Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has recently revealed that his father Chandidas Ganguly was unable to bear the struggle which his son was going through during the Greg Chappell saga and wanted him to retire. However, the southpaw was desperately fighting his way back into the national team. Ganguly made this revelation in his soon to be published autobiography “A Century is Not Enough”
During Chappel’s stint, Ganguly lost the captaincy and also his place in the squad for a year or so. Ganguly also stated that he felt “angry” and disillusioned on being left out of the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy in 2008 just a few months before he announced his retirement. He foresaw it as a clear indicator that what the electors thought of him in the future scheme of things.
He couldn’t find the reason why he was dropped from the squad and then decided to call up the skipper of the team Anil Kumble and tried to get a clarification about what was about to transpire. “I asked him point-blank, did he think I was no longer an automatic choice in his eleven? Kumble – the gentleman that he has always been – seemed embarrassed with my call. He told me he hadn’t been consulted before the selection committee chaired by Dilip Vengsarkar took this decision,” Ganguly writes in his about to be published autobiography also co-authored by Gautam Bhattacharya.
Ganguly reveals that it was Kumble who gave him the belief that if it was left to him to take a call he will definitely pick him. “Kumble’s reply consoled me. He said if it came to him taking the call, he would pick me again for the upcoming Test match selection. I heaved a great sigh of relief,” Ganguly writes.
Ganguly was picked in the Indian squad for the Australian series. However, he was also simultaneously named in the Board President’s XI squad which was prior to the Test series.”The Board President’s XI is traditionally used to vet the potential of promising youngsters or assess veterans whose Test future is uncertain. I was included in it as well. These teams got picked by the new selection committee under Krishnamachari Srikkanth,” Ganguly recalls.
“But its mindset seemed to be no different from the previous committees. The message was crystal clear – that a veteran of 100-plus Test matches, a certain Sourav Ganguly, was again on trial,” he says.
“I felt extremely agitated. That is when I told my father that I needed to call it a day. Enough was enough. My father was a bit surprised. In the past when Greg Chappell had kept me out of the team and I was desperately fighting to claw my way back, he had wanted me to retire, unable to bear his son’s struggle.
“Then I had resisted. I had told him, Bapi (father), you wait. I will be back. I still have cricket left in me. When I grow older I don’t want to sit on my sofa and tell myself, Sourav, you gave up when the going was tough. You should have tried harder. I wanted to catch the bull by its horns and win,” Ganguly writes.
“So three years later when he heard the same person was throwing in the towel, he was surprised,” he goes on to add. Ganguly further stated that he had a meeting with Kumble and he asked him to not take any decision in a jiffy.
“I assured him I would. But deep down I knew my time was up. I made up my mind that I would give everything I had to be successful in this series,” he says. “Cricketing history has recorded that I had an outstanding final series. Got a hundred in Mohali and narrowly missed the second in Nagpur,” Ganguly said about his performance.
He further reveals, “In Mohali a journalist came and asked, ‘Did the hundred give you special pleasure because Greg Chappell was watching it from the Australian camp?’ I said, at this stage of my cricketing career it didn’t matter at all. I had got past all that. For me he didn’t exist anymore.”
He concluded by saying that in a surprise gesture India’s then-skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni asked him to lead during the final stages of his farewell match against the Aussies.
“I had rejected his offer earlier in the day, but could not refuse a second time. Ironically, my captaincy career had begun exactly eight years ago on this very day. I handled the bowling changes and field placements while the last Australian wicket batted.
“But I must admit, at that stage, I found it difficult to focus. So after three overs I handed it back to Dhoni saying, it is your job, MS. We both smiled,” he writes.
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