2001 Eden Gardens Test win, the catalyst behind a new Indian cricket team: Sourav Ganguly

  • Ganguly has come out with his new book ‘A Century Is Not Enough’
  • ‘Eden Gardens 2001’ changed the way cricket was played in India
  • Constant trial runs in the Indian team forced Ganguly into a premature retirement in 2008

Sourav Ganguly, one of India’s finest ever cricket captains, recently came out with a book titled ‘A Century Is Not Enough’, where he takes the readers through his entire cricket journey. In the book, Ganguly has also narrated the dizzy heights that he experienced as the captain of India and the low points that came with the job. The legendary batsman also highlighted the challenges he faced as a cricketer and how he fought and won against all odds.

Excerpts from an exclusive interview:

Sourav Ganguly on his international cricket career

Ganguly described his India career as a roller-coaster ride which also had many highs and lows. “When you are young, it is tough to face rejection and failure. But deep down I knew I had the ability to succeed,” he said, as reported by The Guardian.

On whether Ganguly got the captaincy as a twist of fate

The Prince of Kolkata, as he is fondly called, remarked that over the years some of the best things in Indian cricket have happened by accident. “Had Sachin Tendulkar not chosen to give up the job, I would have had to wait. The Indian captaincy, however, came to me at a very challenging time.”

Ganguly also stressed that at the time when he was appointed as the national skipper, world cricket was reeling under the match-fixing saga and that India had lost a number of senior players at the time. It came down on him and coach John Wright on identifying new stars and rebuilding the team.

Captaincy – boon or bane?

Ganguly said that while it is a great honour to lead your country, but it is also a high-pressure job.

“There are scores of instances where players have given up the hot seat because of the pressures involved. It intrudes on your personal space. I enjoyed my stint at the helm and we had a string of impressive results,” the former captain stated.

On how he managed to get the best out of young cricket players like Zaheer, Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Sehwag

“If players are too worried about keeping their place in the side, they are likely to play it safe. Players should focus entirely on winning matches and never think negatively. Once I spotted potential in a player, I picked him and backed him to succeed. More often than not, they did,” was Ganguly’s point of view on the matter.

On what prompted him to retire in 2008 despite good form with the bat

The southpaw made no bones about the fact that he fought a lonely battle for three years between 2005 and 2008. While he was scoring runs at home and abroad during that time and batting better than ever in his career, he always seemed to be on trial in the Indian side.

“When the situation did not change even in 2008, under a new captain and a new selection panel, I felt enough was enough,” he said.

On the impact of India’s historic victory in the 2001 Eden Gardens Test against Australia

Reflecting on the famous win where India rose out of the ashes after being asked to follow-on by Australian captain Steve Waugh, Ganguly said: “It changed our approach to the game. It gave us self-belief and the body language of our players changed. They gave back to the Aussies as good as they got. And none of it (sledging) was pre-planned. It saw the birth of a ‘New Team India’ which was not scared to win.”

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