In a recent explosive interview, former India captain and the current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly claimed that many were involved in the decision to sack him as skipper.
Ganguly was stripped off captaincy in 2005 by then coach Greg Chappell. The move, as expected, unleashed a furore as the left-handed batsman is acknowledged as one of our finest captains and had groomed his charges into a well-oiled unit.
As if to rub salt into his wounds, Ganguly was removed as skipper after leading India to a series victory over Zimbabwe. Days after being sacked as captain, he was dropped from the team as well.
‘Biggest setback’ Ganguly’s career
Shedding light on the moment he was removed as captain, the player, who had earned a moniker of Prince of Kolkata, termed it as the “biggest setback” of his career.
Speaking to Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin, Ganguly said his sacking was “absolute injustice” and the last thing he expected.
In a candid tell-all, Ganguly, whose captaincy is believed to have ushered a new era in Indian cricket, said, “That was the biggest setback of my career. It was absolute injustice. I know you can’t do justice all the time but even then that treatment could have been avoided.
“I was the captain of the team that had just won in Zimbabwe and I get sacked after returning home?”.
The sacking meant that he wasn’t able to lead the team in the 2007 World Cup, which he said was a personal disappointment. He had famously led the team to the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa where his boys were unravelled, rather brutally, by Australia.
He had harboured hopes of going one better in the next edition of the quadrennial showpiece. He said his dream of leading the side to the 2007 World Cup was “snatched away”.
On missing out on the chance to lead the country in the 2007 World Cup, Ganguly said, “I dreamt of winning the 2007 World Cup for India. We had lost the final the previous time. I had reasons to dream too.
“The team had played so well under me for the last five years whether it was home or away. Then you suddenly drop me? First, you say I’m not in the ODI team, then you drop me from the Test team too.”
However, he refused to lay all blame at Greg Chappell’s door saying more people were involved in the decision to sack him.
Many others were involved
While labelling him as the one who got the move started, Sourav Ganguly said that “others” (possibly hinting at selectors, lobbies and vested interests) were also behind his removal as captain.
“I don’t want to blame Greg Chappell alone. There is no doubt about the fact that he was the one who started it,”the Prince of Kolkata said.
“He suddenly sends an email against me to the board which gets leaked too. Does something like this happen? There can be differences of opinion, misunderstandings in the family but that should be sorted out with dialogue.
You are the coach, if you believed that I should play in a certain manner then come and tell me. When I returned as a player (read: made a comeback to the team) he had specified the same things then why not earlier?” Ganguly added.
He insisted that an Indian coach simply isn’t vested with enough powers to remove a captain on his own.
“A foreign coach who doesn’t have any say in selection cannot drop an Indian captain. I had understood that this was not possible without the support of the entire system.
“Everyone was involved in the scheme to drop me. But I didn’t crumble under pressure,” the BCCI president said.
While Sourav Ganguly made a grand comeback to the game post his sacking and retired with grace, the pain of being denied the chance to captain India to World Cup glory will live on. However, his words are sure to stoke fresh debate on one of the most controversial moments in Indian cricket.