Sourav Ganguly December 24, 2007

'I always believed I had it in me to play'

Sourav Ganguly looks ahead to his 100th Test and back at his golden year
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Listen to the interview

There's a steaming mug of tea in his hand when he opens the door of his suite to let me in. "Shall I make you a cup?" he offers. "Or perhaps you'd prefer Coke or Pepsi?" I turn them all down, firmly but politely, for I'm nervous and can't think of anything but the questions I have for Sourav Ganguly, in this much-postponed interview that's finally arrived. I've rehearsed my questions but immediately make a nervous mistake: "So, 100 Tests must be special for you. You've seen Sachin, Rahul and Sourav reach the milestone ..."

I'm nervous because I sit before a Ganguly who I, like many others, had sat in judgment of not long ago, and pronounced his career finished. Now Ganguly Mark II is on the verge of playing his 100th Test, and has been India's best batsman in the year gone by. But he puts me at ease, at once disarmingly warm and polite, asking about my career and family. Once I begin to ask questions, and he to answer, it all becomes simple once more. Because he's not expecting an apology. He has been the same person, through different phases of batting; in some ways he's been through it all. And yet, he wants to see more.



More where those came from: Ganguly acknowledges the cheers for his 239 against Pakistan at Bangalore © AFP

Does 100 Tests mean a lot to you? You've seen Sachin, Rahul and Anil reach this milestone already.
Yeah, it does. It's a huge milestone for any cricketer, and not many in Indian cricket have achieved it. Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, and among the current lot Anil [Kumble], Sachin [Tendulkar] and Rahul [Dravid]. So it will be good to join that club.

Among the names you have mentioned in the current crop, you've had a rougher ride than the others. So in some way do you look at it as a journey against the odds? Someone from Bengal playing 100 Tests ...
We as a state have not produced many big players. But I hope in the future we start doing that, because places like Bombay and Karnataka and Delhi have produced Test players one after the other. In a state where cricket is so well-loved, it's important that we keep producing players who turn up and play for India.

Let's just divide your career into a few phases. First there's 1992 to 1996, when you played one game and then were dropped, then 1996 when you made your Test debut and went on till 2000, then captaincy from 2000 to 2005, and finally 2005 to now. Talk us through the many ages of Ganguly.
In 1992 I was pretty young. I went to Australia, hardly got to play any cricket, just played one one-day international and then got left out. I played domestic cricket for four years. I was young then and it didn't matter a lot to me then, being left out. Then I came back in 1996 and obviously had a good start to my Test career and then played on. In 2000 I became captain and stayed till 2005, and this was a very successful time in Indian cricket, so it was a satisfying tenure for me. I was left out again in 2005. [I'm] happy to be back and performing as I have been since I made my comeback.

Do you think captaincy came to you a bit early?
Yes. I was just five seasons old in international cricket. Sachin didn't want to lead the side after that Australia series [1999-2000] and I was the vice-captain then. I was a certainty in both forms of the game, so from that point of view I was the choice. But in terms of the number of years I had played for India, it was a bit early.

You took over at a tough time, at the end of match-fixing. You pledged on TV that your team was clean and would continue to be clean. Was that a tough time to take charge?
Yes it was. It surprised me at that stage because I was not even aware that these things could actually happen. For those reasons we got a crop of young players. Yuvraj [Singh], Zaheer [Khan] came into the scene in 2000. There were only four seniors in the side in me, Sachin, Rahul and Anil. To build a team helped us. Players like [Virender] Sehwag, Harbhajan [Singh], Ashish Nehra did the job in one-day cricket. And the benefits are being reaped now. These guys have since become match-winners.

You've spoken a bit about youngsters coming through in that period. But the batting also did well; the results were strong. Against Australia, the best team in the world, India won at home and drew away. Was that a golden age for Indian cricket?
Yes, of course. And we beat Pakistan in Pakistan after 50 years and we went to the World Cup final. We played two mini-World Cup finals in that time. People like Sachin, Rahul, [VVS] Laxman and Sehwag were batting at their best. That probably helped the team.

 
 
"In 1992 I was a young boy, 18 or 19, and it didn't matter to me. I was happy playing for Bengal and just playing first-class cricket. At that age you don't worry about anything. When I lost my place in the side in 2005, it was different "
 

Your leadership played a big role in this. Especially what you did with the younger players. What did you do differently?
I just set them free. As a captain I had certain ideas - which I see pretty much in Kumble now. I was a firm believer that every cricketer needs to get a fair chance. I had decided that I was going to take the pressure off the players and let them play freely. Which really helped them do justice to their talent. At the same time I had Rahul, Sachin, Anil and Laxman, who themselves were playing outstanding cricket.

What you brought to the team and what you are are different things. You're a polite, mild-mannered person but your team was rough and ready for a scrap.
I realised that we played well when we were aggressive. When we took the foot off the accelerator, we were a completely different team. We needed to get the team charged up and we got results against Australia in 2001. They came here ... Steve Waugh had won everywhere but here [in India]. He was putting pressure on the team and we were a young side and they knew they were the top team. The only way we could have done well against them was by being aggressive.

One of the things that was always spoken of in Indian cricket was regionalism. But your reign as captain saw an end to that, to a large extent.
To be honest, when I played cricket even before I was captain, I didn't notice much. Maybe I was too young to do that. When I became captain my entire responsibility was to pick the best possible 15 for India. I wanted to do that and I had no pressures from anywhere to pick someone or drop someone. I made it pretty clear that if I'm captain, the best team has to play.

Another important thing that happened at the time was the appointment of India's first foreign coach. You had your differences with John Wright, but in hindsight, and especially in the light of what followed, it was a very healthy working relationship, wasn't it?
We worked very well. We had mutual respect for each other. There will be differences in opinion. He'll have an opinion on something and I'll try and give my side of the story. At the end of the day, I always feel it's the captain that counts. Because I have to take decisions in the middle.

John was a fantastic person. He was responsible in changing the outlook of Indian cricket. He made the boys realise that winning overseas is important, and that it was not just about winning at home. He was responsible in getting Harbhajan to bowl the way he did against Australia in 2001.

Towards the end of your tenure you seemed to be weighed down by it all, especially when your own batting form dipped. Would you agree with that assessment?
When you don't perform well as captain, in any country, and particularly in the subcontinent, you will have pressures. Probably it's a coincidence that in the last phase of my captaincy I didn't perform well with the bat. But during my entire tenure I tried to keep captaincy and batting separate. When I went out to bat I never thought I was captain. Even when I did not score with the bat, I knew I had to take decisions on the field that would make the team win. In the later stages it was just a coincidence that I lost the captaincy when my batting form was not good.



With John Wright at Trent Bridge in 2002: 'We worked very well. We had mutual respect for each other' © Getty Images

Wright has since admitted that he probably stayed on longer than he should have. Do you think maybe there was a similar situation with you and the captaincy?
No, I don't think so. John wanted to go after the Pakistan series [in 2003-04]. But that had a lot more to do with family reasons than cricket. He had two young children, and to be honest, he had been away from New Zealand for four or five years. We used to go on tour and then return home, but he used to return to India, which was away from home. From that point of view it was harder for him because we would invariably go home, he wouldn't.

You were out of the side from 1992 to 1996. Then again, you were out in 2005. How would you compare the two phases?
They're two completely different things. In 1992 I was a young boy, 18 or 19, and it didn't matter to me. I was happy playing for Bengal and just playing first-class cricket. At that age you don't worry about anything. When I lost my place in the side in 2005, it was different. I was 32, I'd lost my captaincy - for whatever reasons; there was a lot of controversy going around. That was not a very happy way to lose my place in the side. Those two situations were completely different.

