If you get the opportunity to talk to Sourav Ganguly despite his busy schedule, he will give you an insight into the bat and ball game. The former India captain always gives you the impression of being one who likes to follow the basics, in cricket and in life.
In an interview to Sportstar , Sourav speaks of the current Indian team, the game, the players and the top administrative body of Indian cricket.
Question: Are you surprised to see the golden touch of the Indian cricket team?
Answer: Not at all. I was not surprised when they did well against Sri Lanka in their backyard. It was good to see that they were so consistent. It’s not a matter of joke that they won nine matches at a stretch.
And coming back to the home series against Australia, they maintained the same success rate...
It is very creditable that India dominated the Australians through the series. Now India are the favourites against any opponent at home.
Why do you say so?
Because we have the right players for every position, and the bench strength is fabulous. For instance, Shikhar Dhawan could not play because of some family problem, but Ajinkya Rahane came off the bench and rose to the occasion.
Eden is hosting a Test against Sri Lanka. Do you think the Test series should be played with the pink ball to attract more crowd?
The way the world cricket is moving now, the pink ball will surely have a role to play in attracting the crowds. I am not the authority to decide whether the series should be played with the pink ball or not. Recently, we had seen a houseful Test match when England and West Indies played with the pink ball. The Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide was a sell-out last year. So I am hopeful the pink ball will have a role to play in attracting the crowds.
Is that the reason you advocated the pink ball for the Duleep Trophy matches?
We do not have a good number of spectators watching a Duleep Trophy match. And our cricketers need to adjust to playing with the pink ball. That is the main reason for using the pink ball in the Duleep Trophy.
Although there was not much excitement about the Duleep Trophy, we must congratulate you for taking the lead role in bringing back the tournament...
One cannot throw a reputed tournament into the dustbin. I know there was no window to accommodate the Duleep Trophy. But that does not mean that one fine morning you chuck a reputed tournament out. You need to call an annual general meeting and take a decision.
Coming back to the Test match at Eden Gardens, do you foresee any rain in the third week of November?
We have had a long rainy season this year. No one can predict rain, but we are ready with our equipment. Recently, the Cricket Association of Bengal had paid a hefty amount to buy the covers for the outfield from London. Even after a torrential rain, we can start the match within one hour provided it stops raining.
Let us discuss some cricketers now... Jimmy Anderson of England...
He is a superb bowler. I won’t be surprised if he breaks the record of the great Glenn McGrath (563 wickets). Anderson has already crossed 500 wickets. He is supremely fit. Anderson is a complete bowler. He swings the ball very effectively and knows how to get wickets by moving the ball.
What about Joe Root?
A good player, a cool captain. But for me, Australia’s Steven Smith is the best Test batsman, and our Virat Kohli is the best one-day player.
What about the New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson?
Another superb batsman. He also can score runs with a straight bat. These four batsmen are very good, but Smith and Virat are slightly ahead of them.
Don’t you think Jaspreet Bumrah should be tried in Test matches?
It is definitely up to the selectors to decide. But Bumrah is a good option. He has bowled well with the old and the new ball. He lands his deliveries on immaculate length, a fantastic death bowler. He knows how to bring the ball in. He has mastered the art of bowling the yorker. He has speed and stamina, and has an intelligent head on his strong shoulders.
You were of the opinion that the Ranji Trophy matches should be played only away. But this year, we have gone back to the old days when matches were played on ‘home and away’ basis...
All the associations wanted this change. The local spectators were missing the performances of the local boys. So the BCCI had to go back to the old system.
Tell us something about Bengal’s Ranji Trophy team this year.
In spite of heavy rainfall the Bengal players had a decent preparation. V. V. S. Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan are the two experts who came to guide our boys during the off-season. We have quality cricketers, and I’m sure they will step up soon.
What about the BCCI affairs?
What do you mean? We are all waiting for the order from the Supreme Court. Are you referring to the administrative problems? It’s there for quite some time. We are all waiting for the final verdict of the Supreme Court.
What about Cricket Association of Bengal’s stand as far as the BCCI is concerned?
We’ll follow the instructions from the Supreme Court. For us, it is the highest body in India and one should respect its decision. So, CAB will follow Supreme Court’s verdict.
What is your future as a CAB administrator?
I have to wait for the Supreme Court’s instructions. Not only me, other officials in the Board as well. As far as the law is concerned, the Supreme Court is the top organisation in India. One must listen to it and act accordingly.
Do you support the cooling-off period of three years?
Not really, because you cannot do much in three years’ time. Because files and papers do not move fast in our country. So one may not be able to implement his ideas if he gets only three years’ time.
If the Supreme Court says that you cannot continue in CAB, what will be your stand?
I’ll have to obey it. It’s not me alone, the Supreme Court’s verdict will be for everyone who is sitting in the chair. I’ll go back to the commentary box. I have other avenues as well. So I am not worried at all.