They stood at two opposite ends of the corner, one never liked to lose and other always liked to win, and they achieved possible impossible during their time as captain.
As with three players I mentioned in my list of Cricket From 90: Best Captain – Part 1, we continue to see two more great legend of the game.
Steve Waugh, Australia
If there is a team that can challenge Clive Lloyd team, then it ought to be Waugh team. It’s straight as that with the amount and way of success the Australian team had under him. Steve Waugh inherited good players from Mark Taylor period and made them greats on his way to forming an invincible team. Steve Waugh took the captaincy from 1997 in ODI and 1999 in Test from Mark Taylor.
Steve led his team to undefeated world cup win in 1999 and followed it by 16 consecutive test wins which was ended by India at 2001. There was many occasion where Australian team came from nowhere to beat the opposition as they inherited the strong attitude that Steve himself had. He made his players aggressive, ruthless and self destructive as they whitewashed many opponents than anyone did in the history of cricket. Waugh forced the structure of work ethic to change and more backroom staffs as a result his team hardly shown any fatigue or compliance or injuries even now.
“I think he set great examples the way cricket should be played. And in tough conditions, he’s produced some tremendous performances in the past, and anyone would want to play like him, and he’s taken the game to a different level as far as mental toughness is concerned.” by Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricket player.
Sourav Ganguly, India
Peoples and players owe lot to him because he gave lot to the team than it gave back for him. Ganguly took the captaincy under the clouds of match fixing scandal in 2000 and led the team to the finals of the ICC mini world cup in 2000, then followed the “Final Frontier” as Steve Waugh described the tour after winning 15 matches on a row. Ganguly on his home turf somehow scripted the magical sequence of play that could have been ultimate blockbuster hit in movie theaters.
India came from behind to both end the Waugh 16 match unbeaten streak and win the series 2-1 in what arguably the one of best series ever played. India then went on to draw the test series in England before clinching the Natwest ODI series in a dramatic way. When no one gave them a chance, Sourav led the Indian team to the final of 2003 only to lose against Australia. Sourav then toured to meet Steve on his final show for Aussie in 2003/04 test series in which India outclassed Australia yet missed the chance to go one over Waugh men.
Sourav thought Indians how to win in overseas, made them aggressive, molded as team, broke the regionalism, backed the youngsters and took the challenges for the benefit of team. He was fittingly nicknamed as “Warrior Prince” but had Indian board shown more desire, he would have got nicknamed “Winning Prince”.
“I suggested Sourav name to succeed me. I always thought that he had had the ability to lead the team. He is a thinking cricketer who loves challenges. He is always ready to take a few risks and loves to lead the team aggressively.” by Sachin Tendulkar after resigning from captain of Indian team.
It is very tough to choose one from this five. Cronje is master of tactician and if not for his addict to money, he would have gone down as one of the greatest ever. Had Ganguly crossed the final hurdles, he could have the best but Steve had boon to be winner. But after considering lot of constraints, my pick is both Steve Waugh and Sourav Ganguly, for the best captains of cricket from 90.
Notably mention goes to Stephen Fleming, New Zealand and Mark Taylor, Australia.