Sourav Ganguly is a relaxed man these days. That happens when you make headlines for the right reasons. Two innings against the South Africans in the recent Test series showed the former captain at the top of his game.
Perhaps, he had a point or two to prove after being omitted from the ODI team. And the knocks in Ahmedabad and Kanpur have also put him in a better frame of mind and form as he gears up to lead the Kolkata team in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL).
“I think I did very well, but I don’t want to assess myself. It is for others to say,” Ganguly told the Hindustan Times over the phone from Kolkata.
It must be an odd feeling for any cricketer to be part of a T20 team but not the traditional limited overs side. And if you are 35-years-old, it gets only accentuated.
“Well, from my point of view, I am still looking forward to playing one-day cricket. But T20 is another form of the game and I am keen to make the most of the opportunity,” he said.
What is more important in the T20 format, experience or young blood?
“Performance on the day matters most. It has got nothing to do with age or such things.”
Looking back at the Test series, of the two 87s he made, the one in Kanpur must easily be ranked above; not just because it helped India win and square the three-match series, but because it highlighted his ability on minefield of a track.
The track itself raised a debate but Ganguly had a pragmatic view on the issue.
“Every team plays to its strength. India’s strength is turning pitches and I think we should play to our strength,” he said.
“When we go outside, we play on seaming and bouncy pitches. We have played on pitches with grass left on it. Similarly, leaving the pitch dry doesn’t mean it is under-prepared.
“What I mean is, just like one learns to deal with seaming pitches, one has to play on spinning tracks.”
Ganguly agreed that the visiting teams now come better prepared for the Indian conditions but only so much. “Certainly they have gotten better. But it also showed that once it started to turn, India had the advantage. Definitely the South Africans are better than what they were. But in Kanpur we had the upper hand,” he said.
It is said that that a batsman usually reaches his peak around 30-32. In Ganguly’s case, the blossoming seems to be taking place now.
If he averaged 37.58 for 1278 runs from 24 matches between 2002-3 and 2004-5, he has pushed it up to 50.67 with 1571 runs in 18 matches since returning to the squad in December 2006.
“When you play 12-13 years, there will definitely be a small patch. No cricketer goes through without a patch,” he said.
“You have to keep sorting your technique. But scoring runs is not all about technique, it also depends on mental ability, pacing your innings, etc. Technique is a part of it, but it’s not everything.”
You know it when you watch Ganguly bat.