with the final of the CAB Super League (a four-day match) being played under floodlights.
Ganguly was wished by several of his teammates, current Indian cricketers, as well as members of the global cricket fraternity, fans and well-wishers on Facebook and Twitter. The ICC, BCCI and even the Lord's cricket grounds took to the social media to mark the occasion.
— ICC (@ICC) July 8, 2016
— BCCI (@BCCI) July 8, 2016
Happy birthday to India legend & MCC World Cricket committee member @SGanguly99.
A 100 on Test debut at Lord's! pic.twitter.com/7ILYJYUVhf
— Lord's Ground (@HomeOfCricket) July 8, 2016
Ganguly's former team-mates such as Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble couldn't be left behind either. Kumble, who is the current head coach of the Indian cricket team, is said to have received Ganguly's backing for the job.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) July 8, 2016
Happy birthday @SGanguly99! May the almighty shower lots of love and blessings!
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) July 8, 2016
Some cherished memories with dada..thnks a lot dada .. pic.twitter.com/UXUdqEg2PT
— Sreesanth (@sreesanth36) July 8, 2016
— parthiv patel (@parthiv9) July 8, 2016
Hi ganguly prince of calcutta.wish u happy birthday.may god bless u wth all the happiness in life @SGanguly99
— Kris Srikkanth (@KrisSrikkanth) July 8, 2016
— Manoj Tiwary (@tiwarymanoj) July 8, 2016
Leading Indian cricket commentator and sports presenter Harsha Bhogle shared an interesting note on 'Dada', citing that the best is probably yet to come for the accomplished sports personality.
There are the non-cricket personalities, especially West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, actor Prosenjit Chatterjee, celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor were among the other well-known personalities outside cricket to wish Ganguly.
Birthday greetings to @SGanguly99 Wish you all the success and happiness in life
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 8, 2016
— Prosenjit Chatterjee (@prosenjitbumba) July 8, 2016
— Sanjeev Kapoor (@SanjeevKapoor) July 8, 2016