Sachin Tendulkar Reveals Why He Suggested Sourav Ganguly’s Name For Vice-Captaincy In 1999
Sachin Tendulkar has observed Sourav Ganguly over the course of three and a half decades in a variety of roles, including precocious adolescent, talented India contender, fashionable batter, leader, and active administrator. But for India’s greatest batsman ever, their camaraderie, which endures even now that they have both retired from international cricket, is what has endured the test of time.
As the BCCI president approaches his 50th birthday on Friday, his “opening partner” spoke candidly with PTI, offering numerous details about their friendship and how he viewed Ganguly as a potential captain while he was the captain of India.
The master blaster explained that Tendulkar was ready to take over in case he opted to step down as captain before the 1999 tour of Australia, which was his second-to-last series.
In an interview with PTI, Tendulkar said, “Before stepping down, during India’s tour of Australia in which I was the captain, I had urged Sourav to be made the vice-captain of the squad.
“I had played cricket with him and seen him up close, so I knew he had what it would take to advance Indian cricket. He was a capable manager. I consequently suggested his name.
Tendulkar was effusive in his appreciation of Ganguly when asked about the amount of freedom he provided his team during his nearly five-year reign as captain.
Sourav made an excellent captain. He understood how to strike a balance between granting the players freedom and assigning them specific duties, according to Tendulkar.
Tendulkar, who had also in later years recommended Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s name as a future captain, said: “Sourav never looked back and what he has achieved for India is out there for all of us to see.”
Perhaps the off-field closeness explains why India has never had a finer white-ball cricket pairing. Together, the pair had 26 century stands, 21 of which came when they started the batting.
“Sourav and I worked hard. We wanted to contribute as much as possible to the team’s success and win games for India.
But we never gave anything else any thought. Tendulkar, who has always embodied modesty, remarked, “We are grateful to the people for considering us a terrific opening partnership and for recognizing what we were able to do for India.
1991’s debut tour and 1996’s triumphant comeback
Even in those early days, when landline telephones were the primary means of communication when Ganguly first represented India in 1992 and remained in the wilderness till 1996, the pair stayed in touch.
“Sourav and I shared a room together during the 1991 tour. The time we spent together was enjoyable. We had a terrific relationship because we were acquainted from our time as Under-15 teammates.
After the 1991 tour, we did have a few meetings as well. We couldn’t stay in touch frequently back then since mobile phones weren’t as common as they are today. Nevertheless, our friendship remained intact over those years.
The years of boyhood
They had first met at a junior competition in Kanpur that the BCCI had organized, and they later spent a lot of time together at an annual camp that the BCCI used to hold in Indore under the direction of the late Vasu Paranjape.
“Before the camp in Indore, we competed against one another in a tournament in Kanpur. We had also been to England on behalf of Kailash Gattani’s Star Cricket Club.
“But I think we spent the most time together and got to know each other at the Under-15 camp in Indore. It was the beginning of what has grown to be a fantastic friendship between the two of us. Tendulkar recalled the incident with affection, saying that he, Kedar Godbole, Jatin Paranjape, also a former India player and afterward a national selector, physically “flooded” Ganguly’s room. When he was sound sleeping, they filled the room with buckets of water.
“I recall Sourav dozing off one afternoon. Kedar Godbole, Jatin Paranjpe, and I flooded his room with water. Naturally, when he woke up, he had no idea what was going on or why his suitcases were floating. He finally understood that I, Jatin, and Kedar were responsible.
Friends always pull pranks on each other, and that was certainly true during our childhood, he chuckled.
When they traveled to the United Kingdom with the Star Cricket Club for the first time, it was even funnier and occasionally more exciting.
“We stayed at schools that resembled old castles, which naturally made them seem a little unsettling. Friends would gather and create plans to frighten the others even more, which would only make matters worse. These are the friendship-building experiences that come to mind and bring a grin to my face years later.
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