India must learn to live without Zaheer : Sourav Ganguly
Excerpts from an exclusive interview:
What do you feel went wrong with the team in England?
India didn’t bat well in the Tests. We started off on a bad note by losing the opening match. After the Test whitewash, it was difficult to come back in the ODIs. England did play better cricket, but their real test will come in the subcontinent. However, I wouldn’t like to take away credit for their performance at home.
If you were captain today, would you have done anything differently?
I’ve always believed that a captain is as good as his team. You can’t blame the captain if some of the top players are out with injury. Look what happened to Australia when some of their top players dropped out. Before that, Ricky Ponting was considered the best captain in the world, when the Australians were ruling the roost with top bowlers like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
Which young Indian player has impressed you the most?
Ajinkya Rahane, to some extent. But even he failed to make full use of the initial starts he got. The Indian team looked ordinary. Basically, they must learn to live without Zaheer.
Your aggressive captaincy has often been cited as a reason for India’s success in recent years. Are we lacking that approach now?
I captained the side a long time ago. A lot of changes have taken place since then. This is a different era, a different phase, but the team is still focussed on winning matches. Any team that can win matches in Australia, South Africa and England has to be good.
Is coach Duncan Fletcher doing enough?
It’s early days yet for him. One can’t comment on his performance just yet. Give him some time. I’m sure he’ll do well.
Can England overtake India in the shorter version of the game too?
England are not the best ODI team. India have lost badly to them but their stars will rise again. Fitness is a key issue with this team and I’m sure the BCCI is going to address the issue. We also need good bowlers in all forms of the game to be consistent at the highest level. The selectors should have the eye for new talent.
Your contemporaries like Dravid and Tendulkar are still playing…
I’m 39. How long could I continue playing? I had my fill and am happily retired from international cricket.
Will you be playing in the IPL?
Yes. The passion to play is still there. IPL is a domestic league and I still have a couple of years of cricket left in me. Next year, I’ll be ready for the tournament and will also play domestic cricket to get in shape before that.
Are you looking at a player-cum-coach role at Pune Warriors?
I haven’t been told anything so far.
Are we going to see Sourav Ganguly the TV commentator on regular basis?
No. After spending so much time away from home during my playing days, I’m not keen to do regular commentary in every series.
Do you have ambitions of becoming a full-fledged cricket administrator?
I haven’t given it a thought. But I’ll try and help the game, and young cricketers, to the best of my ability.
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