Former India captain Sourav Ganguly recalled the highs and lows of his storied cricket career, paying tribute to his coaches, including Greg Chappell with whom he had a public fall-out, on the occasion of Teachers’ Day on Monday, September 5.
Sourav Ganguly had to prove naysayers wrong right from the start of his international career in 1992 to fighting back from a low in the lead-up to his final appearance in a World Cup. Ganguly is credited to reviving the fortunes of Indian cricket after the match-fixing scandal off 2000 that rocked Indian cricket. Taking over as captain, Ganguly helped Indian cricket regain the trust of the fans and brought back supporters to stadiums with his influential and aggressive leadership.
Ganguly had the opportunity to work under several established coaches during his 16-year-long journey in international cricket. While he was able to establish a superb camaraderie with John Wright, things did not turn out as expected with former Australia captain Greg Chappell, whom he brought him on board after the 2003 World Cup.
While Ganguly and Chappell began on a good note, the captain-coach relationship soon turned sour even as his form came under the scanner. In 2005, Ganguly was not just removed as captain but was also dropped from the ODI side. In January 2006, Ganguly was also dropped from the Test side.
However, the Kolkata star fought back and returned to the Test side in December 2006 and the ODI side just before the World Cup in 2007.
“After the World Cup, we got a new coach. We discussed quite a few names but we zeroed in on Greg Chappel from Australia. The 2007 World Cup was very important for us because in 2003, despite getting so close, we were not able to win the World Cup final. Not just me, the entire team was looking for another opportunity to fulfill our dreams. We got another opportunity to lift the trophy, but by that time, I had given up captaincy. However, I wanted to play well for my team and I wanted to give it my all,” Ganguly said in an video tribute on Classplus YouTube.
Ganguly said the captaincy saga made him a stronger person, mentally and physically. Despite having seen a massive slide, Ganguly said he never wanted to give up on his dreams and worked as hard as a 19-year-old to find success at the highest level again.
In 2007, Ganguly scored 1106 runs in 10 matches at a staggering average of 61.44 and he hit 3 hundred in the calendar year. Despite the World Cup disappointment, Ganguly bowed out of international cricket on a high, maintaining his form till the last Test he played in 2008.
“What happened during that phase made me a better person. My mental strength, and physical strength was furthered. I practiced a lot. It was as if I went back to being a 19-year-old,” Ganguly added.
“I had to fight for my place in the side, I was sometimes in and sometimes out. But I never wanted to give up, I never went away from pursuing my dream.
“Then I came back, it was Sourav’s time to become Dada again. As a result, in 2007, I scored big runs against Pakistan – 239, it was a very good series. I came home as better, stronger player. I told myself i still had it in me to play for the team and take the team forward,” he added.
“I thought I won’t quit and give them answers with the bat.”
Ganguly retired from international cricket in 2008, finishing as one of the most successful captains and batters to have played for India. The former skipper went on to become the BCCI president in 2019 and has been at the helm of Indian cricket ever since.
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