It might seem strange but Sourav Ganguly, in his first-class career spanning over two decades, has never led his state side to any championship final, but he would like to end Bengal’s ‘final jinx’ when they take on Mumbai at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
“I have played so many years for Bengal but this is the first time I am leading the side for a full season. We have been playing well and would like to continue the good work,” Ganguly said after a 90-minute net-session at the Kotla.
Ganguly was part of one of the three one-day finals that Bengal lost and when reminded, he said, “We would like to change that tomorrow”.
Incidentally, Ganguly has played two Ranji Trophy finals against Mumbai (1993-94, 2006-07) having scored 88 and 90, but ended on the losing side on both occasions.
“Mumbai are a very strong side and you need to play really well to beat them. They have top class batsman in Wasim Jaffer and I don’t know why he isn’t playing for India. Ajinkya Rahane is a current India player and you have a bowler like Ajit (Agarkar).”
Asked whether the absence of Manoj Tiwary and Ashok Dinda would hurt Bengal’s chances, Ganguly smiled and said, “Mumbai doesn’t have Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Rohit Sharma playing for them! You have got to play with what you have.”
Toss has proved to be a crucial factor in a few matches at the Kotla but Ganguly felt that would be of little significance.
“Agreed that toss had been a factor in a couple of earlier matches but yesterday Mumbai scored nearly 300. I will only have a look at the pitch tomorrow morning.”
One of the Bengal openers, Jayojit Basu’s father expired on Saturday. The player who left for Kolkata on Saturday evening is back but Ganguly doesn’t want to push the youngster in his hour of crisis.
“It will entirely be Jayojit’s call whether he wants to play or not. He has just lost his father and only if he feels that he is in a frame of mind to play, he would play.”