Geared up for his 100th Test on Wednesday, Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday returned back Steve Waugh's compliments, saying the former Australian skipper is a legend and a role model for every cricketer.
Ganguly had numerous skirmishes with Waugh on and off the field and has had the better of the aggressive Australian several times during the 2001 series in India.
Ganguly on Tuesday said all those incidents were just part of an effort to win matches. "Whatever has happened, it's an effort to win Test matches," Ganguly told Herald Sun.
"He (Waugh) is probably one of my role models and he is a champion player. He didn't want to lose wherever they went.
"He is a legend of Australian cricket. He lifted Australian cricket," Ganguly said. Long-time adversary Waugh had said that Ganguly should be respected the way he has played tough cricket and praised him for the stellar comeback after being written off by everybody.
"You don't have to like or dislike him. You have to respect him," said the former Australian captain. Just a year-and-a-half back when Ganguly was dropped from the team, the 100th Test cap looked elusive for the stylish left-hander but he has returned with a mission and has been team's highest scorer in the last season.
"It's just another Test match," the 35-year-old said. Too much have been said from both the sides about playing aggressive cricket, but the veteran is unfazed by the war of words before the series against the Aussies.
"It happens all around the world, there's something going on the ground all the time, which is not always in a bad sense," he said. "It's tough competition in the middle and you've just got to live with it. You have to focus on the game and I'm a firm believer that it's what you do with the bat or ball that matters," he added.