'My role is same as when I was captaining India'
Sourav Ganguly, who will lead Pune Warriors in the IPL this year, is confident of the team at his disposal.
Sourav Ganguly is in a familiar role these days. On second thoughts, it is actually a new role.
The 39-year-old has resumed his role as the captain, this time with the Pune Warriors.
Ganguly, one of India's best captains ever, also led the Kolkata Knight Riders in two seasons prior to taking up the current role. With Yuvraj Singh (Pune's original captain) still recovering, the owners didn't have to think much as to who would be given the role -- Ganguly's credentials made him an automatic choice.
Akin to Adam Gilchrist (with Kings XI Punjab) and Rahul Dravid (with Rajasthan Royals), the Pune managements named him the captain-cum-mentor ahead of Season V.
The man in question though dismissed 'mentor' as just another word when asked to elaborate on his new role.
"Basically my role, as I have seen in the last few weeks, is the same as it was when I was captaining India," explained Ganguly.
"I have to look at my cricket, try and make a team and strategize so that we win matches," continued the veteran batsman, adding, "And the same hasn't changed.
"There's no added responsibility."
Photographs: Michael Steele/Getty Images
'We are a better team than what we were last year'
Ganguly, though, minced no words in admitting that Yuvraj's presence would be missed in the Pune dressing room.
"Obviously, we will miss Yuvraj, because in this format, the shorter format that is, he is a dangerous player," he said.
"But, unfortunately, he is fighting to be fit. Hopefully he gets well soon. For that is the most important thing," he added.
Ganguly, who joined the Pune side with only three games left last year, seemed confident of the team at his disposal.
"We are a young team. I think we are a better team than what we were last year," said the captain.
"We have got some good players," he continued, adding, "We have some more players coming in as well.
"Hopefully, we can combine into a good unit."
Photographs: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
'Hopefully my body holds for the next month-and-a-half'
At almost 40, Ganguly is not getting any younger. However, he has done his best to keep himself in shape for the event by playing in the domestic circuit.
He sounded positive about his physical condition.
"Ranji Trophy was tougher for me," he explained.
"Fielding for four days was tough," he continued, adding, "We played on flat wickets for the first two games and witnessed six hundreds.
"Then I decided that it had to be a green top where we wouldn't have to field for more than two days.
"I also played in the One-day tournament that we (Bengal) won. So the body has been good." Having said that the veteran batsman did admit the rigours of the competition and the effect it could have on the players.
"Obviously, IPL is a bit more hectic, for you play and travel and do more of the same," said Ganguly.
"It's a long tournament, at least 16 games. And we will have to make sure that we are ready and up for every game.
"Hopefully my body holds for the next month-and-a-half," he concluded.
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images