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Ganguly on the double
Harish Kotian in Bangalore | December 10, 2007 19:22 IST
Last Updated: December 10, 2007 22:06 IST
Sourav Ganguly [Images] was the toast of Bangalore on Sunday when hit a sparkling double century to lead India's run-feast in the third and final Test against Pakistan .
The left-hander's maiden double century, a magnificent 239, set the tone for India's mammoth first innings total of 626. It took the veteran a total of 99 Tests and nearly 11 years of international experience before he crossed the 200-run mark and not surprisingly he was thrilled at the achievement.
"I have been trying to get a double hundred. I have been close a few times in the past, but didn't get it. It is good that I managed to do it in an important game," he said in Bangalore on Monday.
The 35-year-old's highest score before this was the 173 he made against in a drawn Test against Sri Lanka [Images] in Mumbai in 1997-98. He, however, refrained from declaring this as his best Test knock, but added it was an important one.
"It is difficult to say but I think it is one of my important innings because we were 61 for four at one stage and from there we got to 600. So I think from that point of view and in the final Test of the series it was an important innings," he said.
Ganguly, also affectionately known as the Prince of Kolkata, believes he has enjoyed similar success in his career before and this is not the first time he is scoring runs so consistently.
"I am playing well, but I won't consider it the best [form of my life]. I have batted well before also. I think in the year 2000 I got nine one-day hundreds in a year, so that was a good year too. My first year in international cricket was a successful one. This has been a good year and I hope I can have some more good time in the middle," he said.
Ganguly has been one of the top comeback stories of the year. Just a year back, people were wondering whether he would make it back to the Indian team after being dumped from both forms of the game. However, since making his comeback in South Africa late last year, he has proved to be unstoppable amassing 1034 runs in his 11th match.
"In cricket, you will get runs at times and at times you won't get runs. You have to live with both. As a cricketer you just need to focus on your own cricket and try and perform every time you walk out to play for India. It's is not going to happen and all you can do is try your best," he said.
"Obviously if you look at it now I have comeback and have played well. But I don't think it was a good time, those eight months. Since I have come back I have played well and it is not any particular reason that you can say that being away from the team [that motivates me]. It is just that I have played well and it has kept on getting better. The efforts that I put on are still the same even when I was a part of the team and even when I am was getting not the runs the efforts have been the same. It is just that I am a bit more successful now," the former India captain added.
For Ganguly, the last couple of matches have been quite special. In the second Test against Pakistan, he scored his first century in front of his home fans at the historic Eden Garden and then followed it up with his double ton.
"I hope I can keep doing that. Last time I played in Melbourne I got 80, if I can better it this time it will be nice. I don't think past has got any control over the current. I am firm believer that in sport every day is a new day and anything can happen," he said.
Ganguly, in his prime, was regarded as one of the best players on the off-side and once Rahul Dravid [Images] had famously uttered these words: "On the off-side, first there is God, then there is Ganguly."
Now in his 99th Test, the veteran left-hander is hoping that his batting form carries on to his 100 th Test, which would be against Australia in Melbourne later this month.
"I hope it keeps on going," he quipped.
It is not his batting alone that is catching everyone's attention, but also his contributions with the ball. Quite often in the recent past, he has been seen breaking partnerships with his medium pace bowling.
"I think if I can bowl 13-14 overs a day without giving too many runs away and picking up a wicket or two every time I bowl I will do the job for the team I think. It will give the main bowlers a rest and it will also help Anil [Kumble] to distribute the overs well between the fast bowlers because it will help them not to get tired," he said.
The 2005 Zimbabwe tour was one of Ganguly's lowest periods in international cricket. Already battling from poor form, he scored a painstaking century against the minnows before being asked by the then coach Greg Chappell [Images] to quit captaincy. It subsequently led to Ganguly's dropping after he came public with the revelation and faced eight months on the sidelines.
He, however, brushed the issue aside saying: "Leave that aside."
The left-hander also added that being a captain or not, his task is to score runs.
"When I was the captain even then I scored runs, so it is nothing to do with that. It is just that I am playing well now that is period. Whether you are the captain or a player, you job is to do well. There are times when you will do well and there are times when you will not do well. As I said before it has got no bearing with anything and I hope this form continues," he said.