Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) chief Ashok Malhotra recently opened up about the decision to make Sourav Ganguly the vice-captain, and eventually the captain, of the Indian cricket team.
In an exclusive interview with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda Cricket's Facebook page, Malhotra, who was part of the selection panel at the time, narrated the events that transpired in the lead-up to the current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President becoming skipper.
When asked if it was tough to pick Sourav Ganguly as the captain after the great Sachin Tendulkar's resignation, Malhotra said -
"See, if I remember correctly, picking Sourav Ganguly as a vice captain was a tougher job. I remember we picked him in Calcutta and the coach had some things to say - drinks too much Coke, takes singles but not twos, etc. In the bargain, I said having a Thumbs Up does not disqualify him as a vice captain."
"And then we had quite a big discussion. 3-2 was voted in favour of Sourav as vice captain. But then, I won't name the President, but he walked into the selection, which has never ever happened in the history of the BCCI. And he and the Chairman told us, 'Gentlemen, let's do some rethinking.'"
'None of us knew Sourav Ganguly would become captain'
Malhotra continued the story, stating that one selector changed his vote, shifting the scales against Sourav Ganguly. Dada wasn't made the vice-captain then, but the persistent efforts of Malhotra eventually bore fruit.
He said -
"Two of us still stuck to our guns, but one selector said, 'No, the President has said it so I will go with him.' So we didn't make him vice-captain then but later on, we managed to (make him). I know today he's a legendary captain today, but a little bit of effort was there to make him captain, and even vice-captain."
After Tendulkar's retirement due to the ugly fixing scandal at the turn of the century, Sourav Ganguly was made the Indian captain ahead of candidates like Anil Kumble and Ajay Jadeja.
Malhotra said -
"None of us knew Sourav Ganguly would become the captain, because Sachin was the captain then. But once he resigned, we had to convince everyone to make him captain because Anil Kumble and Ajay Jadeja were in line. I had to work overtime."
After taking over at the helm of the national side with cricket in the country in deep turmoil, Sourav Ganguly shepherded India to many incredible overseas wins, apart from the final of the 2003 World Cup.
Published 22 Jul 2020, 19:29 IST