| Sourav Ganguly at his residence on Monday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: This could have been just another homecoming for Sourav Ganguly. But as the former India captain landed in the city following a successful tour of South Africa on Monday, the buzz around him indicated that this arrival carried a different connotation.
India may have lost the Test series 1-2 against Graeme Smith & Co., but Sourav emerged the undoubted winner. He not only top-scored among the Indians with 214 in six innings, but hit the doubting Thomases for a huge six. This sense of satisfaction — of overcoming doubts and doubters with an iron will to come back — was quite visible on his face when he interacted with the Media at his Behala residence.
Sourav made it clear that this comeback (after a ten-month lay-off) was more difficult and, therefore, more satisfying than the one in 1996. “In 1996, I made my Test debut, but this time it was tougher and so, more satisfying,” he said.
Sourav made his India debut (in ODIs) in Australia in 1991-92, but thereafter, had to spend four years in exile before returning to the international arena with back-to-back Test centuries against England in 1996.
Having presented his case on a successful note in South Africa, Sourav is now hoping to make the cut in ODIs as well and dreaming of playing a part in the World Cup. “I expect to be selected in the ODI side now,” he said. “If I am selected, I hope to do well, using my experience which I have gathered from the just-concluded tour… Let’s hope for the best,” he added.
Indian selectors are slated to pick the World Cup probables as well as the squad for the four-match ODI series against the West Indies on Friday.
On the tour of South Africa, Sourav reiterated that he had drawn sustenance from his huge international experience to shine against Smith and Co. “This was my fourth tour of South Africa and given my experience, I knew how to go about it and played according to my plan, which ultimately paid off,” he pointed out.
Sourav, however, looked disappointed on losing the Test series. “We had a great opportunity to win a Test series in South Africa, and it was really disappointing not making it,” he quipped.
“Scoring 414 runs in the first innings (of the third Test in Cape Town) and losing thereafter is unfortunate,” he said, ducking a question if there was any flaw in team strategy. Sourav, however, was all praise for Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan. “I think Sreesanth and Zaheer were the gains of this tour,” he said, and, also praised Wasim Jaffer’s 116 in the Cape Town Test.
Sourav, meanwhile, had some words for the retired duo — Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. “They are the legends of cricket and their loss will surely be felt by the Aussies. It is not easy to fill up the vacuum created by their departure,” he signed off.