'If I am asked to open, then I will do so' - Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly is eyeing a recall into the one-day team and has reiterated his willingness to open the batting.
"I know people have been talking about that [opening the batting in ODIs]," he told reporters in Kolkata. "And many people have asked me about it. I have opened the batting in one-dayers in the past many times, so I have no problems. If I am asked to open, then I will do so." India play eight matches against the West Indies and Sri Lanka at home, which will decide the team composition for the World Cup.
Asked whether he is looking forward to the World Cup, Ganguly said, "Let's not think about that now. I want to approach these home one-dayers first, and one at a time. Obviously playing in conditions like Australia and South Africa always help your game. If I get an opportunity in one-day cricket, I think that will help."
Ganguly also voiced his support for Sachin Tendulkar, who's come under criticism for his slow batting in the third Test. "Don't forget that Sachin has got 70 international hundreds to his credit, nobody has such a record in the world. The decline in form is part of the game, it happens to every cricketer. He is a genius."
Meanwhile, former cricketers have pressed for Ganguly's recall into the ODI team. "Ganguly must be chosen for the one-day team, especially since Sehwag is short of confidence," Ajit Wadekar told Times of India. "An experienced player like Ganguly knows how to pace his innings, which can be invaluable for a big tournament like the World Cup," Wadekar added. Madan Lal, the former Indian allrounder, also concurred. "With Sehwag out of form, Ganguly should be given a chance to open," he says. That would mean reviving the old Sachin-Sourav partnership. Both are past their prime. But even if only for old times sake, most Indians would look forward to that."
Looking back on the series against South Africa, Ganguly said he was satisfied with his batting in what was his "toughest tour" yet. "I am feeling good. Of course, I wanted to score more runs. But I batted lower down and with the tail sometimes. But that's okay though." But he rues the missed opportunity to win the series. "We should have won the third Test. Playing in South Africa, you don't get chances like this to win the series. We scored 414 runs in the first innings. It's really sad that we had to lose the match and series despite putting up such a good score in the first innings."
Ganguly averaged 42.80 and was the only Indian batsman to score more than 200 in the series.. "I have never worried about my criticism and I hope that I keep scoring runs in future." Ganguly made it clear that this comeback (after a ten-month lay-off) was more difficult and, therefore, more satisfying than the one in 1996.