Kolkata: "If I was in his shoes, I would have gone a year earlier," is what former India captain Sourav Ganguly said on Sunday of Sachin Tendulkar. Ganguly hailed the accomplishments of Tendulkar who would be quitting the game after playing his 200th Test match.
"Only because he is Sachin Tendulkar, he could get a run for three years. Nobody else in the world or Indian cricket would have got that much of time. I am happy that he is going," said Ganguly during a Cricket Association of Bengal-organised event here.
"It's a fact which you have to accept that at one stage you have to go. When Sachin sits down after the Mumbai Test and looks at his career, he will say to himself I have done proud and there is nothing which I have not achieved. If I probably went on for six more months, it wouldn't have helped me or cricket," said Ganguly during a chat show also involving West Indian great Brian Lara.
Describing Tendulkar as a "champion", Ganguly said it was appropriate for the maestro to retire after playing on his home ground. "For me, he is a champion and deserves all the adulation and respect. It's great that he will go on a high playing on his home ground. Had he gone to South Africa, he would have received half the adulation that he is getting now," said the southpaw.
Ganguly also praised current India skipper MS Dhoni for his knack of backing the right players. "Backing players as a captain is important because it's the players who win you the game and nothing else. You see Dhoni doing that a lot. People are now talking about Rohit Sharma but you got to give credit to Dhoni for that. In the past, players have suffered because of lack of opportunity," said Ganguly.
Ganguly also singled out the batting trio of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan as players to watch out for but said they will have to prove on foreign shores to be called greats. "They have enormous talent. They win you matches. But it will be too early for me to judge them. They will have to perform overseas and it is good that India will be playing several foreign tours.
Asserting that T20 cricket was here to stay, Ganguly hailed the Indian Premier League (IPL) for allowing a livelihood to fringe players. "I am big fan of T20 cricket and it is here to stay. There are many players who may not get a chance to play for India but are being looked after due to the IPL. I am happy to see many first class players making a fortune out of IPL, it's a very good thing," added Ganguly.