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I was asked to step down: Ganguly

Sourav hinted that it was Chappell who wanted him to step down as captain.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2005 13:29 IST

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Thursday made the sensational disclosure that he was asked to step down as captain before the start of the first Test against Zimbabwe currently on in Bulawayo.

After scoring 101 in India's first innings, Ganguly said that he was asked on the eve of the match to step down as captain.

Ganguly did not quite take Greg Chappell's name but gave enough indications that it was the coach himself who wanted him to do so.

Chappell, when asked about it, said that the only thing he would share with the press is the composition the team should have in the match.

Ganguly, who left the practice session on the eve of the match for half an hour, confirmed that he did so because he was upset with this demand on him.

"Yes, it was suggested. I was under a lot of pressure," the skipper said.

Ganguly said that India's poor performance was only restricted to one-dayers recently and the only time he personally failed was against Pakistan earlier this year.

He said he had scored close to 1,000 runs in the last 16 Test innings.

Ganguly said Thursday's century, which came from 262 balls after a near six-hour stay at the crease against an inexperienced attack, meant a lot to him as he had not performed well recently and was under a lot of pressure.

"Yes, it is not the best side of the world, but it has meant a lot to me," he said.

"I was happy for myself as I had a bad time with the bat in both forms of the game. Lost on a few centuries in the series against Pakistan.

"Playing consistently at this level is important. I am happy that I fought it out," he said.

When asked about his detractors crying for his head, he said, "it has been fair. I struggled against Pakistan and the last year has been a disappointing one for me."

"It is not for me to prove anything because the criticism has been fair. I have got the ability to play for the team."

Ganguly was leading the team for the 48th time in a Test, the most for any Indian skipper.

He is also India's most successful captain with a 19-13 record.

When pressed to name the person who has asked to step down and whether it was Chappell, Ganguly would only commit that what he said was true and the press would have to ask the coach for the reasons of it.

Ganguly said that despite the pressure he had tried to carry on gamely in this match and God had been kind to him.

He also reacted to VVS Laxman's comment on Wednesday that he got negative vibes from the team and from outside during his difficult days.

"I have always believed in his ability and I told him yesterday that he doesn't have to prove himself to anyone.

"As far as I am concerned, I have always been a big supporter of Laxman and will always be.

"But then there are people other than me who are deciding about Indian cricket. As far as I am concerned, Laxman is one of the best players India has produced."

The Prince of Kolkata had recently said that there had been too many things running in his mind and that it had been hard six months for him.

Ganguly said that his silence said everything and he would come out with the full story when it was required.

Ganguly said that those who question his form would do well to look at the statistics and would find that he has scored nearly 1,000 runs in last 16 Tests.

"I admit I didn't do well against Pakistan but my score hasn't been as bad as it has been made out to be," he said.

Ganguly said that a person who has scored 16,000 international runs got to have something in him.

First Published: Sep 15, 2005 23:05 IST