With India currently taking part in their 250th home Test at the iconic Eden Gardens, several esteemed former players gathered together and shared quite a few fascinating incidents as well as memories from their heydays in a talk show at the venue.
Sourav Ganguly opened up on a few interesting tidbits about his erstwhile team-mates Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. The classy left-hander revealed, “He (Tendulkar) would only bat and shop. He would get a Test hundred and the next day you would see him shopping in an Armani or Versace and you will see them hanging in his wardrobe. He was very fond of his clothes and had a great wardrobe.”
One of India’s finest ever captains, ‘Dada’ claimed, “You would see him (Laxman) taking a shower even as the no 4 and 5 batters were at the crease. Even he would be the last to board the team bus.” The stylish Hyderabadi’s connect with Kolkata has been widely renowned as his sensational 281 helped India overcome a massive deficit while following on and emerge victorious in a thrilling fashion.
Another key contributor to that famous victory, Harbhajan Singh also got effusive praise from the 44-year old. The triumph played a massive role in Indian cricket's resurgence in the aftermath of the millennium with their golden generation proceeding to conquer greater heights.
Ganguly affirmed, “Viru (Sehwag) at the top with his batting and when you came to bowl, you knew you've one (Kumble) who can bowl and give you wickets on any surface. Anil would say 'You give me runs on the scoreboard and I will win you Tests.' He did exactly did that. It was my honour to lead both of them and also Rahul, Sachin, Harbhajan. It was a golden generation, we were blessed with exceptional talents. They have made Indian cricket superior.”
Sehwag attributes his success to faith shown by captains
Virender Sehwag echoed his skipper’s thoughts and looked back on their remarkable run. The attacking opener, who did not shy away from taking risks, acknowledged the faith shown at all times by the captains whom he played under.
The Delhi batsman reminisced, “Dada (Ganguly) had only one motive to win overseas and become number one. Their captaincy was attacking and to back their boys was their strength. I remember having dinner and Kumble told me ‘you would play the next four matches, performance would not matter, just go and give your 100 per cent’. I was so content. I made my second triple hundred under Kumble. The seed was sown by Dada and Kumble continued.”
He added, “Cricket has not changed but it's the mindset that has. I never had fear of losing my place as my captain would tell me just go out there and play freely. I could play the fearless cricket because I had my captain's backing. Captain played a big role, be it Sourav, Kumble or MS Dhoni. Every successful player has an equally great captain behind him.”