Sourav Ganguly is seen as one of the finest captains to have ever played the gentleman’s game. Having taken over the reins at what was arguably the toughest period of Indian cricket, Ganguly went on to groom one of the finest generation of players that Indian cricket has ever seen. Despite being celebrated for his leadership all over the globe, Ganguly was stripped off his captaincy duties in 2005 by the then coach Greg Chappell, a moment he has termed as ‘the biggest setback’ of his career.
Speaking to local Bengali newspaper Sangbad Pratidin, Ganguly spoke about the ‘absolute injustice’ in his illustrious cricketing career. Having returned from a victorious tour of Zimbabwe, sacking was the last thing Ganguly expected.
“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?
Ganguly had led the Indian team to the 2003 World Cup final where they were beaten by Australia. Hoping to go one step further the next time, the Prince of Kolkata was hoping to lead the Indian team to glory in the 2007 World Cup but things took such a drastic turn that he found it difficult to even find a spot in the team consistently.
“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.
The 48-year-old believes that his career started to go downhill after Chappell’s e-mail to the board about him was ‘leaked’. While there’s no denying the love-hate relationship between Ganguly and Chappell, the former doesn’t believe in blaming the Aussie alone for the catastrophe his career witnessed after 2005.
“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?”, he opined.
“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,” Dada added.