The Natwest Series final between England and India in 2002 at the Lord’s is one of the best triumphant chapters from Indian cricketing history. And what makes the win even more historic, was the way the then-India captain Sourav Ganguly had celebrated, taking his shirt off at the Lord’s balcony and flailing it around. However, it turns out that the incident which went down as one of the most defining moments of Indian cricket, was one also one of the biggest regrets in the life of Sourav Ganguly, India’s quintessential cricket leader.
Regret waving my shirt at Lord’s in 2002 Natwest Series final, says Sourav Ganguly
Speaking in an interview with Barkha Dutt, at the launch of his new book, ‘A Century is Not Enough’, Sourav Ganguly revealed that the Indian cricket fans’ one of the biggest talking point from the cricket history was an incident, which Ganguly wished never would have happened. He said,
“I regretted waving the shirt at Lord’s. I wouldn’t do that again, you know. My daughter sees it now and says ‘why did you do that?’. And I say, ‘because I was happy we won.'”
Sourav Ganguly comes from a ‘shy’ Bengali family
Explaining his statement further that he had actually regretted the celebration move, Ganguly said that he hails from a shy Bengali family, who would not even think of doing such a thing. The former captain, who is the current President of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), said that he was a completely different person on and off the field.
“You know I come from a very shy Bengali family, and it happened in the heat of the moment. I think the perception I had when I was playing the sport was a little different. And people took the perception on the field as what I was, and off the field I was a completely different person.”
Sourav Ganguly said that as he was a ‘docile’ personality, he had to ‘put on’ an attitude for others to be up and ready to win cricket matches. He said,
“And I have written this in my book that I had to put on this attitude of mine because I wanted everybody to be up and ready, winning cricket matches.”
Lord’s incident from 2002 was a payback to Andrew Flintoff
In his book, Sourav Ganguly has written that his decision to take the shirt off at Lord’s was a payback to Andrew Flintoff, who had done the same, mocking the Indian side, when India had lost the 6-match ODI series final against England, taking place in India, losing the edge and ending up the series as a draw in 2002.
There are better ways to celebrate, says Ganguly
In another interview, Sourav Ganguly had revealed that his mother used to keep giving ‘stones’ to him as good luck charms. When Barkha Dutt suggested in the interview, that maybe his action to take the shirt off was to show to her mother, that the hard work had finally paid off, Ganguly retorted,
“That was a joke. I regret it because there are better ways to show the happiness of winning, beating England at Lord’s, at their backyard. And probably that was not one of the ways. And I am not that sort of a person, you know – take the shirt off, get agitated.”
Sourav Ganguly said that off the field, he is a very docile person, but it was something in the cricket field, that transformed him completely into a highly competitive cricketer.
“I’m normally a very docile person but the cricket field, somehow turned me differently. And that’s life you know, you don’t have control over every situation, and everybody tells me that it was one of the most defining moments of myself.”
“But I keep telling them, ‘I wish I had not done that’. It does not define who I really am. My daughter said ‘You shouldn’t have done that, it didn’t look good on TV’, and I said ‘Yes, I also feel the same, but don’t worry about it, you were not even born at the time when it happened.'”