Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly yesterday rated his debut in the Ranji Trophy winning final moment in 1989-90 was perhaps the best moment in his glittering cricketing career.
"At 17-18 years, making a Ranji Trophy debut that too in the final... It was probably the best moment of my life," Ganguly said in his address during a felicitation of the 25 years of the Ranji Trophy triumph. "The whole thing of winning the Ranji Trophy was very very special," a nostalgic Ganguly said.
Batting at No 4, Ganguly scored 22 on his debut and hit five fours before being dismissed by Manoj Prabhakar. Admitting that he was very tense and nervous, the left-hander said: "Honestly, the first two balls hit the bat before I could realise and react. Then I gathered myself overcoming the nervousness. I played a few shots just after seeing the ball."
Electing to bat, Delhi posted 278 and Bengal replied with 216 for 4 and the match ended in a draw, without either side gaining a first-innings lead in the match from March 23-28, 1990 (March 26 was a rest day). Under the previous rules, Bengal emerged winners with a quotient of 54.00 (runs scored divided by number of wickets
lost) against Delhi's 27.80 in the incomplete final at Eden Gardens.
Making a debut in a victorious team made all the difference for Ganguly. "For a young player to see his team emerge as the country's best in his very first match. The mindset automatically changes and you tend to improve in a better way after getting into a winning side straightway. It was a winning team when I came and it definitely helped me in my game.
"I just hope it does not take another 25 years to win another Ranji Trophy title." From his century on debut, to leading India to the World Cup final in 2003 among many other feats, Ganguly might have had his share of highs in the International cricket but it was the debut moment in the final win against Delhi which would
remain very very special for him.
"It was my first opportunity to play with many renowned players whom I'd seen from the sidelines until then. The likes of Ashok Malhotra, Arun Lal, Utpal Chatterjee and my elder brother Snehasish... I used to see their practice from behind. "I came to know about it on the eve of the match from our skipper Sambaran Banerjee, whom I still consider my captain. That excitement. It's very hard to explain what happened afterwards. It was like a fairy tale."