What kept you going when you were left out the second time around? What sort of work did you do?
I worked on my game and I got a lot of time for myself. When I was away from the hustle and bustle of international cricket, the hotels, airports, day-in and day-out, that's a different grind. The fatigue ... I was completely out of the system, but I always believed I had it in me to play. There were a lot of tough tours coming and I knew that if people don't do well, my turn will come. It was just a belief and hope and things could have gone the other way as well. But that's what destiny is all about.

From the outside it appears that you're a lot calmer at the crease now. Your composure is intact. Is this a change since you made your comeback?
It depends, Anand. When you play well, a lot of things look good. When you're not playing well, you try things and it doesn't work. That's why this is sport. Obviously I have more time to myself now and captaincy does take a load in India. As a captain you have to handle the team, your own game, media, selection, getting tours working - so it is not easy. Now I have more time for myself, to work on my game. I can think about what I need to do to help the team which keeps me mentally fresh.

So you would agree that batting is a lot about keeping your mind free and sorting the mental aspects?
Yeah, of course. Anything is about keeping your mind free. The more you start thinking about other things, it doesn't help.

 
 
"To be honest, I've not seen anything special, except for Yuvraj and Sehwag in the batting, and Harbhajan, Sreesanth and RP. Zaheer is a seasoned campaigner, so I'm not including him in this bracket. We need some more quality players coming through, especially in terms of batting"
 

Which of your innings since your comeback has given you the most satisfaction? And you have a few to choose from.
To be very honest the first knock in Johannesburg was very crucial. It was my comeback and it was a difficult wicket and we won a Test match in South Africa for the first time. My knock in Nottingham, when me and Sachin had a crucial stand, that was satisfying - also in a match India won. A hundred at Eden Gardens, my first hundred at home, that was satisfying. Also my first double-hundred, [after] we were 61 for 4 ... it's been good.

You're not known for your fitness, but still you've had a long career. What's the secret of your longevity?
I have done my fitness work. I'm not as fit as a Mohammad Kaif or as some of these younger guys are. When we started our cricket, the idea of fitness was completely different. It has changed over the years. People like me and Rahul have worked on our fitness. We may not be the quickest on the field. But we do our cardio and weights, which actually helps when you bat.

Your technique is not as compact as Sachin's or Rahul's. Have you had to work that much harder?
No, it's not as compact. My technique was never as compact as those two, but I have other gifts. My timing. I could hit the good balls for four and maybe other people may not have had this ability. I had to adjust my game accordingly.

I've realised what my strengths are and what my strengths are not, and played accordingly. By God's grace I had this natural ability of being a very good player on the off side. That helped in international cricket, because that's the channel where bowlers like to bowl and try to get you out. Every player is going to be different, but every player should find a way to get runs. I've just found my way.

You've spoken about some of the difficulties in leading India. What's the most difficult part?
The most difficult part of leading India is time management. And you have to be thick-skinned. You cannot worry about what's going on around you. You have to lead with your best intentions. You have to wake up in the morning or go to sleep in the night thinking, "Today I've done what is the best for the good of Indian cricket." There will be opinions. Thousands of people are watching, people are making livelihoods out of this game, so there will be criticism. If you start going through all of them, then you'll have a very tough time. You have to learn how to switch yourself off from all this and do what is good for the game.



'You have to learn how to switch yourself off from all this and do what is good for the game' © Cricinfo Ltd

Rahul Dravid has said that the reactions of the fans and the media sometimes lacks proportion. Would you agree?
I've had my ways of dealing with this. And I've told Jam this once before as well. You should not be worried about how the media and public react. They can react however they want. It's how you as captain react to what they say that's important. You have to learn to keep yourself out of all this.

To digress for a second: I have criticised you repeatedly over the years, in my writing and on television. I'm seen to be anti-Ganguly. Why are you sitting down with me and speaking to me?
No, no, no. I have never thought like that. I have never worried about criticism. If I don't play well, I don't expect you to write that I've played well. What only matters is that it should not get personal. Anand, I'm a pretty free person. I don't have hiccups like this and I don't carry baggage. Even with my team-mates, when I was captain, I would get angry with them on the field at times, but off the field I'd go out of my way to back them. I've got no issues with criticism. Sometimes it helps.

What is preventing India, with its large talent pool and vast resources, from becoming a dominant force in world cricket?
I think we have become more dominant over time. Playing at home we've always been very good. But our performance overseas in the last five-seven years has changed. I was reading recently, probably on your website, that India has won more matches overseas than any team other than Australia, in recent times. That's a pretty good sign. But we need some quality players. We've had a crop of players - Tendulkar, Dravid, myself, Laxman, Anil, in the 34-35 years bracket - who have been outstanding for Indian cricket. We need some consistent talent coming through. To be honest, I've not seen anything special, except for Yuvraj and Sehwag in the batting, and Harbhajan, Sreesanth and RP. Zaheer is a seasoned campaigner, so I'm not including him in this bracket. We need some more quality players coming through, especially in terms of batting.

If you could change something about Indian cricket what would it be?
Try and take the pressure off the players as much as possible. Let them play as freely as they can.

Anand Vasu is an associate editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • DingDong12 on December 27, 2007, 4:52 GMT

    Like Anand, I have converted from a Ganguly-critic to a huge fan. There are many left-overs in the Indian psyche from the British Raj: one of them is sycophancy to white people. Ganguly stood up for the Indian team and India: he treated opponent sides as normal people, and not as masters who need to be looked up to. Ganguly represents a proud, aggressive new India, confident in one's abilities. Many on this board have made a few negative comments about players that Ganguly did not promote. There's always going to be controversy when you take a stand. For me, its good enough that he promoted and nurtured players like Yuvi, Bhajji, Dhoni, Sehwag, Pathan. Great article; I think many of us feel like we have wronged Ganguly in the past; the guy clearly has guts. Like some suggested, I hope we see more of him as a coach or management guru. (Even the recent series against Pakistan wasn't against that weak an attack: otherwise Dravid and Sachin would have batted better in the tests).

  • rajeshtom on December 26, 2007, 19:54 GMT

    A good Interview, but not balanced. Agreed it has been a good come back by him, agreed about his record, agreed about his captaincy triumphs ,but I wonder why the press which is singing his praises never mentions about the test match in Nagpur 2004 against Australia with India down by a test with two to go and Indias unbeaten record at home at stake, Ganguly pulled out on the morning of the match after seeing the greentop of a wicket. I thought he ran away from a challenge on that day. Plus His captaincy record behind the facade of statistics will reveal that out of 21 wins under him 3 were against Bangladesh and 6 were against Zimbabwe. The press should give a balanced view of a situation or an indivudal. The problem in our country when it comes to cricket is we are obsessed with characters and personalities rather than the team. I tend to agree with the views posted by people from the public like Vermacelli, knock knock and forwardshortleg.Any way if the team wins in Aus who cares

  • laksha on December 26, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    Thanks to Anand for the interview wonderful piece of work the mental strength of Ganguly was awesome.

  • SujeshArukil on December 26, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    Always been a fan of dada. But even I had lost hopes when he was dropped. Now thinking of it, I feel he was dropped in good faith and he did himself well by taking that ditch to heart.. he has come back wiser, smarter and a goddamn hero of a cricketer. Way to go Dada.. you are truly an inspiration!

  • Manu_Sirohi on December 26, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    I am an ardent believer that if one has got enough courage to challenge & turn the tide of one's fate he can do it,it is just the faith that lets you rise from the ashes just like th phoenix with new rejuvenation. Phoenix is a legendary mythical Arabian bird said to periodically burn itself to death and emerge from the ashes as a new phoenix. This act of rejuvenation of Dada can be very well compared the act of Phoenix. Long way is still ahead Dada.I always believed in his abilities & favoured him even in his rough phase.He is a great role model. I wish him best of luck for the future.

