Ganguly: 'Leaving out Kumble was the toughest decision as captain'

Sourav Ganguly says leaving out the veteran spinner from the playing XI was always a tough call during his stint as India captain.

File photo of Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly at the Eden Gardens.   -  PTI

An Indian cricket fan will, perhaps, never forget that afternoon in Johannesburg. Taking on a star-studded Australia in the final of the World Cup, India left out its star spinner Anil Kumble from the playing eleven.

That particular decision still continues to haunt Indian cricket, as the side conceded the World Cup title to Australia.

That was in March, 2003.

However, that was not the only instance when Kumble was dropped from the playing eleven. Even after the World Cup final, Kumble had to often make way for the likes of Harbhajan Singh.

And now, the then India captain, Ganguly, admits that dropping Kumble from the playing eleven was always the toughest decision in his stint as captain.

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“Leaving out Kumble from the first eleven (has to be the toughest decision). He was such a great player and such a great performer, so to take the decision of leaving him out was the toughest decision,” Ganguly tells Sportstar during an exclusive chat from Kolkata.

The former India captain, also the president of Cricket Association of Bengal — has come out with his first book, ‘A Century is Not Enough’, co-authored by senior journalist Gautam Bhattacharya. In the book, the 45-year-old speaks about his journey as a cricketer and in the process seeing the game evolve over the years.

The former India captain has come out with his first book, ‘A Century is Not Enough’.

 

Ganguly, considered one of the most successful captains of India, continues to believe that a captain is still the main man in a team. “Cricket is still a captain’s game” he says.

From handling Greg Chappell to losing his Kolkata Knight Riders' captaincy in 2009 when John Buchanan introduced the ‘multiple captaincy' theory. Ganguly has seen it all in his long career.

Talking about that, he says most of the players in the team were surprised by Buchanan’s innovative theory. “The multiple captaincy theory came in as a surprise. That is something many of us did not have a clue of. I think the theory was a bit of surprise for all of us, but then, that’s the way it is,” Ganguly says, quickly adding: “There are a certain things you embrace and there are a certain things that you have to keep it for the first time.”

For the full interview, pick your copy of the Sportstar magazine, which hits the stands on March 9.