Former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has spoken about the most difficult chapter of his glorious cricketing career. Ganguly said the ‘biggest setback’ of his career was when he was sacked as India captain and subsequently dropped from the Indian side in 2005. Terming his sacking as ‘injustice’, Ganguly told Bengali newspaper Sangbad Pratidin about his feelings at the time.
“That was the biggest setback of my career. It was an absolute injustice. I know you can’t get justice all the time but even then that treatment could have been avoided. I was the captain of the team which had just won in Zimbabwe and I get sacked after returning home?
“I dreamt of winning the 2007 World Cup for India. We had lost in the final the previous time. I had reasons to dream too. The team had played so well under me for the last five years whether it was home or away. Then you suddenly drop me? First, you say I’m not in the ODI side, then you drop me from the Test team too,” Ganguly said.
It was under his captaincy that team India started winning and competing overseas. India had also qualified for the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. But things changed drastically when Chappell became the coach and he sent out an email to the BCCI against Sourav Ganguly which allegedly got leaked. For the same reason, the current BCCI President feels that Chappell started it but he got the system’s backing for him to be dropped.
The former India opener added that he had no doubt that it all started when then India head coach Greg Chappell had sent out an email to the BCCI against him, which had got ‘leaked’.
“I don’t want to blame Greg Chappell alone. There is no doubt about the fact that he was the one who started it. He suddenly sends an email against me to the board which gets leaked too. Does something like this happen? A cricket team is like a family. There can differences of opinion, misunderstandings in the family but that should be sorted out with dialogue. You are the coach, if you believed that I should play in a certain manner then come and tell me. When I returned as a player he had specified the same things then why not earlier?
Ganguly, who celebrated his 48th birthday on Wednesday, however, refused to blame Chappell alone, saying that it is not possible to sack an Indian captain without the backing of the entire system.
“The others are not innocent either. A foreign coach who doesn’t have any say in the selection cannot drop an Indian captain. I had understood that this is not possible without the support of the entire system. Everyone was involved in the scheme to drop me. But I didn’t crumble under pressure. I didn’t lose confidence in me,” Ganguly added.
After being dropped from the Indian side in 2005, Ganguly made a comeback to the Indian team in 2006 for the tour to South Africa. Ganguly scored a bagful of runs on his return to international cricket and played some of his finest knocks over the next two years.
“I dreamt of winning the 2007 World Cup for India. We had lost in the final the previous time. I had reasons to dream too. The team had played so well under me for the last five years whether it was home or away. Then you suddenly drop me? First, you say I’m not in the ODI side, then you drop me from the Test team too,” Ganguly added.
He announced his retirement after a playing a Test match against Australia in Nagpur in 2008. Ganguly scored 11363 runs in 311 ODIs with 22 hundreds to his name. He scored 7212 runs in 113 Test at an average of 42.17 and with 16 centuries.
Ganguly is hailed as one of the greatest captains of India mainly because of building the team from scratch in 2000 and allowing youngsters like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, and Zaheer Khan to blossom into champion players.