Nagpur: Sourav Ganguly, who bid adieu to international cricket on Monday, said he is happy that he is going out on a high with a 2-0 drubbing over the Aussies.
Speaking about the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Ganguly said, “We played outstandingly. To win 2-0 against the best side in the world is very satisfying. After the first Test in Bangalore, I thought we dominated the next three Tests in the series.”
“I think India has played well against Australia, not just Perth and this series but even in the past. We are the only side who has competed with them very well. It definitely holds good for the Indian cricket in future but at the same time it also shows you and what my other counterparts have mentioned that seniors are still good enough," Ganguly added.
On a lighter note, Ganguly said, "My time is up but people like Sachin, Rahul, Laxman are still fantastic.”
Experts from the Ganguly press conference:
On his retirement
"I have had my time. There is a time for everyone to leave and this is my time to leave. I am happy with the way things have gone. I had a good series and we have beaten the best team in the world 2-0. There were a lot of doubts after we came back from Sri Lanka so coming back and winning 2-0 is probably the best thing that could have happened. I have played well, the team played well and the way this Test match has finished I am ready to sacrifice a year of Test cricket for it.”
“There is no question of re-considering my decision to retire. As I said the way this Test match finished and the way everything went off it is probably the best finishes I have seen in terms of a team performance so I want to cherish this for a long period. As I said I could easily sacrifice 10 or 12 matches for this."
"I don't want to talk about the past. What has happened has happened. Things happen in sport, you play well sometimes and you don't play well sometimes. Nagpur has been a happy hunting ground for India and it is once again proved that we are a good team.”
"Let's keep the controversy away. It is a happy day for Indian cricket. Greg Chappell has been over and done for a long time, so let's not bring it up. Let's respect him, let's respect whatever has been done."
“I have to play two years in the IPL. I will try and play a few matches for Bengal too, but I don't really know whether I will be able to get up and be ready for that. We will see how it goes but not straight away. I need some time off, I have been on the road for 13 years. I have got to do other things at home as well because commentary means travelling again, which I don't think I am ready for.”
What made him stand out in the team
“I think it is the toughness that I had is much more than what people thought. I had questions over my abilities right through my career but I am happy that I was able to overcome them on the basis of my ability and toughness.”
"My first Test match at Lord's, the 100 against Australia at Brisbane and also the 100 in this series in Chandigarh. It was an important 100 in my last series so it was important to get runs before I finish. There were a lot of knocks, ODI hundreds. It is difficult for me to pick which one was special.”
On Dhoni, his successor
"He has done wonderfully well so far with his win in the Twenty20 World Cup, his win in the ODI series in Australia and in beating Australia in Nagpur. He has done fantastically well and I know he has the abilities to take Indian cricket forward. Cricket is a spark and it is not just preparation, it is not that you got to be a good player and do a lot of homework. It is spark on the field which MS has. He has got that extra bit of luck which you require in captaincy. He will be tested when India goes overseas and I am sure if the boys around him play well he will definitely live up to it. I have always believed that a captain is as good as his team.”
"Dhoni has got an outstanding future. As I said it will depend on the selectors and MS on how he handles him. He has to be given breaks to make sure he is fresh and fit because there is so much of cricket like Test, ODI, Twenty20 and IPL. He has a whole lot of cricket to play. Although, he is young I don't believe we should not over-protect him because he is only going to get stronger and fitter through bowling. It is going to be the right balance and I hope people will do that.”
His journey as a cricketer
“It has been satisfying. To get a 100 in my first Test as a player, to captain nearly in 50 Test matches, 49 to be precise and building a team and building players which has taken Indian cricket team forward. Lastly, the way I have finished it has been a fantastic journey. If anybody would have told me when I started that I would go through all this I would not have believed him. But God has been really kind that I have gone through this for 13 years and finished off on a win for Indian cricket.”
On his captaincy
“The most important thing is, and it is not just me, but because it is always believed that a captain is as good as his team. It is the raising of Indian cricket's image in world cricket, the phase from 2000-2005 and it is going on now. Indian cricket's image on the world has gone up immensely, specially touring because we were always termed as soft when we traveled but that has changed considerably. We at the present moment are a formidable side home and away.”
On youngsters in the team
"Ishant, Zaheer and Sreesanth. I have a lot of faith in Sreesanth and hopefully he gets his head right and gets back into the game. They will definitely miss Anil Kumble overseas because it is not just about picking wickets but also about controlling the game. Hopefully, Bhajji takes it over and shoulders the responsibility but we have the fast bowlers. We do understand that there is a lot of cricket being around the world. It is up to the selectors as to how they look after the three of them and take it from there.”
His career best
"My best so far will be the 2001 series against Australia and the 2003 series in Australia. I think that definitely would be the two best series in my tenure as a player. We won in other places as well, we won in Pakistan, in West Indies, in India of course, in England but those two series will always remain special.”
His last Test innings
"I was not disappointed with the first ball duck but I was disappointed with the 85 I got. I was so close to getting a 100 and that was more disappointing than getting a first ball duck.”
"I don't know whether one duck made my career dramatic. It was dramatic in any case.”
"I enjoyed it (last five days). They were not much emotions because we had a Test match to play. I felt very happy with the way this Test match finished and the last one hour on the field was special, I will remember that my entire life. I didn't expect MS to ask me to captain the side for five overs, I managed to do it for three and I told him it is his job and not mine anymore. I am very happy with the way it finished. I have still not realised what it means not playing the game anymore at the present moment. It has been fantastic."
On and off the field
"I think I am two different personalities, off the field and on the field. Me as a person they have picked up what they saw on the cricket field which is not the right Sourav Ganguly people know. I am very quite and a soft-spoken person. Hopefully I will remain that in the future.”