  • jeetfida on December 26, 2007, 9:23 GMT

    Folks, I dont have any qualms about Ganguly continuing in cricket, but I think a much better future awaits him as a Management Guru. He could dip into his reservoir of experiences to provide tremendous value on subjects like "Management under pressure", "Fighting adversity" or "Grooming nex-gen leaders". Our modern enterprises and corporates could learn a lot. Perhaps, he could also assist the Indian cricket team as a Consultant.

  • DadaTheGr8 on December 25, 2007, 22:08 GMT

    Fantastic. I love Dada not only for his batting, but for his attitude,personna,vigor and the character he is.He can reffered as an example not only in sports, but in every sphere of life.Learn from him how one can comeback fighting against all odds! We need some more Dada in India to lift up this country.

  • vishaljalan on December 25, 2007, 21:34 GMT

    The Prince of Calcutta is truly the toughest guy in cricket. He has always fought for his team, led from the front and continues to silence his critics and opposition with his performances (on & off the field )!

    He sacrificed his opening slot to sehwag, made dravid keep wickets in ODI´s to prevent him from being kicked out, he built up team India n fired up his team to bring out their best, AND he changed the perception of Indian cricket !

    The royal bengal tiger may be cornered but will come out roaring !

  • athota on December 25, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    First of all,congrats to anand for having such a wonderful interview i have ever seen in the recent times.This is not the first time we are going through an interview given by a star cricketer but this one surely has an intensity in it.The manner sourav replied to the questions is amazing.it clearly shows his maturity not only as a cricketer but also as a person.The manner in which he fought back with great passion when the things were not going in his way is superb.Ousted from the team for almost a year,the determination he showed either playing in the domestic or in county cricket is a good example for not only cricketers or sportsmen but also for everybody. Successful as skipper for five years,with tons of runs behind him,having earned millions of fans and money,he has nothing to prove new at this satge of life.The FIRE in him did not allowed him to call it a day.There may be Sachin,Rahul,etc in the team but there is one and only one Sourav DADA Ganguly and his stature is unique.

  • Dhaval1983 on December 25, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    The interview reminds me the aggression of Ganguly against Flintoff at the Oval. He still got the energy and confidence to play long long games for India; yet his fitness creates lot of doubts in our mind but as he mentioned he could hit the ball with a great timing so it would be good to see.

  • DingDong12 on December 27, 2007, 4:52 GMT

    Like Anand, I have converted from a Ganguly-critic to a huge fan. There are many left-overs in the Indian psyche from the British Raj: one of them is sycophancy to white people. Ganguly stood up for the Indian team and India: he treated opponent sides as normal people, and not as masters who need to be looked up to. Ganguly represents a proud, aggressive new India, confident in one's abilities. Many on this board have made a few negative comments about players that Ganguly did not promote. There's always going to be controversy when you take a stand. For me, its good enough that he promoted and nurtured players like Yuvi, Bhajji, Dhoni, Sehwag, Pathan. Great article; I think many of us feel like we have wronged Ganguly in the past; the guy clearly has guts. Like some suggested, I hope we see more of him as a coach or management guru. (Even the recent series against Pakistan wasn't against that weak an attack: otherwise Dravid and Sachin would have batted better in the tests).

  • rajeshtom on December 26, 2007, 19:54 GMT

    A good Interview, but not balanced. Agreed it has been a good come back by him, agreed about his record, agreed about his captaincy triumphs ,but I wonder why the press which is singing his praises never mentions about the test match in Nagpur 2004 against Australia with India down by a test with two to go and Indias unbeaten record at home at stake, Ganguly pulled out on the morning of the match after seeing the greentop of a wicket. I thought he ran away from a challenge on that day. Plus His captaincy record behind the facade of statistics will reveal that out of 21 wins under him 3 were against Bangladesh and 6 were against Zimbabwe. The press should give a balanced view of a situation or an indivudal. The problem in our country when it comes to cricket is we are obsessed with characters and personalities rather than the team. I tend to agree with the views posted by people from the public like Vermacelli, knock knock and forwardshortleg.Any way if the team wins in Aus who cares

  • laksha on December 26, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    Thanks to Anand for the interview wonderful piece of work the mental strength of Ganguly was awesome.

  • SujeshArukil on December 26, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    Always been a fan of dada. But even I had lost hopes when he was dropped. Now thinking of it, I feel he was dropped in good faith and he did himself well by taking that ditch to heart.. he has come back wiser, smarter and a goddamn hero of a cricketer. Way to go Dada.. you are truly an inspiration!

  • Manu_Sirohi on December 26, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    I am an ardent believer that if one has got enough courage to challenge & turn the tide of one's fate he can do it,it is just the faith that lets you rise from the ashes just like th phoenix with new rejuvenation. Phoenix is a legendary mythical Arabian bird said to periodically burn itself to death and emerge from the ashes as a new phoenix. This act of rejuvenation of Dada can be very well compared the act of Phoenix. Long way is still ahead Dada.I always believed in his abilities & favoured him even in his rough phase.He is a great role model. I wish him best of luck for the future.

  • jeetfida on December 26, 2007, 9:23 GMT

    Folks, I dont have any qualms about Ganguly continuing in cricket, but I think a much better future awaits him as a Management Guru. He could dip into his reservoir of experiences to provide tremendous value on subjects like "Management under pressure", "Fighting adversity" or "Grooming nex-gen leaders". Our modern enterprises and corporates could learn a lot. Perhaps, he could also assist the Indian cricket team as a Consultant.

  • DadaTheGr8 on December 25, 2007, 22:08 GMT

    Fantastic. I love Dada not only for his batting, but for his attitude,personna,vigor and the character he is.He can reffered as an example not only in sports, but in every sphere of life.Learn from him how one can comeback fighting against all odds! We need some more Dada in India to lift up this country.

  • vishaljalan on December 25, 2007, 21:34 GMT

    The Prince of Calcutta is truly the toughest guy in cricket. He has always fought for his team, led from the front and continues to silence his critics and opposition with his performances (on & off the field )!

    He sacrificed his opening slot to sehwag, made dravid keep wickets in ODI´s to prevent him from being kicked out, he built up team India n fired up his team to bring out their best, AND he changed the perception of Indian cricket !

    The royal bengal tiger may be cornered but will come out roaring !

  • athota on December 25, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    First of all,congrats to anand for having such a wonderful interview i have ever seen in the recent times.This is not the first time we are going through an interview given by a star cricketer but this one surely has an intensity in it.The manner sourav replied to the questions is amazing.it clearly shows his maturity not only as a cricketer but also as a person.The manner in which he fought back with great passion when the things were not going in his way is superb.Ousted from the team for almost a year,the determination he showed either playing in the domestic or in county cricket is a good example for not only cricketers or sportsmen but also for everybody. Successful as skipper for five years,with tons of runs behind him,having earned millions of fans and money,he has nothing to prove new at this satge of life.The FIRE in him did not allowed him to call it a day.There may be Sachin,Rahul,etc in the team but there is one and only one Sourav DADA Ganguly and his stature is unique.

  • Dhaval1983 on December 25, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    The interview reminds me the aggression of Ganguly against Flintoff at the Oval. He still got the energy and confidence to play long long games for India; yet his fitness creates lot of doubts in our mind but as he mentioned he could hit the ball with a great timing so it would be good to see.

  • bladepakkiri on December 25, 2007, 19:56 GMT

    In my humble opinion, Ganguly is the father of modern Indian cricket. He is the one, who infused a lot of blood into the new Indian cricket - which was far more aggressive and playing for not drawing but winning. He was instrumental in building the young team which was completely different from the old Indian cricket. Also his batting was awesome at its best. But when his form slumped and people started having doubts about his very presence in the Inidan cricket was natural and in some ways right. What Ganguly should have done at the time is to step down on his own and improve his batting - the primary reason why he was in the Indian cricket.But his ignonimous exit did that exactly and I am happy he is firing on all cylinders right now. And this interview with candid questions and honest answers created one too many goose bumps for me. Being at the pinnacle of glory and being dusted into the oblivion, Ganguly rose like Phoenix from the ashes - these are all very good moral lessons.

