Indian cricket witnessed tremendous transformation under the Sourav Ganguly regime, who took a team in doldrums to make it a champion side.
Under Ganguly, India went on to conquer grounds across the seven seas, a feat which remained unknown to Indian cricket for a long time.
Even former captain Nasser Hussain had his say on Ganguly’s contribution to Indian cricket. Before Ganguly’s era, Hussain affirmed that Indians were a ‘nice’ team. But it was Ganguly who was instrumental in making them into a ‘tough’ team.
It is sheerly due to the aggressive and fierce attitude he instilled within the Indian team during the early 2000s.
One of the greatest illustrations of the fact was the 2002 Champions Trophy Final in Sri Lanka. Cricketer-turned-commentator, Russel Arnold, faced the wrath of Ganguly, who gave him a mouthful after the former appeared to deliberately run between the restricted area of the pitch, to help Lankan spinners later in the match.
Now, Arnold shared details about his confrontation with the former Indian skipper. During the final few overs of the Lanka innings, Arnold and Co. were gearing up for the late assault on the Indian bowlers.
“Okay, I can be honest now. It’s been 18 years now. I took 2-3 steps down. Everyone does it. Sourav Ganguly came up immediately and made some noise, confronted me,” Arnold told Ashwin during an online talk show, ‘Reminisce with Ash’.
Arnold, after cutting the ball late, appeared to commit a single but decided not to opt for the run. Rahul Dravid, who was keeping wickets, objected to Arnold’s attempt to run on the danger area.
What followed was a few unparliamentary words exchanged by Ganguly, which took interventions from umpires Steve Bucknor and David Shepherd.
“Nothing happened. Then Rahul Dravid told me ‘Russ, don’t run on the (danger area) of the pitch’. It was just banter,” added the former all-rounder.
“When we are playing with Sourav… he is a fierce competitor. He will give as good as he gets. It’s also a bit easy to wind him up. He always has replies. It was good banter. Nothing more than that. It’s all in the game. It was all in the game,” recalled the 46-year-old.
“It was all in good spirits. I really think it was overblown. It was just three steps… 3 strides,” concluded Arnold.