Ganguly returns home to hero’s welcome


Kolkata : Riding on the crest of success, former Team India captain Sourav Ganguly returned to a hero’s welcome here after his stupendous performance in the Test series against Pakistan.

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Braving the chill, a large crowd began gathering at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport here since early Wednesday evening to welcome the local boy who landed late in the night.

Waving placards, posters, banners and tricolours, the crowd waited for hours to catch a glimpse of the local boy. The flight was late, but Ganguly’s fans stood patiently.

All hell broke loose as the southpaw, declared man-of-the-match of the final Test in Bangalore and man-of-the-series against Pakistan, emerged from the VIP gate just a little before 11 p.m.

Flashbulbs popped and microphones were shoved towards Ganguly. Drumbeats, conch shells and slogans of “Dada-Dada” rent the air as fans jostled for just one look at the man, who had staged one of the greatest comebacks in cricketing history.

Security personnel found it difficult to control the crowd. The situation turned so chaotic that Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) authorities could not garland Ganguly and hand to content themselves with just handing over the tricolour to him.

As things threatened to go out of hand, the Kolkata hero was whisked away in a car with two police convoys escorting him.

Ganguly hit 239 and 91 in the first and the second innings respectively of the Bangalore Test match against Pakistan and became the first batsman in the world to post a double century and a ninety in the same Test match.

For the first time in his career, he amassed 1,000 runs in a calendar year – 1023 runs (ave.63.93) including three centuries and four fifties in nine Tests. His previous best year in terms of run-aggregate was 2002, aggregating 945 runs at an average of 41.08 in 16 Tests in 2002.

Ganguly aggregated 534 runs in the series at an average of 89.00 – the second best tally by an Indian batsman in a three-Test series, next only to Virender Sehwag’s tally of 544, including two centuries, against Pakistan in India in 2004-05.

He will now play his 100th Test in Melbourne in December.