Sourav Ganguly quashed all notions that captaining an Indian Premier League (IPL) team is much easier than leading the Indian cricket team. The former India skipper revealed the grey side behind the pretty picture that the richest T20 league paints to the world.
“There is a significant difference in captaining an Indian team and an IPL side,” Ganguly told a packed gathering at the Bombay Gymkhana while delivering the fourth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture on the ‘effects of T20 cricket on Tests’.
Sunil Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi and Kapil Dev delivered the first three lectures in memory of the India Test cricketer, who passed away in July 2007. “There is enormous pressure in leading an IPL team. You have to answer (the team bosses) before and after every IPL game. I had to switch off my phone twice, but they (owners) still found a way to reach me.
“In my career as India captain, I never got a call from the Board president or chief selector as to why I took a decision. It is much, much easier to captain India than an IPL team,” added Ganguly, who captained the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the first three editions of the IPL before being shunned by the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchisee. He led Pune Warriors India this year in the absence of Yuvraj Singh.
Can’t ignore M-factor
Ganguly, however, said that the IPL is the best thing to happen to Indian cricket. “I know many won’t agree with me, but I feel the IPL is the best thing to have happened, especially for our first-class cricketers. I know this game is not just about the money, but we have to look at the security part as well. We used to get R400 for a Ranji Trophy match,” said Ganguly before stressing, “Test cricket is here to stay”.
Ganguly pointed out that ODIs and Tests have become fast-paced due to T20s. “We are already seeing that T20 has enhanced the speed of one-day and Test cricket. We saw the two Tests against New Zealand finishing inside five days,” said the Bengal stalwart.
Ganguly said he would lay more importance on performances in first-class matches as a yardstick for India selection than T20s: “If I was a selecting a Test team, I would give more importance to Ranji performances.”