  • Kissi on December 25, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    Ganguly has been an all-round strong performer all the way. There's no rationale whatsoever denying that. I am not an Indian, neither an Asian but, a Mauritian who got crazy about cricket when I stayed in Bangalore for three years during studies. I watched all the Indian matches, Ganguly was one of the pecking order, along with the Dravids, Laxmans, Sachins, Kumbles, just to name a few.. I got to watch some of his epic knocks through replays on tv, his knock against England in the Natwest series, Chasing a target I think of 226, which was a tall order, with Flintoff, Giles and co. bowling.., the Prince of Kolkota and Sehwag giving the Indians a perfect start for Kaif and Yuvraj to knock off the runs in a tense finale.. Anyway Mr Sourav, India has been the most successful under your era. You are in a class of the Sachins, Dravids, Pontings, Haydens. I am pleased of the form you are showing at the moment. A purple patch. You couldn't have been written off so easily. All the best Sir.

  • Cricbongo on December 25, 2007, 16:46 GMT

    Kudos for the interview. Now, for the anti-Ganguly rants. Guys, can't you acknowledge for once that this man returned literally from a graveyard shift? Sacking Ganguly being in good faith and blah? Execute someone without even giving him an opportunity to present his case? Principle of natural justice - you hallowed men? Had a similar treatment been meted out to Sachin, would it have exuded equanimity? I'm not even recounting his performance as a captain.

    As for the performance of the other stars or starlets in his fold - the experienced and the greenhorns. Good people, if you think the firing from these cylinders steals the thunder from under Sourav's tenure as our skipper, then I'd daresay you're blindsided by your moorings. If Imran Khan was the most successful captain Pakistan could ever boast of, it was not only attributable to his own skills. Getting my point? Are you judging Sourav as a player or as a captain? Intertwining these would suspend any needed ambivalence.

  • maharishi on December 25, 2007, 14:41 GMT

    dada has proved him self that he is great player, excellent come back in the team. this is the sign of a great player. when you perform under presssure,recodes suggest that best captain of india..some of the fact is that he is not atheletic filder or either good in running between of wickets.but big question of indian cricket team is conssistency?all star players like sachin, rahul, laxman are not conssistent enough at the time of end their carreers, now the question is can ganguly carry his good performance ?...what you say anand?

  • AshokJain on December 25, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    I am new to writing comments. I read a lot of interviews in the newspapers. This one was by far the most satisfying in a long long time. Primarily because of the questions you asked. Most interviewers ask predictable questions where you don't even want to read the replies, because you know what the other guy is going to reply. And of course then the honest and straight replies from Saurav Ganguly. This guy is remarkable to say the least. Congrats Anand Vasu. Keep up the good work.

  • MyTwoCents on December 25, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    Thanks Anand for the excellent interview. Appreciate your relaization that you were unfair. On Christmas Day, one can only say that you are pardoned for not knowing the wrong you did.

    For those, who still do not believe he belonged to the same level as the other greats, here are some statistics in terms of (A)Test Avg (B)Test Wkts (C)ODI Avg and (D) ODI Wkts for the legends of current time:

    1. Tendulkar 55.06/44/44.33/154 2. Dravid 55.97/1/39.49/4 3. Laxman 44.10/2/30.76/0 4. Ganguly 43.17/32/41.02/100

    No body knows "Ganguly" better than Steve Waugh. Recently (TOI, 24 Dec) he mentioned "You don't have to like or dislike Ganguly. You have to respect him" and "When you see an Indian side with Ganguly in it, you know it's game on".

    Let all of us salute this great Son of India.

  • SyedZubair on December 25, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    A very rare and good interview.Wish him a great success.It will be great if he becomes the coach for the Indian Team :)

  • siva_22379 on December 25, 2007, 13:13 GMT

    Prince of Kolkatta... Name itself tells the story who has done a lot for Indian Cricket especially as a Captain. Aggression was a key on his role. The captain who comes in to mind who has led India is Ganguly after Kapil Dev. Many told that he will never come back to Indian Cricket when he was dropped in 2005. I was sure that he will answer all those critics, he did it finally... Apart from Captaincy he has done many in terms of ODI, where he has scored every thousand odd runs in a good phase. The man who has taken the team to World Cup final... Overseas victories... Beating Ausies in India... etc...Simply DADA is great...

  • kingofpain on December 25, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    I don't think Anand was unfair in his criticism of Ganguly when he did so. In the interview, he never said he regretted his criticism or that he thought it unfair. I have always been a fan of Ganguly's offside play, but the 04-05 season indicated that Ganguly ought to go and I think that his criticism in the media then was warranted. The manner of his sacking was very sad to see and we all thought his career was finished. We were mistaken in thinking so and I, for one, am very glad to be proven wrong. While the criticism was warranted at the time of his omission, the lack of faith we showed in his ability to fight his way back into the team was wrong. Here's congratulating and wishing SCG the best of luck in his 100th Test.

  • lestokes on December 25, 2007, 11:03 GMT

    India is perhaps one of most favourite team's (not just becuase of the talent, as is Australia), but in terms of intetrnaitional teams. Ganguly has always impressed me as a key player. I know he had a difficult time during his tenure as captain, but since 2005 he has done very well. Infact i actaully forsee him as playing a key role during this test series, and for that matter i see him making a century in the first test starting tommorow. All the best for India and Australia. I'm more excited about this than christmas... ;)

  • partha_sghosh on December 25, 2007, 10:38 GMT

    Reading Ganguly interviews is always motivational and inspirational. Wishing Dada all he best to Jumbo and his team for the aussie series. Thanks Cricinfo.

  • acmnamin on December 25, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    Over the years I have heard negative critics about Ganguly. After all of those 17000 plus runs, 100 wkts in ODI and being a great captain of Indian cricket history, still people don't see the brighter side of the story. Is Ganguly average batsman? Well, tell me who is called God of the offsite batting. Is Ganguly great captain due to Dravid, Sehwag and other teammates? I remind you about Steve Waugh or Hansie Cronje. Why they considered as best captain of the world. Or look now to Mahela or Ricky. Look they have more talented players in the roster than Ganguly had. Thus, its not only the question that you have talent in the team but also how you will utilize those raw bits makes a captain great.

    Just stand up, open your eyes and Salute the maharaja. I wonder the treatment you people gave him along with Indian cricket board, God might take it seriously and India will never see another 'Offsite God' in their cricket history.

    All the best buddy. Go ahead...

  • preet_mca on December 25, 2007, 9:41 GMT

    my dear Ganguly is genius and sehwag too..if dravid has made that 233 and 70 that only bcoz he has been sent in at no. 3 by captain which earlier was laxman..so decision comes...if sehwag has made that 309 that's bcoz of ganguly's backing up....to play him...my dear he has that nack of taking most difficult decisions at most crucial situations in a match...which no other captain can do....so just go to hell

  • SKM_India on December 25, 2007, 7:18 GMT

    You can love him... you can hate him... but you just cannot ignore him!! People who thinks that Ganguly was a successful captain because of other players playing well... I think they are true.. But, the point is, a captain just cannot make all the runs for his team and take all the wickets.... each individual contributions matters... So, if the players are playing good under a captain and if we're winning the matches.... the credit goes to the captain.... Because its the captains responsibility to motivate team mates and get the best out of them.... and this is why Ganguly is known as the "Best Captain for India".... PS :- Kapil Dev couldn't have won the 1983 world cup without the support of Jimmy Amarnath....

