Australia in India 2008-09 October 7, 2008

Ganguly to retire after Australia Tests

Cricinfo staff

Sourav Ganguly is looking to sign off on a high © Getty Images

Sourav Ganguly has said he will retire after the upcoming Test series against Australia. His statement, a moment of unscripted drama at the end of a routine press conference in Bangalore, ends widespread speculation over his future.

"Just one last thing lads, before I leave, I just want to say that this is going to be my last series," Ganguly said after taking the last question of his press conference. "I've decided to quit. I told my team-mates before coming here. These four Test matches are going to be my last and hopefully we'll go on a winning note."

With that, he got up and walked out, offering no explanation for what led to the decision. Shortly after that Kris Srikkanth, the head of India's new selection panel, threw some light on it. "I think he's probably taken the right decision," Srikkanth said. "He had a good chat with me and my co-selector Narendra Hirwani. He wants a peaceful series without any troubles on his mind. As a player I can tell you that when you have an axe over your head it doesn't feel right."

India's selectors, headed by Srikkanth, picked Ganguly in a 15-man squad for the first two Tests against Australia despite his being overlooked for the Irani Cup match between the Rest of India and Delhi. Lacking top-quality match practice since the end of the Sri Lanka Tests, he was rushed to Chennai for an India 'A' match against New Zealand.

"To be honest I didn't expect to be picked for this series," Ganguly said. "But once I was chosen, I started preparing. Even when I was left out of the Rest of India squad, which was a bit of a surprise for me, I was still training with the Bengal boys."

Ganguly also dismissed speculation over a "voluntary retirement scheme" for the senior members of India's squad. "I don't think it's ever possible that anybody can offer you a VRS. You cannot do that to players like [Anil] Kumble, [Rahul] Dravid, [VVS] Laxman, me, Sachin [Tendulkar] or anyone.

"What is important is what you get to know from the board [BCCI] and as far as I, and some of the senior players, are concerned, we have not received any intimation from the board on anything."

Ganguly, 36, has scored 6888 runs in 109 Tests, with 15 hundreds. He played 49 Tests as captain, the most by an Indian. The 21 matches won during his tenure is also an Indian record, and his win percentage of over 40 is the highest for players who have captained India in more than one Test. Starting with a hundred on debut, Ganguly's Test average has never dipped below 40.

In 311 ODIs, he scored 11,363 runs at 41.02. He captained India in 147 ODIs. His last ODI was against Pakistan in Gwalior on November 15, 2007. He is one of only three players to complete the treble of 10,000 runs, 100 wickets and 100 catches in ODIs, Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar being the others. Along with Tendulkar, he formed a prolific partnership at the top of the order, with 6609 runs at an average of nearly 50 per stand in 136 innings.

Since his recall in December 2006 and till the end of the home series against South Africa earlier this year, Ganguly scored 1571 runs at 50.67, including a maiden double-century. However, he managed only 96 runs in six innings during India's 2-1 series defeat in Sri Lanka this summer.

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  • Jay on October 8, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Had to post to pay my respect to a man I would rate as Mr India. What Saurav achieved was far more than those in petty India would like to admit - he gave India and Indians ( not just in cricket - but most things ) a sense of self-belief which was sorely missing. India on the field were content under previous captains to play second fiddle - not any more. Just by seeing the number of non-Indians ( aussies and english ) that dislike the man is a testament to what a job he did. Not only a decent bat - but partnered the great Tendulkar in forging one of the best ODI partnerships. People can debate and orgasm over players like Dhoni, but Ganguly is a far better league. Alas Indian self importance and politics played its hand as it will always do and another great Indian leader bites the dust.

    Saurav - hats off - great innings under immense pressure - one of the best.

  • Mridul on October 8, 2008, 5:55 GMT

    One of the colossus of Indian cricket, a great captain and above all an honest player in the times when Indian cricket was going through the match fixing scandals. A person who hated to lose and infused the same within youngsters, a Sachin Tendulkar, who had to lead a bunch of losers, can value this contribution more than anybody else. A batsman whom all we believed in winning any one-day match on his own, only second to Sachin. If we forget years of 2004-2005 from his career it's been a roller-coaster ride. He had his quirks but what matters is the contributions, which can be rated among top 5, he made for Indian cricket.

    A fighter like you deserved a well scripted and graceful exit. It's been scripted well now, just hoping a bit of dazzling fireworks. Hail Dada!!!

  • Raman on October 8, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Sourav, the greatest leader, has now decided to call it a day. His greatest contribution, the world started calling by the term `TEAM INDIA'. Other countries started showing respect ONLY after Sourav took over as he made to think `as a team'. Remember, when he took over right in the middle of match-fixing scandal, the cricket's reputation was at stake (not to mention the great Sachin resigned the job in tears, literally, which only shows how difficult the job of captaining India is). If not for Sourav, the so-called Indian cricket team would have been dusted and dumped long time ago. Wishing Sourav all the best for his final series and also his life after cricket. Personally, it is very much hurting to see that the real Tiger won't be seen after this series.

