|Sachin and Sourav
Melbourne: Only six Indians have played 100 or more Tests. Come Wednesday, though, and Sourav Gangulys name will be added to that distinguished list.
In the lead-up, on Monday, Sachin Tendulkar (the fourth Indian to make at least 100 Test appearances) hailed Sourav in a one-on-one with The Telegraph.
Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid (in that order) are the other Indians in the highly exclusive club.
The following are excerpts from what Sachin said:
On Sourav being hours away from his 100th Test
Sourav has worked very hard and truly deserves to have got so far… Im happy that somebody as talented as him is on the verge of his 100th Test… Very few Indians have played that many Tests and Im sure Sourav will continue to make us proud.
On the MCG being the venue for Souravs milestone-Test
A Boxing Day Test is regarded as special and when its someones 100th, then it becomes more special.
On his emotions when he himself played his 100th Test (at The Oval, 2002)
Was a special moment, yes, and I was excited… I remember getting a standing ovation when I walked out there for the first time… I didnt get too emotional that day, but was obviously aware of the significance of the occasion.
On the 100 Tests club
Its uniqueness is that nobody gets there overnight… It takes a lot of dedication and hard work… One has to make sacrifices too… Like the others whove played that many Tests, Sourav has put in a huge number of hours on and off the field… Off it, for example, he must have spent time watching videos and CDs of his better innings… I believe he has used the old footage to get better.
On Souravs comeback, in December 2006, being regarded as one of the finest of all time
Of course he has made a good comeback and Id never doubted his ability to do so… It didnt surprise me for I knew he had it in him to make such a strong comeback.
On whether he has spotted any technical adjustments by Sourav
Dont think he has made any change… I feel hes playing the way he used to.
On the one Sourav quality that has appealed to him more than anything else
His determination has impressed me the most… The way he plans and the way he executes those plans…
On the one Test featuring Sourav which stands out in his memory
Hmmm… It will be the one at the Wanderers last December, his comeback Test… He scored an unbeaten 51 in the first innings, runs which were crucial.
On Sourav as a person
Hes a terrific character and a wonderful person… Ive known him for a long time and, over the years, our friendship has grown. I value it.
On Sourav respecting him with a capital R
Its mutual… (After a pause) Good friends respect each other.
Finally, his message for Sourav
(Smiles) Go out and enjoy your batting! The dressing room is behind you.