  • mastakama on December 25, 2007, 5:40 GMT

    What happened Anand? I posted my comments but unfortunately they were not put up? Being a good journalist requires you to take criticism as well. You should have learnt something after you took this interview.

  • backwardpoint on December 25, 2007, 5:40 GMT

    I dont understand forwardshortlegs point. Every captain has good players who perform and its the captains duty to ensure that people are motivated enough to perform. If the captain has to perform everything and he is the only person responsible for the team wining, how many instances of victory can we quote? Besides, what are the other membrs in the team for if its just the captain who is suppsoed to contribute?

    Even Australia would lose if its just the captain who has to contribute in case of a victory

  • Rizs on December 25, 2007, 5:20 GMT

    Thanks to Anand for the interview .

    Ganguly mentioned that he hadnt see anyone in the batting department who is special apart from Yuvraj and Sehwag. What about Goutam Gambheer ?isnt he special for the future ?or Wasim Jaffer?i Know they have long way ahead to prove themselves but is there anyone who would doubt their talents?I kknow you can not put the newcomers in the same braket of Yuvraj . but what about of MS Dhoni then?

  • HOTCHA on December 25, 2007, 4:04 GMT

    A wonderful piece there, I thought. A perfect interview. I have always been a Ganguly fan, and still enjoy his caressing drives, square off the wicket, or when he takes a few paces down the wicket to loft the spinners for six. I wish his 100th test is memorable, and that he joins the 'elite' group who have scored a century in their 100th match. We need Ganguly to continue with his form of the season, against the pacy Aussies - Lee, Tait and Johnson who touch the 150 kph mark quite regularly. Here's wishing the Indian team the very best.

  • energy on December 25, 2007, 3:15 GMT

    Anti Ganguly bias does not exist. What I have seen is a rabid and often illiterate rant against the most successful captain of indian cricket. He is obviously not sachin tendulkar's class in batting, even he makes no bones about it. And he is not a saint, he has never claimed to be one. He has however had the conviction to follow through his plans, and generally they were aimed for the good of the team. I have the feeling most people who hate him would hate anybody with guts to change status quo in tricky situations. We should really appreciate him for being courageous enough to gamble media image and fight for his convictions. That is what India needed during the early 2000s.

  • qaz000 on December 25, 2007, 2:34 GMT

    I have never liked Ganguly although I respect his captaincy.when India won against under his captaincy and when he performed well as a player were great achivement for India specillay in overseas.But my question is that has he ever permormed well against really quality bowling attack specially fast bowlers in overseas where the pitches had enough grass and hard that produced bounce.Now can Indian batting orders specially Gangully can bat really well and scores a 2nd innigs hundred in Pirth agaist fully fit Lee,Tait & Johnsons?If he can that will stop my mind that he is a real class player like Dravid,Laxmen or Sachin.

  • cricketmama on December 25, 2007, 0:29 GMT

    I am reminded of the phrase "Grace Under Fire" when I think of Ganguly! I have two kids, and whenever they are faced with adversity, I can give them the example of Ganguly...he is a great role-model.

  • Vishi on December 24, 2007, 21:46 GMT

    Good Article Vasu... But your apology doesnt even come close to the brutal assualt the cricinfo took on not only Saurav but all the rest of the top indian batsmen... All I can say is our weakness is not the batting, but its the bowling... But journalists like you and others have butchered the Indian batsmen of late, who are the best in fact of recent. Even didnt exclude Sachin... I think this interview is a good lesson for those journalists who just look to make a story for the day and not worry about the real picture !!

  • Gowthaman on December 24, 2007, 20:45 GMT

    One trait of Sourav that stood out even in his early days was that he was always willing to give credit to his team-mates in every match he won the Man of the match award. I remember him giving credit to even someone like Rajesh Chauhan for hitting a six at a crucial stage and some of the lesser players for meaningful, not necessarily crucial contributions. Having been given to understand that he had an attitude, I was surprised by the grace he showed in the post match interviews. So when he became the captain, it was no surprise that he backed his team to the hilt. It took a lot of mental toughness to hit a century at Lords when the whole of India had trounced him as a quota selection. He has made a career of proving people wrong but when it comes to Sourav, nothing seems to be enough. 17,000 plus International runs, only the third player to achieve the double of 11,000 runs and 100 wickets in ODIs, the best captain India has ever had, doubts are still raised about his quality!!!!

  • Harinder_Jadwani on December 24, 2007, 18:54 GMT

    As an admirer of Ganguly as India captain over the years, I have never understood the hate directed at him by so many fans.. His firing as captain was the worst thing Indian cricket did to itself (read those idiotic men with power who conspired to remove him...) and the result was the catastrophic result in the 2007 Windies World Cup...

    This article by Vasu shows exactly what a positive force Ganguly was for Indian cricket - and why Sehwag, Harbhajan, and Yuvraj risked their careers to speak up for him.....as captain he backed his players even under pressure, and this in turn produced the loyalty from them which led to his becoming India's most successful captain. Ganguly's seeming stand-offishness was simply his way of not letting media pressure get to him....but this was misunderstood by many foolish fans as arrogance...... No arrogant captain could inspire this kind of respect from team-mates. I wish him great success and luck in Australia, and in the twilight of his career.

  • resmyrakri on December 24, 2007, 18:35 GMT

    Thanks Anand for a nice interview. Even you got polarised like others. No wonder those who made comments before me got polarised. This could be the part of the personlity of Ganguly. You can call it narcissistic or histrionic or even borderline traits. No doubt that Ganguli stood for the team India though petty politics of Indian cricket polarised against him at some point. Ganguly is an average batsmen with immense fighting quality and is reflected in his comments and is a good anlyser of his own abilities. Heplayed sublime innings and fighting innings. He is a great captain far far superior than the so called astute Michel Vaughn whom the Brits media lifted. He has the right attitude of a leader and remained a whipping boy. However hard they try he will remain as Maharaja of Indian cricket.

  • resmyrakri on December 24, 2007, 18:17 GMT

    Thanks Anand for a nice interview. Even you got polarised like others. No wonder those who made comments before me got polarised. This could be the part of the personlity of Ganguly. You can call it narcissistic or histrionic or even borderline traits. No doubt that Ganguli stood for the team India though petty politics of Indian cricket polarised against him at some point. Ganguly is an average batsmen with immense fighting quality and is reflected in his comments and is a good anlyser of his own abilities. Heplayed sublime innings and fighting innings. He is a great captain far far superior than the so called astute Michel Vaughn whom the Brits media lifted. He has the right attitude of a leader and remained a whipping boy. However hard they try he will remain as Maharaja of Indian cricket.

  • catchtheslip on December 24, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    I agree totally with vermacelli. I, like many others, have this nagging suspicion that he disliked the south players and was responsible for the long spells of omission of Kumble and Laxman. He also never gave credit to Dravid for his selfless service as VC which would have greatly contributed to his success.

  • ivanjoseph on December 24, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    Anand: I'm glad you have the good grace to accept that you were unfair. So many people have been unfair in their criticism - there is one more person among Cricinfo's staff who will remain unnamed who also has said things he shouldn't have.

    I've always felt that Ganguly played with real passion and looked the opponents in the eye believing that we were as good/ better. The results were very gratifying. We as fans sometimes expect too much from our team. If we don't do well in Australia most people will criticize this team and individuals again.

    Ultimately, just like cricketers live and die by their performances, journalists should also be rewarded for performance ie writing in an objective fashion and sharing insights based on close observation. If they are proven wrong often, they have failed. That and not just readership should be included in evaluating the media. Then we might see more balance.

    But till then, thanks for having the courage to accept that you were unfair.

  • ranjitm on December 24, 2007, 17:49 GMT

    Vermacelli, Are you kidding? This was one of Anand Vasu's better interviews. You may hate Ganguly and that's fine. But come on, be gracious and give him some credit for his self-belief and his inspired comeback against all odds after being unceremoniously dumped both as captain and player. Even Steve Waugh admires him for his grit: http://tinyurl.com/26hsdr

  • forwardshortleg on December 24, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    i dont understand one perception of ganguly being a great captain.i give him credit for what he has done but the real reasons for india doing well under his captaincy were 1. rahul dravids 233 and 70 notout in adelaide test 2.rahul dravids 270 in rawalpindi test 3.rahul dravid and sanjay bangar playing out swing in leeds 4.sehwags brilliant form during his regime 5.pathan swinging the ball prodigiusly ang providing early breakthroughs to name a few....ganguly has benefitted from all these players playing well and not bcoz of his captaincy

  • Aussie-07 on December 24, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    There is no doubt that Ganguly is a great play and have been a successful captain for india. As an Australian supporter I must admitt that he have made a good point,I have always mentioned, to play good against Australia you have to play aggressively. Australia plays agressive and compettitive cricket, that same aggresion needs to be back fired at them. I believe with Ganguly being back in this Indian side and their batting list will make this game very interesting.

  • AK554 on December 24, 2007, 17:02 GMT

    From the early struggles to cement his place in the team to playing the best bowlers in their prime (Mcgraths, Pollocks...walking down to Murali...you know where the ball will end up everytime he does that) to the days at the helm grooming the cubs into matchwinners and making a team which threatened the Aussies best 11 to the tough days when he was looked down at and to this day when he could invite Anand Vasu for a cup of hot tea and a cool interview...its been a fairy tale scripted by a man who never quit. Mr. Ganguly, I wish you all the very best. You have a much longer story to tell your grand children.

  • fadincvaros on December 24, 2007, 16:07 GMT

    The truth about Ganguly? He is a winner. Simple as that. And than he's a classy player who benifited greatly from the year off. He played so beautifully in 2007 that nobody can argue he's been the rock of India's test batting. Against England, at Trent Bridge and at the Oval, you almost could see the Ganguly of the Gabba in 2003, effortlessly playing on the off side with a timing that few players possess. There's no point to criticize a player that tomorrow will play his 100th Test: Dada is the best captain India has had and a player that at the moment is as solid as any other in this lineup. In him rest the hopes of an indian upset down under

  • cricniscient on December 24, 2007, 15:47 GMT

    I admire Ganguly for his tenacity in regaining his position in the Indian side - the mark of a true competitor. Though it matters little now, he's reluctant to admit that he was rightfully dropped from the Indian side in 2005, or perhaps he's reluctant to credit Greg Chappell in any way. There's no entitlement to a place in the national side, but to his credit, he earned it back. Scoring runs will always settle debates.

  • knock_knock on December 24, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    Ganguly was as regional as any other captain has been, in fact more. He also tried to bring in players from west bengal - deep dasgupta, saba kareem, rohan gavaskar and laxmi ratan shukla to name a few. all these play for bengal. It was good for indian cricket that none of them faired well. So ganguly's claim that he wasnt regional is a blatant lie. He definitely treated dravid shabbily, he put an end to akash chopra's career. Lot of people forget that whatever winning records he has is because of the fact that rahul dravid was a great vice-captain too. And ganguly used to shy away from difficult situations and dravid used to stand up !

  • Kumar_cricket on December 24, 2007, 15:03 GMT

    To be honest i m not a fan of Ganguly but even i m not in anti Ganguly too.Look at his answers how clear and stright forward(i never read such things from the captain Dravid) it shows why he is sucessful captain for india so far.But when it comes to performances with bat ,whatever he did for his comeback he shud have done bit earlier than now.

  • Cellinis on December 24, 2007, 14:53 GMT

    It is tough to be unbiased towards Ganguly. I don't like him as a player, personally. On the other hand, I admire him as a captain. He did something that Dravid and Sachin (and most before them) failed to do. He built a team. Even better he didn't build a mirror image of his own thoughts, rather a team that played freely. I think that he was the best captain we ever had. It was refreshing to read the article where Ganguly talked about himself without a journalist trying to put words in his mouth. And for this bit of journalistic integrity (which is, unfortunately as rare as it is difficult to achieve) I congragulate you. And best of luck to Dada - we'll need grit down under and if he comes into his element, by jove it will be a good scrap!

  • raj99s on December 24, 2007, 14:44 GMT

    This interview shows why he is a Maharaj, simple things, just be tough and do your job, amazing Dada !! That is why you have so many people standing for you. I remember when you were out how the whole team supported you, you are an amazing captain, you get the 100% credit of making the indian boys indian men. Now just carry on and play till you enjoy the game. You will always be an icon in indian cricket. There is always a buzz .. We hope you will bring up some scintillating performances.

  • backinurface on December 24, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    This interview just deepens the admiration I have for Ganguly! Whenever people in my circles brought out the swords for Ganguly (during our tea time discussions), I would bring the armour to protect him! I've always felt that he was a Fighter. Thats the first thing that struck me, whenever I thought of Ganguly. He infused that fighting spirit, that aggression in the Indian Cricket Team. Its not surprising that Stephen Waugh, one of the toughest men to have played the game, has made public, the respect he has for the Prince of Calcutta! Say what you want, but to come back into the Indian Cricket Team after the way he was dumped - takes some doing, and nerves of steel. Its there for all of us to see, where the aggression, the fight comes from.. From deep within, the fire in the belly - as they say! Rock on, Dada!!

  • SenthilDev on December 24, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    People with Pride even if they are wounded will come out of it strongly. Its the meek you need to worry about. Anand, Never Ever Write this Man Off. He will come back!!

  • rahulbamalwa on December 24, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    There is no doubt that "Dada" is in the batting form of his life and now I think all the Anti-Ganguly people Including Anand Vasu should shut up and admire Ganguly's efforts for the team.This interview shows that how good a person can be towards a team.It shows what kind of a fighting spirit one can have.Dont forget he is the man who bought aggression into Indian Cricket and helped them develop young cricketers like Yuvraj Singh,Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh.He along with John Wright crafted these very players into what they are right now.I dont think anyone in Indian Cricket has made an impact on his players like Sourav 'Dada' Ganguly.Congrats Sourav!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nampally on December 24, 2007, 14:35 GMT

    Ganguly has shown the cricketing world how to rise after being hit by the Selectors & Media. He fought his way back and proved himself to be amongst top notch batsmen in the Indian cricket today. This is a rare quality that Sourav has - determination, Skill and talent. I am sure he will be a great inspiration to all cricketers in general and the Indian team in particular to fight hard against the Ausies. India needs more cricketing characters like Sourav. I wish him all the luck to rise up to his best form and help India defeat Autralia. On his day he has the potential and determination to fight the Australian pace attack and score against them. Yuvraj singh is the other batsmen who is capable of doing well but the Indian selectors have treated him shabily like they did Sourav. I hope these two along with Sachin and Rahul lead the way to an Indian triumph in Australia. Good Luck Sourav and show the Ausies your toughness. I believe in you unlike some others.

  • 01081955 on December 24, 2007, 14:23 GMT

    If Sourav has appeared the best Indian batsman in 2007 it was because the bigger two, Sachin and Rahul haven't been at their best or have abated. To give the devil its due, Sourav operated on par with his best, and seems to have worked for it. He'll get even more opportunity in Australia, should Sachin and Rahul fail to dust off themselves. It is time these batters did their job well for their bowlers to try and take 20 wickets Down Under, which fortunately has more sporting wickets than the ones in India. We can look for a cracker of a series!