  • Jamshed on October 8, 2008, 5:40 GMT

    India owes more to Ganguly then the brass and the over zealous nation care to admit. While there were a lot of great batsmen from India no one before him had the personality to stand tall and dominate not just on the field but also off it. I feel sorry for us south asians who live in an inferiority complex that make the white masters seem superior. Chappel is a great crciketer but his ego clash with Ganguly did far more damage than good. As a fan and a follower I am PROUD at the way Dada responded and his performances upto and since his return speak volumes for the Tiger Saurav. Thank you sir! You have lead the way and shown the path of aggression and dominance to a meek Indian team. They might not accept it, but the Yuvraj and Dhoni generation have you to thank for the change in attitude. I wish you all the best in the next four tests. I hope and pray that you show them Aussies. You have fans the world over. Even in Karachi Pakistan!

  • Rajesh on October 8, 2008, 5:05 GMT

    After a gap of nearly 20 years( Gavaskar being the last one), we finally have someone calling it quits by himself.Its not for nothing that we have a very old saying that " A singer should stop singing when his Swaram is good". It is a very fickle world that we live in. The years of good done will be forgotten with one wretched bad stretch. There is some uknown force in the BCCI who needs to be thanked for the rumours that is being spread about the so called VRS to senior players. Though everybody is denying that there is no such thing, it seems to be having the desired effect on the senior players.Well done DADA-we will miss the offside music from your willow. Wish you a controversy free life off the cricket field.

  • Rajesh on October 8, 2008, 4:54 GMT

    Oh wel.... The intense specualtion by the media and the subsequent pressures have already consumed Saurav Ganguly as he has announced his retirement at the end of the forthcoming Test Series against Australia.

    And now Ricky Ponting is trying to take advantage of it by claiming that the "Fab Four" will feel the pressure because they are in the twilight of their careers. Ponting is no younger either but the difference is he has the support of the Australian media unlike the Indian media who for want of new things to write about everyday keeps writing (read speculating) whateve will sell copies.

    In this regard I'm a bit disappointed even with Cricinfo for many a time coming up with sensational and speculative headlines, like for example the VRS rumour that was doing the rounds.

    It would be better for Indian Cricket if the media stops all this & if not support, at least not speculate. Cricinfo can lead the way by showing more respect to the greats !

  • Ajanthan on October 8, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    Well Done DADA. You wanted peace of mind to play the all important series so you have decided to make it clear to the rest of the world that you want to play one last series and go out on a winning note. Mr.Kiran More and Greg Chappel may think they have finally seen the exit of you, but the BCCI will lick their own fingers after they figure out the gap you leave in the team. You gave faith and passion to Indian Cricket, you taught the world a whole new brand of "Aggresive Indian Cricket". I support Sri Lanka Cricket, but I must say I have not seen a true cricket prince like you and it will take a few hundred years for BCCI to find one new. Getting rid of the fab four will also negatively affect the finance kitty of the BCCI, then they will realize how much you generated for them. ALL THE BEST

  • Stephen on October 8, 2008, 3:25 GMT

    I am not a real big fan of Indian Cricket but I actually think that there not that bad. If I had to choose a favourite it would be Sachin Tendelkar, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, and Ajit Agarkar. The whole of India should thank Sourav for all the pleasures that he has given them because of all the great times he has given them like all of the runs he has given them. So go Sourav.

  • tony on October 8, 2008, 3:16 GMT

    With the buzz word 'Maverick' being used by Senator McCain, I think the same can be said about Ganguly's legacy, and in some ways Ganguly is the true maverick.

    Where others have toed the line and true hypocrisy and bureaucy still reigns in Indian cricket, Ganguly has always been an independent thinker and never afraid to tell it as it is or too challenges his own team members and the BCCI, and perhaps that's why the Ganguly-Chappell tenure ended the way it did.

    Ganguly, a terrific player till the end and someone Indian cricket may never see again. Ganguly, the maverick, will always be remembered.

  • sampath on October 8, 2008, 2:18 GMT

    Indian Cricket is indented to four cricketers who gave it new direction and hope besides pushing it up a notch by leading from the front and showing great vision.Pataudi, Kapildev,Sourav and Dhoni have all done a world of good for Indian cricket.The famous 'WHY OR WHY NOT?' debate that surfaced at the retirement of Ajith Wadekar's carreer surely surfaced now also concerning the fab five.I am sure the decision is influenced not only by dip in performance visible due to age and lack of reflex but also due to the great bench strength now as never before.We cant forget the greats like Kirmani and Shivalkar who were understudies to their illustrious compatriots Engineer and Bishan Bedi.While Indian Cricket fans will cherish the contributions of Dada they will laud his magnanimous and prudent decision to quit understanding the situation wholly. I wish he makes very big contribution in this series and makes everyone regret his quitting and leaves truly on a high.

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