| Sourav Ganguly before his departure for Nagpur on Tuesday. A Telegraph picture
Nagpur: Having made a comeback few expected, an “excited” Sourav Ganguly arrived here on Tuesday night for his first ODI after 16 months. He’s not short on confidence either, having finished the last Test series (in South Africa) as Team India’s highest scorer.
“I’m excited... I’m confident,” Sourav told The Telegraph as IndiGo’s Airbus 320 touched down a shade after 8.00 pm.
Incidentally, if well-wishers mobbed the former captain on the 100-minute flight from Calcutta (one Hashim Khan handed over a hastily written note packed with “good wishes”), there was no dearth of fans when he entered the airport’s arrival lounge.
Nagpur is successor Rahul Dravid’s sasural, but he’s not the only one to pocket its affection.
Securitymen wanted to form a cordon, but Sourav asked them not to. “Please, just let me walk out... Cordon mat kariye... It’s not necessary, I’ll be fine.” It’s with some reluctance that the cops agreed amidst shouts of ‘Dada, Dada’.
Sourav had been relaxed on the flight and the cabin crew made him more comfortable by offering a cup of tea with the “compliments” of the captain (S.K. Bhalla). Being a low-cost airline, IndiGo passengers have to buy refreshments, but tea/coffee isn’t sold.
Well, it helps being India’s most successful Test captain.
“Runs in the last Test series (214 at an average of 42-plus) have indeed given plenty of confidence... It’s one thing to score at home, quite another to get runs overseas... A successful comeback outside the country definitely carries much more weight than one at home,” Sourav said while sipping tea.
The good work, though, must be carried forward. He knows that well.
While the World Cup is still a couple of months away, the four-match ODI series against the West Indies begins on Sunday. “Sure, I’m focusing on the ODIs... I know the series’ importance, both for the team and for me... It’s big,” Sourav acknowledged.
As part of the build-up, a camp gets underway on Wednesday.
Sourav’s last appearance in India colours here was way back in November 2002. That, too, was a one-dayer versus the West Indies. He scored 78. Sourav had been with the team in October 2004, when we played Australia in the third Test of that series, but remained in the dressing room on account of injury.
Footnote: “No comments... I’m not part of anything,” is all that Sourav had to say about the tamasha unfolding in the Cricket Association of Bengal. Last July, he’d made himself a party to the elections by sending an email (from England) which indirectly condemned one-time supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya.