Sourav Ganguly wants Virat Kohli to focus on winning ‘big tournaments’
BCCI president-in-waiting Sourav Ganguly’s first media conference on returning to his home town following his nomination had him facing more questions on the sport and the performance of the India cricket team than administrative issues, though the former India skipper said cricket administration in the country was going through an ‘emergency period’.
Ganguly’s opinion was sought on the Indian team’s performances, and he said: “India are a good team. The only issue (skipper) Virat Kohli needs to address is that we have not won the last seven major tournaments. But they play well in big tournaments, except the semifinals and the final. Hopefully, Virat can change it around. He is a champion player.”
The 47-year-old said wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who comes from a state whose association Ganguly heads, had to score more runs. “There is no question on his wicketkeeping skills but he has to score runs if he has to play 100 matches. There is one more match in the South Africa series and he still has a chance to score a century,” said Ganguly.
In what was seen as his bid to turn the page on controversies during his playing career, Ganguly denied he was at the receiving end of politics or injustice, despite journalists repeatedly asking him if his elevation as BCCI president would heal the wounds suffered during his cricket career.
“Only once or twice,” he said. “Only three Indian cricketers have played more than 300 ODIs and 100 Test matches. They are Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and yours truly. This would have been impossible had I faced politics or injustice,” the former skipper said.
Questions were also asked about the tussle between Ganguly as skipper and then coach Greg Chappell during 2005-2006, when he lost captaincy with his deputy, Rahul Dravid, taking over.
He was later dropped from the ODI and Test sides, though he staged a comeback in 2007. However, it is widely believed he was persuaded by the national selectors to retire in 2008 though he was keen to continue.
Asked if the media could call his new role as “the Bengal tiger is back”, Ganguly quipped: “You can say ‘back in Bengal’.”
Deflecting any comparison with the late Jagmohan Dalmyia, the last BCCI president from Kolkata, Ganguly said, “He achieved whatever was there to achieve as an administrator. I will consider myself successful even if I manage to achieve 50%.”
He said he would operate from both Kolkata and Mumbai, where the board headquarters is based.