New Delhi: Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh have been protagonists to many of India’s famous victories. Sourav Ganguly, perhaps, has been the central figure to most of those success stories, being the captain of the team.
Ganguly fought on the field – to become one of India’s most successful captains – and off the field – for the players he believed in.
Sehwag was one such player, who remains indebted to Ganguly for the belief his captain had on him and opportunities he got under his Dada.
Having seen Ganguly from close quarters, Sehwag still trusts in his leadership qualities.
“Dada (Ganguly) will 100 per cent become the chief minister of Bengal one day. But before that he will become the president of BCCI,” Sehwag said in response to speculations doing the rounds that Ganguly is in line to take the top job in the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Sehwag and Yuvraj were in the Capital for the launch of Sourav Ganguly’s autobiography ‘A Century is not Enough.’
The three cricketers travelled back in time to recall some of the most entertaining and off-field instances which, so far, have remained secrets.
“Dada used to get us to pack his kit bag when we came into the side. He used to rush for the press conferences immediately after the match and would ask us to get his kit bag packed.
But that’s how it happens. Even Dhoni used to get his kit bag packed,” recalled Sehwag, as Yuvraj also endorsed him.
However, Ganguly had a different reasoning to it but acknowledged that the story was partially correct.
“That story is not completely correct. Actually, I had to rush for the press conferences, and Yuvraj had to go out for night-outs and didn’t want to get late.
“So there was a hidden motive to it. So Yuvraj would quickly get my kit bag ready after we finished our game,” said Ganguly as the audience burst into laughter.
Viru and Yuvraj also acknowledged how Ganguly backed them during their initial days.
“When I arrived into the scene, Dada said ‘after a long time, we have a good fielder in Indian team.’ After a couple of good knocks, I failed in the following innings and struggled against spin. But he (Ganguly) backed me because he knew that I was a match winner,” said Yuvraj.
Ganguly also made his point on why he backed the likes of Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Viru.
“Yuvraj, Viru and Harbhajan were always talented, and I knew that. First thing I had to do was to get that fear of failure out of their minds because when I came into the side, I faced that situation (fear of failure).
“I remember once selectors told me not to take Viru to South Africa (2001) because he is not a good player of fast bowling. But I insisted on him taking along and he scored a Test century on debut at Bloemfentein,” Ganguly said.
Sehwag, who was in line for the job of India’s head coach before he lost out to Ravi Shastri, insisted on having Indian coaches, although he still feels that coaching at that level is all about man management.
“Absolutely,” Sehwag said in response to a question that should India have home-grown coached.
“In 2007-08, Lalchand Rajput was our coach and we won the CB series and then the World T20. Coaches should be man managers. That was the reason why Gary Kirsten was so successful. With him, it was like I will discuss this issue with you only if it remains between the two of us. Now, I am the mentor of Kings XI Punjab and know how things work,” said the former India opener.