Following their 178-run victory at Kolkata, India not only sealed the ongoing series against New Zealand 2-0 but also went on to reclaim the top spot from arch-rivals Pakistan in the ICC Test rankings. However, former skipper Sourav Ganguly has admitted to not giving too much importance to rankings whilst reiterating that Virat Kohli’s team are ‘far better’ than Misbah ul Haq’s side in Tests.
In an interview with India Today, the 44-year old even expressed surprise at Pakistan’s brief ascent to the top after their 2-2 draw against England and expressed hope that the Eden Gardens pitch which had assisted seamers would help in preparing the Indians for tougher overseas tours.
Ganguly claimed, “I don't think Pakistan are India's yardstick at the moment. India are a far better side than Pakistan in Test cricket. So, I don't think it could be a comparison. I was surprised to see Pakistan becoming No.1 after their 2-2 series against England. So, I really didn't consider that to be No.1 but I think this win is lot more satisfying for India and lot more satisfying for viewers like us and for people who played cricket for such a long time.”
He added, “I still don't agree with the No.1 position because I don't think India have won in Australia or England or South Africa or New Zealand. I didn't agree to Pakistan's No.1 position. In my era, Australia were the real No.1 Test side because they won everywhere.”
Kohli himself had termed the regaining of the number one Test ranking as an ‘added incentive’ while placing emphasis on achieving consistency throughout the home season. With Pakistan set to embark on tough trips to New Zealand and Australia, India have an opportunity to open up a significant lead at the top of the table. But, Ganguly had bigger expectations from the Indian captain.
The classy left-hander asserted, “It's quite a lot of wins for Kohli already. He's got 11 more Tests to play in India, he will be very quickly close to a lot of people in the next one year. But, I think his real test will begin when his side goes overseas. He sets high standards for himself and I think he'll set high standards for Indian cricket as well.”
As the President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), he was extremely satisfied with the ground staff for preparing a surface which turned out to be quite a departure from the traditional Indian pitches by offering assistance to the seam bowlers as well.
Ganguly affirmed, “The surface had everything for the bowlers. It was not one of those square rank turners you get in India. Everybody came into the game. Everybody had to be at their best to pick wickets and win Test matches. That exactly what happens when you travel overseas. India's power in Test cricket will be judged how well they play overseas and victories like this on these sort of surfaces will make them confident when they travel abroad. Our goal is to become a good team all around the world.”
India will be eager to continue their dominance during the third Test against New Zealand which is slated to begin on Saturday at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.