We took oath of honesty before Nairobi tournament in 2000: Ganguly

Ganguly recalls oath he took with teammates before 2000 Nairobi tourney in the aftermath of the match-fixing saga

Was putting the players (Pakistani trio) behind bars a good option according to you, or was it too harsh?
It is the right option to punish them for their crimes.

A leader is born: Sourav Ganguly batting during the opening game
of the Champions Trophy 2000 versus hosts Kenya. Pic/AFP

Team India was completely clean under your captaincy. But, does it bother you to hear that Salman Butt whom you captained at KKR was also involved?
I couldn't believe when I heard he was involved! He seemed a gentleman to me.

What according to you must be done to Indian players who were found guilty of match-fixing, should they too be jailed?
Sorry, I don't have the right to make a statement here. I am unaware of the country's laws in such a field.

Such things happened before when you were in the team, especially the time when you played under someone else �
I could never make out who all were involved. Never had TV footage to suggest who were involved, as in this case. And, I don't have sufficient proof with me to point to the others. I cannot even say that I suspect X, Y or Z.

A particular match was suspected in your time, the New Zealand Test match at Ahmedabad, where the Indian team did not enforce the follow on...
No, I never felt anything there.

In his latest book, then Board secretary J Y Lele has said that the decision was not made by then skipper Sachin Tendulkar, but by coach, Kapil Dev...
Maybe. I have no idea about this.

How can you not have an idea? You were the vice-captain then?
Nobody informed me about this matter. I really have no idea.

Then, let me remind you -- against the West Indies, where you were batting opposite a former skipper. You were playing well. The former skipper came on as a new batsman. He came to you and said that the captain has asked you to hit out.  You followed orders and decided to pull a step-out shot, which ultimately got you dismissed and India lost the match. Later, in the dressing room you came to know, that skipper Sachin, gave no such instructions.
Yes it was a 1997 incident, but I never realised that such things were cooking up.

When you were appointed India captain in 2000, every team member was made to take an oath of not getting into fixing. Do you think it worked out?
It's true, we did have a meeting before we went to Kenya for the Champions Trophy, where five to six of us senior members decided that such malpractice will not be tolerated and even if a player's situation is doubtful, he won't be chosen in the team.

Was Nayan Mongia not chosen because of a similar reason?
No, Mongia still played for a few more matches after that. But eventually the Board suggested against his selection.

You have achieved numerous goals for India; above all you had washed out corruption completely, do you rate this achievement to be the best of all?
From whatever I perceive now, yes, definitely, I feel it's one of my greatest achievements.

Some opine the guilty must be punished...
Those who are guilty, should be punished. The closed cases should be reopened.

Imran Khan has suggested that every cricketer's bank accounts be closely monitored. What's your opinion?
That is not a good idea. Bank account is a rather personal entity to be monitored.

Then what do you suggest?
The ICC should incorporate lie detectors that are functional on a 24-hour basis. If anyone's status is doubtful, then he should be made to sit for a lie-detector test.

November 3, 2011 -- good or bad day for cricket?
Both, good and bad.

Men like Mazhar Majeed lure players in various ways. How can this be stopped?
A lot of things can lure you; the best option is to keep your head from falling from grace. Even the bookies know where to go and where not to. It is also important for parents to educate their kids at home about what is right and wrong. This interview originally appeared in Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika. Translated version used with permission.

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