Kolkata, Nov 24 (IANS) Former India captain Sourav Ganguly called it quits from Test cricket in 2008 because he had had enough of selection sagas, fresh from the Greg Chappell controversy which led to him being dropped from the Indian team, the southpaw revealed here on Friday.
“I retired because at some point you’ve had enough. The reason is not because you have had enough of playing the sport but because you’ve had enough of getting selected all the time. Dropped/selected that’s part and parcel of sport,” Ganguly said while speaking at the India Today Conclave East 2017.
Ganguly, one of India’s most successful Test captains, was sacked from his leadership role in October 2005 and later eased out of both the Test and one-day squads following a row with coach Chappell.
Chappell had described Ganguly as a “disruptive influence” in an email to the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI) which was leaked to the media.
After featuring for the men in blue across all formats from 1996-2006, Ganguly was axed in January 2006 and did not play a Test until December that year against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Ganguly had scored a defiant 51 not out in that Test and after that racked up three hundreds and a double hundred (239) against Pakistan in Bengaluru before calling it a day in Nagpur against Australia in November 2008.
“All top sportspersons in the world you look at, Diego Maradona could have played more when he retired; Rahul Dravid retired in 201l, that year he got three or four hundreds. In sport you have to make way for someone else,” said Ganguly, 45, accompanied by wife Dona.
Ganguly said the Chappell incident was an eye-opener for him and made him a better person.
“The Greg Chappell incident was an eye-opener for me. It made me a better person. Before that, from 1995-2006, the graph was only up. I never missed a series, I was captain of India for six years. The world was at my feet till 2006.
“Not many captains in the world would go from not being captain to not even being in the side,” Ganguly said.
Citing the example of how current skipper Virat Kohli treats predecessor M.S. Dhoni, Ganguly said during that period he used to train the hardest and quoted an anecdote Pakistan’s only World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan had told him once.
“You look at Dhoni. He is not the captain of the team but look at the way Virat Kohli looks after him and they go about their job.
“During that period, Imran (Khan) told me in Lahore that when you fly high and you see dark clouds you find a way to fly higher. I did not know the reason, I was not being picked. I was scoring heavily. Then when I made a comeback and retired in 2008, Sachin came up to me and said this is the best I have seen you bat in your career. I worked my hardest during that period,” Ganguly said.
He added that he was “desperate” to become the India coach but ended up being an administrator.
“You should do what you can and not thinking about the outcome. You never know where life goes, you never know where life will take you. I went to Australia in 1999, I wasn’t even the vice-captain. Sachin (Tendulkar) was the captain and in three months I became the captain of India,” he said.
“When I got into administration, I was desperate to be the coach of the national side. (Jagmohan) Dalmiya called me and said ‘why don’t you try for six months’. He passed away and none was around, so I became the CAB president.
People take 20 years to become president. You have to live for the day,” Ganguly said.
On his famous taking-off-shirt incident at the Lord’s balcony after India beat England in the Natwest Series final, Ganguly said he would never do it again.
“I would never do it again. I love the honours board at Lord’s more — which has my name (for his century on debut at the hallowed ground),” Ganguly said smiling.