Former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Saturday recalled his early lessons in captaincy, which included an incident involving Virender Sehwag during the Natwest Trophy final in 2003.
“We were chasing 325 in that final. When we walked out to open, I was very disappointed and disturbed but Sehwag said we will win. We had a good start (82 in 12 overs) and I told him that since we had seen off the new ball bowlers, he should not lose his wicket and focus on singles,” recalled Ganguly on Saturday in a Youtube chat.
“But when Ronnie Irani came in to bowl his first over, and Sehwag smashed a four off the first ball. I walked up to him and said we have a boundary, now let us take singles. But he didn’t listen and hit a four off the second ball too. He hit a four off the third ball too. I was very angry. Then he hit one off the fifth ball too,” Ganguly said and added that he soon realised there is no point in stopping Sehwag since his natural game is aggressive.
“I realised there is no point in stopping him since his natural style of play is aggressive.”
Ganguly pointed out that man-management is a key factor in captaincy and said a good “captain needs to adjust to a player’s thinking”.
The 48-year-old, who has just recovered from illness and underwent angioplasty recalled his debut ODI in Australia. He could make just three on his debut in Australia at Brisbane against West Indies in the 1991-92 tri-series.
But he termed that debut as an important part of his career.
“I don’t consider the 1992 series as a failure. I didn’t get much opportunity to play. But it helped me to become a better cricketer. I did training for the next 3-4 years and became mentally and physically strong,” he added.
Ganguly then made his Test debut at Lord’s in 1996 and made centuries in his first two Tests – 131 at Lord’s and 136 at Nottingham.
“In 1996, I returned much stronger and then learnt the intricacies of scoring, played more than 150 games for India. Played with relaxed mindset at Lord’s on debut. During those four years (1992 to 1996), I became strong. Cricket and batting knowledge increased a lot. It (the 1992 failure) was a blessing in disguise,” added Ganguly.
“I was always nervous. Nervousness helped in success. Failure is a part of life. It helps one to learn better. Even Sachin Tendulkar would be nervous. He would use headphones to remove pressure,” he added.
Ganguly also recalled an incident where he got an advice on his fitness from a driver.
“I was run out in a match against Pakistan. My driver said ‘you are not training well which is why your running between the wickets is slow’,” said Ganguly who took the advice and began training harder.