London: Sourav Ganguly was a pleasant surprise at the presentation party for the ICC Champions Trophy final at Edgbaston on Sunday night. Dressed in a sky blue suit, when the former Test captain presented the Golden Bat and Golden Ball to Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja, respectively, a glorious and golden past met the future of Indian cricket.
June and the English summer has been very special for Ganguly. Seventeen years ago on June 22, he scored a century (131) on debut at Lord's. It was the second Test against England and two dramatic events changed the lives of two rookie batsmen. Navjot Singh Sidhu had walked out of the team under Mohammed Azharuddin's captaincy and Sanjay Manjrekar was indisposed. Ganguly and Rahul Dravid thus made their debuts. Ganguly became the 10th Indian to smash a century on debut while Dravid fell just five runs short of the coveted three-figure mark. Both went to lead India in Test cricket.
Today, Ganguly is arguably one of the world's best TV analysts of the game. Pushing 41, he remains a crowd-puller. During the Champions Trophy, he was often seen doing his live TV stints, outdoors. Whether it was The Oval, Edgbaston or Cardiff, chants of "Dada, Dada" clearly showed he was more popular than a Sunil Gavaskar, a Kapil Dev or a Navjot Singh Sidhu.