  • Ninan on December 24, 2007, 14:11 GMT

    There's no doubt that Ganguly was "the best" captain that India ever had.Ganguly has spoken very clearly and wisely here.This interview is a true reflection of the winning team & the attitude they had during 2000-2004.Lets just hope that Dada's form carries for one last series in Australia & that the Indian team comes home as the WINNERS.Wouldn't that be an absolute treat for Sachin, Rahul, Sourav, Anil and Laxman.But i strongly disagree with his comment that there is no further talent in India.There is enough talent,its just that they are not getting opportunities due to presence of these stars.Yuvraj has been around for ages now,almost 200 ODI's !!!,and its only now in this last 1yr that he's been actually consistent.If they can be half as patient with any other player,we can build another strong team after the present lot retire.We have Manoj Tiwary,Badrinath,Raina,Parthiv,Uthappa,Praveen Kumar etc.They just need enough opportunities and i am sure that they too will come good.

  • thenkabail on December 24, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    Wonderful interview!!. Even for me who really thought Ganguly does not deserve his place in the side. Remember when he was selected for England in 1996 everyone cried shame and he proved everyone worg with 2 magnificient centuries. Now what he has done after 2005 comeback is just marvellous. But give credit to Greg Chappell for challenging him!!. This interview shows that Ganguly is a wonderful leader. He identified Shewag as a rare talent and that shows he has a thinking mind. Most people have forgotten that Shewag has an average of nearly 50!!. Yet, I do believe that Greg Chappell's removal from Indian coach job was a tragedy. Ganguly says, he does not see any youngester with special talent.....but are the likes of Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, KP Appanna getting chances.....Australian tour may just prove that Yuvraj, Shewag need permanent places with Dravid at #3 and some ageing stars like Laxman, Ganguly, and even Sachin may have to retire within 2008.

  • swami_psg on December 24, 2007, 13:36 GMT

    Hi all, this is a comment with regard to the complaints made against the ageing Indian batsmen and their inexperienced bowling attack. What these critics fail to realize is that Ricky, Hayden, Gilchrist, Hussey [the Australian batting back Bone's] are not in their teens and secondly the Australian Bowling attack is not experienced either - except for Brett Lee there is no single bowler in the squad who has played more than 10-15 tests. So i believe if our batsmen apply themselves and our new ball bowlers exploit the new ball and the conducive conditions we are more than favourites to win a Test - infact the series - and this cannot be termed as an "UPSET" because the Australians arent all that strong in the first place.

  • anurag23bhide on December 24, 2007, 13:32 GMT

    Dada has always been one of Indias best batsmen in last ten years.but the most important achievement of his is the way he has brought up a crop of immensely talented youngsters such as yuvraj,zaheer,bhajji,sehwag, most of who are the crux of the team.But one cannot forget that he also gave MS Dhoni a great lauchpad in international cricket,a fact that hardly anyone realises.It was Dada who had the audacity of sending in a largely unheard of Jharkhand stumper at no.3 in an important match,thus showing immense faith in the young man,and thus allowing him to excel in just his 5-6th game.Otherwise he may have languished for long at no.7 in a star studded Indian lineup that may have played on his mind and possibly affected his performance.He could have been written off as another ordinary wicketkeeper and India might have lost thier 1st longstanding wk after NayanMongia. However today he is a Worldcup winning captain, but who knows where he might have been but for dada's confidence in him

  • smian on December 24, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    Reading this interview was quite a good experience. Got to know a lot about the person who has the credit of giving lots of debating oppurtunities in the last few years. Well, nobody can deny the fact that sourav ganguly is in the prime form of his career, probably the best but one should also accept the fact it wouldnt have been possible if he hadn't been left out of the team in 2005. There has been lots of hue(s) and cry(s) that ganguly has proved everyone wrong and has succeded in cementing the place which always belonged to him but nobody cares to look at and ponder on the fact that his comeback wasn't due to his own performance in the domestic circuit but due to the lack of quality players at that point of time. Though there can be some political interpretations of his comeback also. Its another thing he has utilised his comeback in the best way possible but there isn't anything which can make him stand above the team.

  • Jhnj on December 24, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    Ganguly's biggest problem was/is an inflated ego. Too many "I" statements. It must be torture to have to live with and constantly stroke such ego. Ganguly's real test will be in this series not that feather bed he batted on against pakistan. Ganguly thinks that hiding at # 5 will save him from the fire but it will be the deer in the headlight spectacle all over again.

  • RahulGandhi on December 24, 2007, 11:16 GMT

    Well, lets not talk about his technique, we all know its not amongst the best, and even he agrees to that. The thing is, he was an aggressive campaigner, and was more committed, how i perceive the things that went with him, he wasn't that committed in later part of his captaincy, Nagpur test against Australia and second test against zimbabwe were an example of that. Though I won't agree with the akash chopra/yuvraj by vermacelli part, because after Pakistan series even akash chopra couldn't perform in domestics and he has started that once again now. And what changed after being dropped is not technique, its still the same bad technique against short balls but now he is more committed to go on and on and on. The inning played on his revival in Johannesburg's Test Match, would stand amongst his career best innings for me, Even ganguly of 99-00 couldn't have played like that in those conditions.

  • RanjithShettyJordan on December 24, 2007, 11:06 GMT

    When he retires from international cricket he will be one of the greatest left hand batsmen of all time. When all cricket lovers written off including some from cricinfo ,But i was sure this man will come back and at least for one more last time he will show to all cricketing world that with out proper techniques like tendulker or dravid or lara he can score runns against very good bowling attacks.

    You can see in next few days his carrier is going to reach new highs in his favorite opposition in terms of intensity and fire. He will meet fire with fire like he did as a captain against Steve.

    I like him because in 21st century cricket he captained India holding his head high, not like his successors and competed with same intensity as his best opposite number.

  • Rahulfan on December 24, 2007, 9:28 GMT

    After he was removed as captain and then removed as a player, first Harbhajan spoke in his favour and against the Board (they rebuked him of course!). Then Yuvraj did the same (and he too was asked to shut up!). Finally, it was Shewag, then the vice-captain, and they gagged him too. You read this interview and you realize why so many stood up for him risking their positions with the Board. For all the talent that the others have, this man is head and shoulders ahead in spirit...and you definitely need that to win and succeed in any sport as much as in life.

  • DRABU007 on December 24, 2007, 9:23 GMT

    No one dare disgaree that 'Dada' was the one and only one who brought aggression into Indian cricket. He instilled that fighting spirit which indian cricket had been lacking for years surrendering games from potentially winning position. What we see as aggression and sucess in the team today is a result of ganguly.True he lost his place in side due to poor performance but look now he is making his performances speak for himself. Problem with indian fans , we expect a tendulkar in every cricketer.Everyone is different with their own special ability...gangully caressing through off side...laxman 's wrist works..sehwags swashbuckling knocks.. Let indians under @jumbo(Kumble) rattle the aussies in their own den.

  • Shaju.K on December 24, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    It appears strange to hear the still continuing debates over the technique & fitness of a player who has more than 300 ODIs and 100 Tests and overall 17000+ runs under his belt. People who make their livelyhood out of such critisism should understand one thing, it's time for them to swallow what all they have vomitted in their past, at least about Ganguly. He has proved all the ponts & shown it to them by his performance itself and still these people are sitting infront of him and talking about technique & fitness!!! How shameless they need to be...!!!!

