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  5. 'Ganguly wanted the whole team to take off their shirts': Rajeev Shukla on infamous Lord's balcony celebration

'Ganguly wanted the whole team to take off their shirts': Rajeev Shukla on infamous Lord's balcony celebration

BCCI vice-president and former manager of the Indian team Rajeev Shukla spilt beans on the fateful night of July 13, 2002, the Natwest final between India and England when skipper Sourav Ganguly decided to remove his shirt and wave it off after thrilling win at Lord's.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: January 15, 2024 0:50 IST
Sourav Ganguly, the then Indian captain waved his shirt
Image Source : ICC TWITTER Sourav Ganguly, the then Indian captain waved his shirt after removing it after winning the 2002 final against England

Team India have been on the wrong side of the result in several knockouts, the last decade has been a living and breathing proof. But as luck would have it, it was on India's side 22 years ago in the NatWest Trophy final against the hosts England at Lord's. At 146/5, chasing 326 would have looked a far cry but it soon came all together for India in the last 25 overs set up by a brilliant 121-run partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif with the latter staying unbeaten on 87 to take his side home despite another collapse in the last few overs.

However, the image of that match and the final and the win in every fan's mind and memory that is stuck is captain Soiurav Ganguly removing his shirt and waving it off at the iconic Lord's balcony in a way to give it back to Andrew Flintoff, who had done a similar thing. However, now Rajeev Shukla, the then Indian team manager and the current BCCI vice-president, has revealed that Ganguly wanted every member of the team to take his short off. However, Shukla and Sachin Tendulkar, another senior member of the team didn't agree to Ganguly's request.

Speaking on 'Unfiltered by Samdish', Shukla said, "My blood pressure was rising and even took medicine for it. Me and Sourav were sitting next to each other and Sourav, who was the captain said to me, 'Rajeev, why is it just with me that we win all the games in the league stage and we lose the final? Why does it happen only with me?

"Then he was like 'Only 52 runs are remaining and so many deliveries are left, chase is possible.' Then I told him, if it's possible then send the message to keep rotating the scorecard. 

"And soon we found ourselves on the brink of a victory. Then Sourav Ganguly came up to me and suggested that the whole team should take their shirts off because he was going to. So, I and even Sachin Tendulkar said that don't involve the whole team, it doesn't look nice, it's a gentleman's game. 

"But Sourav was adamant, so I told him that only he could go ahead with it," Shukla added.

India required 58 runs in 48 balls with Kaif and Harbhajan Singh in the middle and the former smashed a six off Ronnie Irani's first delivery of the 43rd over. Harbhajan hit a six in the next as the duo kept the scorecard ticking with a boundary here or 5-6 singles there to bring the team to the brink, needing 14 off the last 18 balls. However, Flintoff had other ideas as he dismissed Harbhajan and Anil Kumble in the very same over to peg India further back. But, Kaif kept it cool to take India home with three balls remaining.

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