On Day 1 of the second Test match between India and New Zealand, former Indian star players Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag were asked to pick their favourite Test matches and interestingly, all three of them picked the same Test match.
India coach and former captain Anil Kumble picked India win against England in the 2002 Headingley Test as the moment which changed the mindset of Indian cricketers.
“The Headingley Test was the defining moment for me and Indian cricket. Since 1990 when I started playing and till I made my debut we hadn’t won overseas. Yes, we won in Sri Lanka in 1994 but we never won outside the subcontinent,” Kumble, who took seven wickets in that match Test said during the first day of the second Test against New Zealand at the Eden Gardens.
“Once we did that in England, we believed we could do it again. Then it continued in 2003 in Australia and in Pakistan tour and it continued from thereafter.”
Kumble’s view was echoed by Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag.
“I completely agree with Anil on Headingley being a special Test win overseas, but for me winning against Australia in Eden Gardens in 2001 changed Indian cricket,” Ganguly said.
“From the position we were in, and the way we fought back on the second day against Australia was unreal. I didn’t have Anil (Kumble) in that Test match. It was always Anil and Bhajji we had in every match. Before that game, news came from Bombay that Anil has still not recovered from his shoulder injury and Javagal Srinath is also out.”
“I said who’s going to take the wickets then. Against any other team you know someone will do the job for you, but against the Aussies it was always very difficult to pick twenty wickets. The way Harbhajan bowled and we won changed the face of Indian cricket for me,” said Ganguly.
Virender Sehwag picked the 2003 Adelaide Test against Australia besides the Headingley one as his most memorable ones. Rahul Dravid scored a double hundred and VVS Laxman notched up a century in the first innings as India won by four wickets at Adelaide.
“Headingley and Adelaide where Dravid scored 233 were the two most memorable Tests for me. In Headingley, I was fielding at short leg and Anil bhai shouted at me ‘catch it’. And I said Anil bhai ye catch nahi tha (this was not a catch), and he retorted ‘tu chhor dia (it was a catch but you let it go)’.”