  • Devrup on December 24, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    Wow, I am so happy that Anand a self proclaimed and rightly so Ganguly basher has made to eat his own words with salt and pepper! But wait, let Dada fail in one or two innings in Australia, then Anand and his fellow Ganguly bashers will come out with their swords saying "Look how he can't play Australia in Australia and how he is still weak against genuine pace" I am sure if Sachin fails in similar innings, he would be pardoned, but somehow the yardstick for Ganguly is different and he himself has called him the "whipping boy". Anyways, I just hope Anil can match Dada's captaincy performance of dominating Aussies and nearly beating them(Aussies had to literally fight tooth and nail in the last match to save the series in their own backyard) in 2003-200r series. Last time, Ganguly scored 144 in Brisbane with a man of the match award in the drawn test to inspire the team as a captain,who will it be this time in Melbourne? We really need to emulate Ganguly's captaincy and batting of 2003

  • keecha on December 24, 2007, 6:27 GMT

    Look at his answers!! Wow, no mincing of words. He knows and everybody knows that he is a king on the offside and has got the gift of timing. But what many did not know but for him and a few others is that he is a man of steel nerves and can stand tall at the end of the day. Till date, he is India's best captain and 3 cheers to ganguly. in a way, it was good that he had to sit out for sometime. otherwise not many would have realized that he is a tiget not just by name but by attitude as well.

  • vermacelli on December 24, 2007, 6:23 GMT

    Hey Anand,

    I have typically enjoyed your writing, but admit to being underwhelmed by this effort. In full disclosure, I am not a fan of Ganguly. Hate him in fact. The less than direct point I am trying to make is that Ganguly is a polarizing figure. Literally, a minefield of controversy. Somehow, like a well trained bomb sniffer, you have managed to avoid most. For example, I believe he got rid of Chopra to accommodate Yuvraj and mitigate the threat to his own middle-order slot; he faked an injury to avoid playing the Australians on a grassy Nagpur pitch; he undermined Dravid. Repeatedly; he would not be performing this way had he not been axed by Chappell.... Too bad. One does not get opportunities like this often. Apologies for a tough post, but that's my anti-Ganguly bias creeping in. I'm glad you're the journalist and not me.

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  • vermacelli on December 24, 2007, 6:23 GMT

    Hey Anand,

    I have typically enjoyed your writing, but admit to being underwhelmed by this effort. In full disclosure, I am not a fan of Ganguly. Hate him in fact. The less than direct point I am trying to make is that Ganguly is a polarizing figure. Literally, a minefield of controversy. Somehow, like a well trained bomb sniffer, you have managed to avoid most. For example, I believe he got rid of Chopra to accommodate Yuvraj and mitigate the threat to his own middle-order slot; he faked an injury to avoid playing the Australians on a grassy Nagpur pitch; he undermined Dravid. Repeatedly; he would not be performing this way had he not been axed by Chappell.... Too bad. One does not get opportunities like this often. Apologies for a tough post, but that's my anti-Ganguly bias creeping in. I'm glad you're the journalist and not me.

  • keecha on December 24, 2007, 6:27 GMT

    Look at his answers!! Wow, no mincing of words. He knows and everybody knows that he is a king on the offside and has got the gift of timing. But what many did not know but for him and a few others is that he is a man of steel nerves and can stand tall at the end of the day. Till date, he is India's best captain and 3 cheers to ganguly. in a way, it was good that he had to sit out for sometime. otherwise not many would have realized that he is a tiget not just by name but by attitude as well.

  • Devrup on December 24, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    Wow, I am so happy that Anand a self proclaimed and rightly so Ganguly basher has made to eat his own words with salt and pepper! But wait, let Dada fail in one or two innings in Australia, then Anand and his fellow Ganguly bashers will come out with their swords saying "Look how he can't play Australia in Australia and how he is still weak against genuine pace" I am sure if Sachin fails in similar innings, he would be pardoned, but somehow the yardstick for Ganguly is different and he himself has called him the "whipping boy". Anyways, I just hope Anil can match Dada's captaincy performance of dominating Aussies and nearly beating them(Aussies had to literally fight tooth and nail in the last match to save the series in their own backyard) in 2003-200r series. Last time, Ganguly scored 144 in Brisbane with a man of the match award in the drawn test to inspire the team as a captain,who will it be this time in Melbourne? We really need to emulate Ganguly's captaincy and batting of 2003

  • Shaju.K on December 24, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    It appears strange to hear the still continuing debates over the technique & fitness of a player who has more than 300 ODIs and 100 Tests and overall 17000+ runs under his belt. People who make their livelyhood out of such critisism should understand one thing, it's time for them to swallow what all they have vomitted in their past, at least about Ganguly. He has proved all the ponts & shown it to them by his performance itself and still these people are sitting infront of him and talking about technique & fitness!!! How shameless they need to be...!!!!

  • DRABU007 on December 24, 2007, 9:23 GMT

    No one dare disgaree that 'Dada' was the one and only one who brought aggression into Indian cricket. He instilled that fighting spirit which indian cricket had been lacking for years surrendering games from potentially winning position. What we see as aggression and sucess in the team today is a result of ganguly.True he lost his place in side due to poor performance but look now he is making his performances speak for himself. Problem with indian fans , we expect a tendulkar in every cricketer.Everyone is different with their own special ability...gangully caressing through off side...laxman 's wrist works..sehwags swashbuckling knocks.. Let indians under @jumbo(Kumble) rattle the aussies in their own den.

  • Rahulfan on December 24, 2007, 9:28 GMT

    After he was removed as captain and then removed as a player, first Harbhajan spoke in his favour and against the Board (they rebuked him of course!). Then Yuvraj did the same (and he too was asked to shut up!). Finally, it was Shewag, then the vice-captain, and they gagged him too. You read this interview and you realize why so many stood up for him risking their positions with the Board. For all the talent that the others have, this man is head and shoulders ahead in spirit...and you definitely need that to win and succeed in any sport as much as in life.

  • RanjithShettyJordan on December 24, 2007, 11:06 GMT

    When he retires from international cricket he will be one of the greatest left hand batsmen of all time. When all cricket lovers written off including some from cricinfo ,But i was sure this man will come back and at least for one more last time he will show to all cricketing world that with out proper techniques like tendulker or dravid or lara he can score runns against very good bowling attacks.

    You can see in next few days his carrier is going to reach new highs in his favorite opposition in terms of intensity and fire. He will meet fire with fire like he did as a captain against Steve.

    I like him because in 21st century cricket he captained India holding his head high, not like his successors and competed with same intensity as his best opposite number.

  • RahulGandhi on December 24, 2007, 11:16 GMT

    Well, lets not talk about his technique, we all know its not amongst the best, and even he agrees to that. The thing is, he was an aggressive campaigner, and was more committed, how i perceive the things that went with him, he wasn't that committed in later part of his captaincy, Nagpur test against Australia and second test against zimbabwe were an example of that. Though I won't agree with the akash chopra/yuvraj by vermacelli part, because after Pakistan series even akash chopra couldn't perform in domestics and he has started that once again now. And what changed after being dropped is not technique, its still the same bad technique against short balls but now he is more committed to go on and on and on. The inning played on his revival in Johannesburg's Test Match, would stand amongst his career best innings for me, Even ganguly of 99-00 couldn't have played like that in those conditions.

  • Jhnj on December 24, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    Ganguly's biggest problem was/is an inflated ego. Too many "I" statements. It must be torture to have to live with and constantly stroke such ego. Ganguly's real test will be in this series not that feather bed he batted on against pakistan. Ganguly thinks that hiding at # 5 will save him from the fire but it will be the deer in the headlight spectacle all over again.

  • smian on December 24, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    Reading this interview was quite a good experience. Got to know a lot about the person who has the credit of giving lots of debating oppurtunities in the last few years. Well, nobody can deny the fact that sourav ganguly is in the prime form of his career, probably the best but one should also accept the fact it wouldnt have been possible if he hadn't been left out of the team in 2005. There has been lots of hue(s) and cry(s) that ganguly has proved everyone wrong and has succeded in cementing the place which always belonged to him but nobody cares to look at and ponder on the fact that his comeback wasn't due to his own performance in the domestic circuit but due to the lack of quality players at that point of time. Though there can be some political interpretations of his comeback also. Its another thing he has utilised his comeback in the best way possible but there isn't anything which can make him stand above the team.