Sourav Ganguly was very "nervous" going into today's match against Deccan Chargers, said Pune Warriors coach Geoff Marsh after the former India captain made his much-anticipated return to the Indian Premier League.
Ganguly silenced his critics with a gutsy unbeaten run-a-ball 32 as Warriors notched up a comfortable six-wicket victory over Chargers at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Uppal.
The 38-year-old experienced campaigner's fluent knock was laced with three boundaries and a six.
"He told me that this was the most nervous he has ever been in his life. Obviously, it was a big moment for him. I have spent quite a lot of time with him over the last week," Marsh said at the post-match press conference.
The coach said it was Ganguly's love and passion for the game that brought him back to the IPL.
"It's his passion for the game that has got him down there and it was good to see him do well. He really batted well and held things together at the top," said the former Australian opener.
Ganguly had, after the match, himself admitted that it was the toughest day of his career and he went into the match with zero-confidence.
"I said it's probably the toughest day of my career. I have not picked a cricket bat for five months. I came into this game with zero-confidence," said Ganguly. Marsh also added the former Kolkata Knight Riders' skipper was not ready for the game against Mumbai Indians on May 4 and that he needed more match practice before getting into the thick of action.
"He just said that he was not ready. He wanted to have more nets. It was just his call. He said was not ready yet. And when the time came today, he said he was ready." Marsh attributed Warriors' morale-boosting win over Chargers to the team's all-round performance.
"The most important thing today was everyone chipped in well. It was an all round performance," he said. On the talks about having a mental conditioning coach, Marsh said, "Such a coach will bring different ideas. It is an individual thing. Some players want it, some may not."
Marsh also heaped praise on his son Mitchell, who helped Warriors restrict the hosts to 136 for eight with impressive bowling figures of four for 25.
"Mitchell bowled very well today. That is good for the team. The most important thing was to back up each other. It was an all-round and pleasing performance," he said. He said IPL gave him opportunity to coach a side after nine years as he was busy spending time with his sons -- Mitchell and Shaun, who is playing for another IPL team Kings XI Punjab.
"I have not been coaching for last nine years because of the two boys. But Pune gave me an opportunity to coach and come here in IPL, since it is a great tournament," he said. Meanwhile, Mitchell Marsh said it was good to contribute to the team's winning cause.
"It is just good to come into the team and contribute. He (Geoff Marsh) tells me to go and enjoy."