Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar during the 2003 World Cup
Bangalore: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who forged a terrific opening combination with Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs, spoke to The Telegraph from Calcutta on Sunday evening.
Sourav quit international cricket in November 2008.
The following are excerpts
QHas Sachin’s decision surprised you? Did he get the timing right?
A I think it’s fine as far as the timing goes... I’m not surprised as Sachin hardly played ODIs after the 2011 World Cup... Now, he’s got people off his back, for many had been telling him to quit.
What would you have done in Sachin’s place?
Look, every individual deals with situations differently. Nobody plays for records... You play because you’re passionate about the game and it’s the passion that counts.
Should Sachin have quit ODIs after the 2011 World Cup?
But there’s more to cricket than playing for a World Cup... There’s more to life than wanting to be a member of a World Cup-winning team. It’s not about looking from one World Cup to the next.
What made Sachin such a destructive batsman, particularly in ODIs?
Moving up as an opener is the best thing to have happened to Sachin... He had the maximum overs and made the most of his boundary-hitting abilities... He paced his innings very well... That he’s technically so correct helped in making him so destructive.
It was Sachin’s idea to open, on the 1994 tour of New Zealand, when Navjyot Sidhu had an injury...
(Laughs) Interesting... So, Sidhu’s made quite a few careers!
Which of Sachin’s innings come to mind instantly?
Lots... Sachin’s innings in Sharjah (April 1998)... The 143 and 134 against Australia... Then, his 99 and 93 in Belfast, versus South Africa, in 2007... Those were on wickets which did everything. I know, for I was at the other end. In between, how can one forget the way Sachin batted in the 2003 World Cup? He was brilliant.
There was a period when Sachin took batting in limited overs cricket to quite another level...
He did, yes, but in Test cricket too. The 22 yards seemed to belong to Sachin.
The two of you had 21 century partnerships in ODIs, which remains a record. What went into the making of such a successful pair?
One, that it was a left-right combination... We understood each other well and one could anticipate what the other would do... Both of us could hit boundaries almost at will... That we could play in all conditions also made us successful.
Did the two of you only talk cricket during the mid-pitch ‘conferences’?
(Laughs) Largely cricket... Who was bowling well, if one of us needed to change our approach... The situation we were in.
What was it like watching Sachin from the other end?
Would be fun... If he was going great guns, I’d curb my instincts... If we had 300-plus to chase, then both of us had to go for it. We didn’t have a choice then.
Sachin hasn’t spelt it out, but it’s assumed he’s available for Test cricket. Your take?
Doesn’t surprise me. Sachin will surely continue playing Test cricket, but can’t be for long. Only Sachin can decide when to call it a day... He should go when he wants to... Left to me, I’d quit all formats at the same time.
Have you spoken to Sachin in recent days?
Not a lengthy conversation.
What will you tell Sachin if you do get to talk to him in the near future?
Enjoy this break!
The final one... As a nation, do we treat our heroes the way they should be treated?
We don’t, we should treat them better.