'I said, 'Sorry Sourav bhai': Saqlain's unforgettable incident involving Ganguly | Cricket - Hindustan Times

'I said to him, 'Sorry Sourav bhai'. Felt ashamed': Saqlain Mushtaq's unforgettable incident involving Ganguly

Sep 20, 2022 05:50 PM IST

Pakistan's spin great Saqlain Mushtaq, in an interesting revelation, spoke about having a misconception about former India captain Sourav Ganguly.

Sourav Ganguly is one of the most successful captains of the Indian cricket team. In his prime, Ganguly was a prolific left-handed batsman who amassed more than 18,000 runs in international cricket, including 38 centuries. As India captain, he invigorated a young Indian unit into a world-class team that began winning matches away from home consistently, including reaching the final of 2003 World Cup. Known for his aggression and no-nonsense attitude , he led India in many matches against arch-rivals Pakistan.

Sourav Ganguly (L) and Saqlain Mushtaq (Getty Images)
Sourav Ganguly (L) and Saqlain Mushtaq (Getty Images)

Speaking of which, the India-Pakistan rivalries have always ensured fireworks on the cricket field but off it, it offers many interesting insights and tales as well. Plenty goes on behind the scenes that doesn't often meet the public eye with players getting the best deal out of it. While cricketers of India and Pakistan have aimed to outdo each other during matches, off the field, most of them have shared a cordial bond.

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One of them is former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who, in an interesting revelation, spoke about having a misconception about Ganguly. In an interview, Mushtaq mentioned that he initially believed that the former India captain had a bit of air about himself. But his perception changed when the two interacted over a cup of coffee during India's 2003-04 tour of Pakistan.

"There are some people with whom you don't feel like talking or interacting. During our playing days, initially I had that feeling for Sourav Ganguly. He was India's captain and a legend without doubt. However, whenever we met, it was always "hello", "hi" and nothing more. I had a feeling that he thinks very highly of himself," he told SportsKeeda.

Saqlain further revealed how Ganguly's priceless gesture after the former spinner had underwent a surgery was what changed his opinion of the then-India captain. The two did battle during the famous 1997 Sahara Cup, the 1999 Test match in Chennai and the tri-series in Australia in 2000, but it would take Saqlain another couple of years to witness the other, more pleasing side of Ganguly.

"After my knee operation in 2003-04, Ganguly was there on that tour and Sachin Tendulkar as well. Sachin had just had an elbow injury. I was playing a side match against India. It was my first match after rehab and I had to play county for Sussex," added Saqlain.

"Believe me, Ganguly brought two cups of coffee. The roofs of the two dressing rooms were together. There was just a small wall in between. You could either jump or come from behind. He jumped with two coffee cups in hands and came to meet me. I was shocked and was wondering what he was doing here."

Saqlain admitted that he felt embarrassed over what he initially perceived of Ganguly. He then shared what the two talked about things and how he even apologised to Ganguly for his prejudice. Saqlain added that he knew Ganguly as a great Indian cricketer and that he had no words to describe his brilliance on the field. But his kindness was a revelation for him and it portrayed Ganguly as a 'good human being' in Saqlain's eyes.

"That changed my perception of Ganguly. I felt ashamed regarding my misconception of such a nice human. I never had a conversation with him before and assumed that he was a strange person and had an ego."

"During our chat, he asked about my knee and even guided and motivated me. We spoke about cricket and life and had some fun chat as well. While Ganguly was going back, I said 'Sorry Sourav bhai, I had the wrong perception about you, but this meeting has completely changed that'". "I told him, 'I have become your fan as a human'. Of course, what he has done as a player, enough cannot be said about it. But after that chat, he had won my heart as a human too."

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