Speaking at the India Today Conclave East 2017, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said that he was ‘desperate’ to become coach of the national team at one point of time, but instead ended up going into cricket administration.
Ganguly retired in 2008 after making a comeback to the Indian cricket team, having earlier been dropped from the side in controversial circumstances in January 2006. Speaking about the time he could have become coach of the Indian team, Ganguly said, “You should do what you can and not thinking about the outcome. You never know where life goes, you never know where life will take you. I went to Australia in 1999, I wasn’t even the vice-captain. Sachin (Tendulkar) was the captain and in three months I became the captain of India.”
“When I got into administration, I was desperate to be the coach of the national side. (Jagmohan) Dalmiya called me and said ‘why you don’t you try for six months’. He passed away and none was around, so I became the CAB president. People take 20 years to become president. You have to live for the day.”
Ganguly also spoke candidly about his differences with Greg Chappell, and called the entire saga an ‘eye opener’ which made him a better person. After being dropped in January 2006, Ganguly made an entry into the Indian team once again in December that year against South Africa in Johannesburg, scoring an unbeaten 51. A home series against Pakistan followed in 2007, scoring a century and double century in succession, before he retired against Australia after a Test in Nagpur in 2008.
“As I announced retirement in 2008, Sachin came at lunch and asked me ‘why did you take such a decision?’,” Ganguly explained. “I said because I don’t want to play anymore. He then said ‘this is the best time to see you play in such flow. Last three years had been your best’. I retired because at some point you’ve had enough. The reason is not because you have had enough of playing the sport but because you’ve had enough of getting selected all the time. I remember those days and think individual sports are a lot better when you are not dependent on team. Before that, from 1995-2006, the graph was only up. I never missed a series. I was captain of India for six years. The world was at my feet till 2006. Not many captains in the world would go from not being captain to not even being in the side.”
Finally, Ganguly spoke about the relationship between former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and current captain Virat Kohli, highlighting the mutual respect they have. “You look at Dhoni. He is not the captain of the team but look at the way Kohli looks after him and they go about their job.”