We were exceptional in the 2019 WC, 1 bad day wiped away our hard work of 2 months: Ganguly

A couple of weeks ago, Rohit Sharma was named India’s new ODI skipper, replacing Virat Kohli as captain for the upcoming South Africa tour. One of the major reasons behind Kohli’s replacement is that India failed to win an ICC trophy under his captaincy.

However, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said that the Indian team was exceptional in the 2019 World Cup, and it was just one day of bad luck that wiped away the hard work of two months.

“To be honest, in the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2019 World Cup, India was good. But, we were exceptional in the 2019 World Cup, one bad day, and our entire hard work of two months was wiped away,” Sourav Ganguly said in a freewheeling chat on ‘Backstage with Boria’ on the Youtube channel Xtra Time.

The BCCI President lamented about Team India’s performance in the recently-concluded T20 World Cup. He said: “I was disappointed with the way we played in the T20 WC 2021. It was the poorest we played in the past 4-5 years.”

“I don’t know what happened, and I felt we didn’t play with enough freedom. Sometimes, you just get stuck. The way we played against Pakistan and New Zealand, I felt we played with only 15 per cent of the ability. Hopefully, we learn from it,” he added.

VVS wanted national team job: Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly has appointed his former teammates, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, as head coach of the Indian team and head the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

BCCI The BCCI top boss said ‘touch artist’ Laxman’s stature in Indian cricket is above question. (File)

As Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president, Ganguly had roped in Laxman as the head of state unit’s pilot project ‘Vision 2020’, he knew his ability to work with junior players.

Ganguly revealed that Laxman wanted the national team job. He said: “He was keen on the national team job, but that couldn’t worked out. But somewhere down the line, he would have that opportunity to coach the national team.”

The BCCI president said that Laxman has given up his IPL mentorship contract with Sunrisers Hyderabad, a lucrative commentary deal, and his columns for various organisations to serve Indian cricket.

“He is shifting to Bangalore for the next three years from Hyderabad just to serve Indian cricket. It’s remarkable. His children will now study in a school in Bangalore, and there will be a massive change as a family to shift base,” Laxman’s one-time India teammate said.

“It’s not easy unless you are so devoted to Indian cricket,” he added.

On Rahul Dravid’s appointment

Sourav Ganguly shared that he and BCCI secretary Jay Shah always wanted Rahul Dravid to replace Ravi Shastri as Team India’s head coach. But it was hard to convince Rahul Dravid to take up the job.

Rahul Dravid, India vs New Zealand Indian cricket coach Rahul Dravid trains with players. (AP)

“We had Rahul in mind for a long period of time, both me and Jay, but he wasn’t agreeing because of the time away from home and because doing a national team’s job is [about being] on the road for about 8-9 months in a year and he has two young children,” he said.

“And when we spoke to the players also about what sort of person they want, you could clearly see that, there was an inclination to Rahul so we communicated that to him. I spoke to him personally many times.

“Luckily, he agreed and I don’t know what triggered the change in his mind but he agreed and I think this is the best BCCI could have done in terms of coaching once Ravi Shastri left,” said Ganguly.

On Sachin’s potential inclusion in Indian cricket

With Sourav Ganguly as BCCI president, Rahul Dravid as Team India head coach, and VVS Laxman as head of the NCA, the only one missing from the famous ‘Fab 4’in Indian cricket is Sachin Tendulkar.

SAchin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar (File Photo)

On Sachin Tendulkar’s involvement in Indian cricket, Ganguly replied: “Sachin is obviously a bit different. He doesn’t want to be involved in all this. I’m sure with Sachin’s involvement in Indian cricket in some way, and there can’t be better news than that.”

“In what way that obviously needs to be worked out. Because there is too much of conflict all around. Rightly or wrongly, anything and everything you do you have the word ‘conflict’ keeps jumping out of the window, some of which I find unrealistic. So you have to see the best way to keep the best talent involved in the game. And at some stage, Sachin will also find a way to be involved in Indian cricket,” he said.

On Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma’s appointment as India’s full-time white-ball captain has received mixed reactions. Rohit took over the T20I leadership role in a 3-0 win against New Zealand and will lead India in the 50 overs against South Africa.

India vs NZ India’s cricket captain Rohit Sharma bats during the second T20 cricket match between India and New Zealand, in Ranchi, India, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

“He deserves that position because of what he has done as captain. Five titles with Mumbai Indians, another one with Deccan Chargers speaks volume of his ability under pressure.

“Once Virat decided he doesn’t want to be part of T20 leadership, he was the best choice. He started well, beating NZ 3-0 in India. Hopefully, we will see a better result for India next year than what we saw this year,” Ganguly said.

On Ashwin’s comeback in white-ball cricket

Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made a remarkable comeback in the white-ball format after not being part of the limited-overs game for the country since 2017.

R ashwin Rahul Dravid R Ashwin (left) with Rahul Dravid. (PTI)

During the chat, Ganguly revealed captain Virat Kohli was keen on having Ashwin in the team and had asked for his inclusion.

“I wasn’t sure whether he would be part of the white-ball team again. But then Virat Kohli wanted him to be part of the World Cup. And, whatever little bit of opportunity he got, I thought he was superb,” Ganguly said.

“Everybody speaks about him. Look at Rahul Dravid’s statement after the Kanpur Test match – he called him an all-time great. You don’t need rocket science to judge Ashwin’s talent. My appreciation just comes from what I see. It may be Ashwin, it may be Shreyas Iyer, it may be Rohit Sharma, it may be Virat Kohli,” said Ganguly.

“I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t back him. Look at the number of winning teams he has been a part of. 2011 World Cup, he was part of the winning team for India. 2013, when he won the Champions Trophy, he was a leading bowler in that tournament. When CSK won IPLs, he was the main bowler for them, bowling in the powerplay and difficult situations,” he added.

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