Sometimes, even the toughest crack under pressure. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Saturday, revealed that he had lost all hopes of winning the 2002 NatWest series final against England. But after Zaheer Khan hit the winning runs it was Ganguly who stole all the limelight. No one can ever forget that iconic celebration from the skipper himself, as cricket fans round the world watched a bare-chested Dada waving his shirt around on top of the Lord’s balcony.
India being asked to chase 326, lost 5 wickets for 40 runs after openers Ganguly (60) and Virender Sehwag (45) took the score to 106 quickly. But the middle-order collapsed with Dinesh Mongia, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, all going back to the pavilion within half an hour.
In comes Yuvraj Singh and his partner Mohammed Kaif. The duo joined forces and bailed India out of danger with their 121-run partnership for the sixth wicket. And legend says Ganguly did not leave his seat on the Lord’s balcony and didn’t let any of his teammates to move from their positions either! Yuvraj got out on 69 but Kaif continued to disappoint the English bowlers and batted with the tail-enders guiding India to a famous 2-wicket victory with just 3 balls to spare.
“No, no I didn’t believe at all (of an Indian victory). I thought one more final was gone. And I was sitting in the corner, angry with myself and the team that we let teams to get 300 in a final, why can’t we get them out for 250 in a final and then chase it!” Dada said in an event.
When asked about his shirt-waving celebration at the Mecca of Cricket, he claimed it was out of sheer excitement and that he wouldn’t even think of doing something like that again.
“Madness (taking off the shirt at Lord’s balcony). It was just happiness. We had never won a final up until then. We had lost 3-4 finals before that. Then we came here and we were down and out. 146 for 5 and the game was over. One wicket and we would have been done.
“250 for 5 then 260 for 5. Then we lose Yuvraj. We again go down in the dumps. Then Harbhajan plays a cameo, Kaif stays at one end. Kumble gets out when he was not out in the penultimate over, then last over we needed 3 or 4 to win.
“So it (taking off the shirt) was just happiness nothing else. Just happiness and youth. When you’re young you do whole lot of things in your life. This stage, I’m 46 now, I sit back and see that moment and think, ‘Oh god why did I do that?’. When you’re young you do certain things.”