It was an evening where emotion came together with nostalgia and produced some unforgettable moments. The BCCI honoured Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman for their achievements on Thursday.
The four spoke about each other and their teammates. Excerpts:
Kumble: When I started, people said he won't last two Tests and when Sachin started, they said he would break all records. So my challenge was to prove people wrong and his was to prove them right. The journey has been great and it still feels a little odd that I am not part of the team any more… Under Sourav, we learnt how to win Tests abroad…Laxman's contributions were always underrated but we knew that his value is worth weighed in gold… I am sure India will soon become the No. 1 team in the world.
Tendulkar: When Anil started, people said he couldn't turn the ball. Just look at what he has done… Laxman came to the team as a shy young man, although he isn't shy anymore… I remember he was crying in the dressing room after breaking his finger in South Africa, knowing that he would play no further part in the series. I had to console him and remind him of his talent... Less talked about, he has been a real match-winner… Sourav has been a great fighter, faced adversities and came back stronger... We will miss him and Anil.
Ganguly: I know I have made some friends and enemies while being captain. But everything was in the best interest of the team. I am leaving a wonderful and talented lot that I'm sure will excel in future.
MS (Dhoni) and Gary (Kirsten) can make this the best team. Whenever I will watch them on television, I will remember that I was a part of a truly magnificent team.
Laxman: To have played 100 Tests is a fantastic feeling. Never thought I would play so many of them when I started. It's a huge privilege. I wanted to be a doctor like my father, who is my role model.
But my maternal uncle saw some talent in me and persuaded me into playing cricket. Thankfully, I have been the part of a side that is doing so well in all forms of the game at the moment.