Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly yesterday said Anil Kumble was nearly dropped for their famous tour to Australia in 2003-04 but it was him who fought with the selectors till late in the night to take the ace Lexine on board.
According to Ganguly, the selectors were keen for a left-arm spinner Murali Kartik for the tour Down Under but on Ganguly's insistence Kumble was taken as he returned with 24 wickets, the highest in the series with India retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after drawing the series 1-1.
"The selectors were picking Kartik saying 'Kumble doesn't pick wickets outside India'. But I was hell bent and said I won't go without Kumble as the meeting went on till 2'o clock in the night," Ganguly recollected the incident. "Selectors told me if Kumble doesn't take wickets and team doesn't do well, 'we'll have a new captain'. We had the best ever Australian trip in the history. Kumble finished that season as the highest wicket taker on the ICC calendar," Ganguly said.
Ganguly pointed out the incident during his address on 'Transforming setbacks into comebacks' during INFOCOM 2015, the 14th edition of the annual Information and Communication Technology conference. One of the biggest things for a leader is about creating trust, Ganguly said adding about the incident.
"He (Kumble) was a champion and was going through a phase when he was not taking wickets. That was a part of setbacks. That time you don't ask him to leave but give him that extra yards. That's how you create trust." Ganguly also said he could have called it quits after being dropped in 2006 but he never gave up as he did not want
to regret it later.
"It was one of the biggest setbacks after being left out because of my coach (Greg) Chappell. It happened after getting a hundred in Zimbabwe. But that was one part of my life which changed me as a person. If you keep trying hard, you'll come out of it.
"I came back to score my first ever double hundred (against Pakistan), I also got my first ever Test hundred at (my home ground) the Eden. So it's about being passionate about what you do and love your job."
He also recalled his 98 on his ODI comeback against the West Indies in January 2007. "After coming back from a six months' layoff, I was very nervous on the eve of the Nagpur ODI. I could not sleep. I was so angry and at 3am I called the reception to 'find me a way to sleep'... I was so nervous and desperate to do well. I didn't get one minute of sleep till 6am and we left for the ground at 6.45am being a day match.
"The first ball I got hit on elbow but I went on to get a 98 before being runout. This is the pressure we go through in life," Ganguly said recalling their 14-run win over the Windies in the January 21, 2007 match at the VCA ground.