Sourav Ganguly with the 2002 NatWest Series trophy.
Over the years, there have been many great memories of Indian cricket – from the 1983 World Cup win to Anil Kumble’s 10-wicket haul at Kotla and the 2011 World Cup victory at home. However, there are only a few greater victories which can evoke the same emotions from an Indian cricket fan than what happened on this day 16 years ago at the ‘Mecca of Cricket’.
On July 13, 2002, India defeated England at Lord’s to win the NatWest series final. It was a blockbuster match which got its perfect climax. It was a day when a generation of Indian cricketers overcame the demons of chasing and tasted the feeling of winning away from home. It was a day when Sourav Ganguly, the then captain of the Indian team, took his shirt off, wildly twirled it in the air at the Lord’s balcony and extracted revenge from England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who had gone topless to celebrate an England win at the Wankhede a few months earlier.
Reflecting on the famous win, Sourav Ganguly, in an exclusive chat with IndiaTV, recalled what went through his mind on that glorious day of England summer.
“It feels great. The win was great… beating England in England in the Tri-series, especially with a strong Sri Lanka then. So, it was remarkable,” Ganguly told IndiaTV from London.
Well, it was indeed remarkable. England had set India a daunting target of 326 after batting first. India started off the chase well but suddenly collapsed from 100-0 to 145-5. But then, two young guns – Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif – ensured the day belonged to the visitors. The moment Zaheer Khan hit the winning runs, the camera turned to the Lord’s balcony where Ganguly was showing the world how to celebrate.
— BCCI (@BCCI) July 13, 2018
So, was it pre-planned?
“No. Nothing wasn’t pre-planned. I had not thought about it. Just happened at the heat of the moment. It was just normal. There was no after thought. It was just that we won and we beat England in England. It just happened,” recalled Ganguly.
On Saturday, the Indian team, this time led by Virat Kohli, will be on the cusp of another ODI series win against England and at the same venue.
Ganguly feels history will repeat itself tomorrow. “They have been in superb form in the T20I and ODI series… they will be the favourites to win the series at Lord’s tomorrow,” he said.
Will it spark another wild celebrations from Ganguly, who will be at the commentary box at Lord’s?
“Are you mad?,” laughed off Dada.