When Sourav Ganguly rejected MS Dhoni's offer to lead the Indian team
What's the story?
The iconic scene of Sourav Ganguly captaining India for a few overs in his final Test almost never happened. According to Ganguly's upcoming autobiography, the 45-year-old had initially rejected MS Dhoni's offer to take over captaincy against Australia at Nagpur in 2008.
“As the match came to a close, MS Dhoni in a surprise gesture asked me to lead. I had rejected his offer earlier in the day, but could not refuse a second time," Ganguly was quoted as saying.
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During Ganguly's final game for India in 2008, Dhoni went up to the former India captain and handed over the reins, with the Australia score reading 192-9 in pursuit of 382.
The Kolkata-born was handed the India captaincy first in 2000, and continued to hold the reins until 2005, emerging as India's most successful skipper. His overall record, consisting of 49 games, had 21 wins, 13 losses and 15 drawn games.
The heart of the matter
Ganguly also said that he couldn't put his mind to the task, and eventually ended up giving the highly valued responsibility back to Dhoni, his protege.
“Ironically, my captaincy career had begun exactly eight years ago on this very day. I handled the bowling changes and field placements while the last Australian wicket batted. But I must admit, at that stage, I found it difficult to focus. So after three overs I handed it back to Dhoni saying, 'it is your job, MS.' We both smiled," he said.
The excerpt is from a teaser chapter of the book titled "A Century Is Not Enough", that will be published at the end of the month.
Someone who wore his heart on his sleeve, Ganguly never shied away from taking responsibility throughout his career and steered the team through troubled waters in the wake of the match-fixing controversy at the turn of the millennium.
The heart-warming gesture by Dhoni that evening in Nagpur was the perfect token of appreciation for Ganguly, and the emotional roller-coaster that he would have gone through is understandable, possibly why he found it 'difficult to focus'.
For die-hard Ganguly fans, however, the captaincy stint, lasting only a few overs, brought back several memories that still remain close to their hearts.