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Ganguly dismisses VRS talk

Our Correspondent | October 07, 2008 19:29 IST

After making a shocking announcement that he will retire at the end of the upcoming Test series against Australia [Images], Sourav Ganguly [Images] called upon the media and cricket fans to respect his fellow-senior players and also let them quit on their own terms.

The seniors bore the brunt of the criticism after India's failure in the Test series in Sri Lanka [Images], but Ganguly made it clear that they have contributed a lot to Indian cricket over the years and must be treated with respect.

He rejected theories that they were being offered 'Voluntary Retirement Schemes' to give up the game and let youngsters into the team.

"This has been going on for some time really -- for the last one, one-and-a-half years. And it will go on. I don't think it's ever possible that anybody can offer you a VRS scheme; that was the term used. I don't think that's ever possible in sport," he said in Bangalore on Tuesday evening.

 "You can't do that to players like [Anil] Kumble, [Rahul] Dravid, [VVS] Laxman, Sachin [Tendulkar], myself or anyone. We have been performing for years. I understand we all had a poor series in Sri Lanka. But they have been performing for the last two-three years, for their entire lives. You don't look at your entire career; it's probably your current performances. I'm sure when time comes they will go on their own terms," he added.

The former India captain said irrespective of whether a player is senior or junior, there is always the pressure to perform.

"In every series there is pressure. It is not about seniors or youngsters. When there was a series five years back also there was pressure. You knew that if you didn't perform then there was someone to come in. When we started there were greats who had played for India for so long, like [Mohammad] Azharuddin, [Dilip] Vengsarkar, [Sanjay] Manjrekar � We performed and we came in. That process will go on. It's all about performances.

"Every series, every year you have someone waiting. Five years ago it was probably Dinesh Mongia, Hemang Badani; now it is Yuvraj Singh [Images] and Rohit Sharma. Five years down the line it will be someone else. That's the way sport goes, you just have to live with it," he retorted.

To a question, he agreed that his career was scrutinized more than other seniors in the last few years.

"Yeah, it has been, unfortunately. I have felt that, but that's the way it is. I have achieved enough in this sport, hopefully I've lived with it and the day I can't I'll go," he said.

Ganguly made a dramatic comeback to the Indian team for the four-Test series against Australia despite being ignored for the Irani Trophy match. Even he seemed shocked after being called up by the selectors, since the Irani Trophy match was considered to be a selection trial for the Australia series.

"It was [shocking]. To be honest, I didn't expect to be picked for this series. Once I am� I have started preparing. Even when I was left out of the Rest of India squad, which was a bit surprising, I was training with the Bengal boys. That's the way it is," he admitted.

Despite the shock recall, Ganguly said he is fully prepared to face the Aussies.

"I am prepared. I played some games before coming to Bangalore. Hopefully, with the break after Sri Lanka, some matches under the belt and some good nets, I'm prepared for the series."

He also made it clear the Board had not suggested to anyone how long they should keep playing.

"When you play for so long you tend to put speculation behind you because there have been a lot of things written in the past and a lot of things will be written in the future. It's important what you get to know from the board. As far as I am concerned, and as far as any of the other seniors are concerned, we haven't received any intimation from the board on anything. Obviously, some people have been picked and some people have been dropped. That's the way selection goes. That's all I can say. And when you play this sport you have to learn to keep these things behind you and go ahead."

Complete coverage: Australia in India 2008

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