Cricket board honours Sourav Ganguly on his 100th Test


Melbourne : Sourav Ganguly became the seventh Indian to play 100 Tests at the Boxing Day Test match against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here Wednesday.

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At 35 years and 170 days, he is the oldest Indian to get to the 100-Test mark, though he is the third fastest to do it.

Ganguly was honoured with a silver plaque, presented to him by the secretary of the Indian board, Niranjan Shah. He received another plaque from skipper Anil Kumble on behalf of his teammates.

The first Indian to play hundred Tests, Sunil Gavaskar, presented Ganguly a bottle of bubbly on behalf of the ESPN commentary team.

Two other former captains and members of the hundred Tests club, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, stood alongside Ganguly when the national anthem was played.

Dravid, who made his Test debut along with Ganguly at Lord’s in 1996, is the quickest Indian to play 100 Tests.

Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar, the current chairman of selectors, are the other Indians in the elite club. All seven have captained India in Tests.

Having made his Test debut at 23, Ganguly has gone through his highs and lows. He made a century on debut against England and followed it up with another at Nottingham. Most recently, he cracked a career-best double century in his 99th Test against Pakistan in Bangalore before the team left for Australia.

He took over as captain in 2000 and celebrated it as the highest run-getter in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. His best time came in 2001 when he led India to a 2-1 victory over Australia at home after losing the first Test.

In July 2002, Ganguly scored a century in the Test series against England that India managed to draw 1-1 and he then became the first Indian captain to win a Test series in Pakistan in 2004. Later in the season, he was under fire for withdrawing from the last two Tests against Australia after losing the first by a huge margin. Dravid then led the side to a face-saving victory in the last Test in Mumbai to make the series 1-2.

Next year, Ganguly’s batting form deserted him against Pakistan and the loss in the Bangalore Test to allow the visitors to level the series not only ended his partnership with coach John Wright but also raised questions about his own position in the side.

He could not pull on with new coach Greg Chappell who had suggested that he should drop himself from the eleven in Zimbabwe. His running battle with Chappell resulted in his being sacked and the installation of Dravid as the captain for the series against Sri Lanka.

After a none-too happy series in Pakistan, Ganguly was dropped for the series against England at home but returned to the side in South Africa when the team did not do well in the one-dayers.

He played a notable hand in India winning a Test with a fifty and did not look back after that. He went on to score a hundred at his home ground Eden Gardens against Pakistan and then that double century and a near hundred in the second innings of the Bangalore Test.