Nineties was definitely not the most impressive decade for Indian cricket. After a couple of captaincy stints each by Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar, India badly needed a stable leader.
Sourav Ganguly took charge of the Indian cricket team just two months into the new millennium. India were going through a lean patch then and had just return from Australia totally outplayed. But, Ganguly's aggressive captaincy brought a sea-change in the attitude of the young Indian side.
He changed the image of the Indian captain and the result was a series of notable triumphs in Tests and ODIs. His bold and no nonsense approach meant that the Indian team took on the toughest opposition on level terms and matched them in all departments of the game.
Under his leadership the Indian team notched up notable Test victories in England, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka besides registering a historic series triumph in Pakistan. The record in ODIs was no less impressive - a magnificent triumph in the NatWest Trophy in England in 2002, the sharing of the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka later the same year, an unexpected berth in the 2003 World Cup final in South Africa, finishing runners up in the Champions Trophy in Nairobi in 2000.
But perhaps the finest feat was the Test series victory against Australia in 2001 - arguably the greatest ever triumph at home - a contest in which Ganguly matched Steve Waugh in tactical skill on the field and mental strength off it.
If he emerged as the most successful Indian captain - winning 21 of his record 49 Tests - as a batsman he continued to contribute consistently fitting in admirably in the lustrous middle order before retiring in 2008.In Image: Sourav Ganguly jubilates as he lifts the Natwest Trophy
Text: Partab Ramchand