Toronto still remembers Ganguly ‘swing bowler’
His silken cover drives were a stuff of legends in cricketing world but the moment one steps into the picturesque Skating and Curling Club ground, Sourav Ganguly is remembered in a different avatar – a nippy seam bowler with most deceptive movement off the pitch.
The Sahara Cup tournament faded into oblivion after three editions between 1996-98 but the moment there is a mention of this tournament in the most populous Canadian city, Ganguly and his four back-to-back <g data-gr-id="37">Man-of-the Match</g> <g data-gr-id="38">award winning</g> feat instantly comes to mind.
People here would sit back in ‘Time Machine’ to recollect the good old Ganguly days when the likes of Saeed Anwar, Ijaz Ahmed and Saleem Malik hopped, skipped and jumped in the face of some prodigious swing bowling during that ‘Summer of 97’.
“It might sound <g data-gr-id="50">funny</g> but we all thought Ganguly was a specialist bowler for India because he performed so well here. We just thought he was a good all-rounder,” chairman of the cricket activity at the club, Howard Petrook, fondly recollected while showing around the lovely little ground located on the Wilson Avenue.
“We all saw how well Ganguly bowled here. I subsequently saw him in England a few <g data-gr-id="36">times</g> but he never bowled that much. But during that 1997 tournament, he made a lasting impression on me. We’re surprised that he did not bowl as much for India,” Petrook said.
“Ganguly is one of the nicest cricketers I’ve ever met. He is a really nice, genuine and pleasant person. There’s no sense of arrogance in him. I’ve met him since <g data-gr-id="39">then</g> but he has not changed one bit,” Petrook won’t stop praising Ganguly.
While Petrook also recollected the “humble Sachin Tendulkar” and “nice gentleman” Rahul Dravid, he did not forget to mention one such time when there could have been a <g data-gr-id="41">mini-security</g> issue if Inzamam-ul-Haq had hit a fan with a cricket bat for constantly disturbing him.
“During that tournament, the Indians and the Pakistani fans used to sit in the same stand. There was one guy <g data-gr-id="31">shouting</g>, and kept on for quite a long time. I saw Inzamam going to the 12th man and say something.
“The next thing I saw was that after drinks break, the 12th man came with a bat and gave it to <g data-gr-id="34">Inzy</g>, who climbed over the fence and tried to chase this guy with a cricket bat. It could have been very serious if the crowd had attacked <g data-gr-id="35">Inzy</g> or the guy was hit. It could have been a riot here but it dissipated.”