New Delhi, Sep 8: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly went on a memory lane over his friendship with Sachin Tendulkar, saying the legendary right-handed batter was a far more superior cricketer than him, a view which he strongly believes in.
“I first met Sachin when he was 14 years old at the MRF Pace Academy and over time we would go on to spend 6-7 months in a year together and developed a close friendship and trust over time.”
“As a cricketer, he was a far superior cricketer than me, and that is something I strongly believe in. To raise your game, you must partner with those better than you and we continue to be very close friends,” said Ganguly in an episode of the Champions Sports-Cast podcast hosted by DreamSetGo.
Ganguly made his debut for India in 1992, before ending his international career in 2008. He revealed how he got into playing cricket while growing up in Kolkata.
“For me, playing sports was a way out and to get away from my mom who always wanted me to study. I actually started playing football and realised that I had tremendous ball sense, probably attributing it to being from Kolkata.”
“I started playing cricket because of my brother and would play in a 7-a-side cricket game in our backyard. It was because of these tennis ball matches, that I was able to absorb the game sense, and touch from a very young age.”
Under his captaincy, India got in many young players and Ganguly even captained India to a runners-up finish in the 2003 Men’s ODI World Cup. “For me, leadership is about managing people because everyone's different. At the end of the day, I cannot win cricket games alone. I need the 10 players next to me to drive towards that goal.”
“So I always looked to manage different personalities and try to ensure they played on the field where it mattered. I would just be kind to all my players and if there were ever mistakes, I would find a way to hide it. And just got them to have enough trust in me over time so that they gave the best for the team,” he stated on his leadership mantra.
Ganguly, a former BCCI and CAB President, called Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Allan Border as his cricketing idols.
“In 1983, when India won the World Cup, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were the people I hoped to emulate as it was a big turning moment in our lives and the country. Apart from these two, Allan Border was an idol of mine that I always hoped to meet and I was lucky to meet all three of them.”
Ganguly, currently a Director of Cricket with IPL franchise Delhi Capitals, also expressed his admiration for legendary Argentina footballer Diego Maradona.
“I remember I first met him at an interview he was doing with the media and I'm not exaggerating one word when I say it was a 20-minute interview and through it all, he was juggling a ball with his left leg and didn't drop it once. I’ve seen Messi, Ronaldo & even Pele play but Maradona was special, he was blessed by the Almighty.” (IANS)