Gutsy Ganguly remains firm on retirement
Sourav Ganguly's 102, his 16th century and second against Aussies and at Mohali, helped India to a formidable 469 on the second day of the second Test, but the innings hasn't forced a rethink for the former India captain. Sourav was asked if there is any thought of reconsidering his shocking retirement announcement that the Australia Test series would be his last, his pat reply came:
"I think it's the right decision and I have no regrets. I just don't want to play any more, to be honest. I've been playing well for the last two years."
Sourav's voice could not avoid a pensive mood.
Sourav had a very consistent run since returning to the team in December 2006, but was dropped from the Rest of India squad - primarily consisting of Test regulars - after a poor series in Sri Lanka. The interesting fact was – other three of 'Fab four' also did equally poor show but the guillotine came down only on Sourav – the most consistent player of Indian side in last two years. Sourav, however, found a place in the Test squad picked by a new set of selectors and surprised all by announcing his retirement before the first Test in Bangalore.
He had to fight several lonely battles in last three years time as he became the pawn of nasty BCCI power struggle and regional, parochial team selection process. But dropping from Irani trophy was perhaps the unkindest cut of all which left so much bitter experience in his mind that he thought –enough is enough; now time to bid the game goodbye for ever and hand the boot up.
That reflects in Sourav's crestfallen tone: "Except for the Sri Lanka series, I've had an outstanding two years, but it's just that I feel the time has come to go."
He said he was pleased with his effort in Mohali - Sourav walked in at 163 for 4 and shared century stands with Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. "I'm just happy to get runs," he said. "I still hopefully have five innings to go [before retirement]. I will try to do well and finish off well.
"I've tried to enjoy every single day because every day will be the last, I'm trying to do my best." – Sourav said
During his innings at Mohali, Sourav Ganguly became the fourth Indian batsman to go past 7000 Test runs. Ganguly has 11,363 ODI runs at an average over 40 - similar to that in Tests - but he said it's the performance in the five-day format that would be remembered in spite of the emergence of Twenty20.
He continued - "You will be remembered in what you have done in Test matches. First Test matches, then one-day cricket," he said. "When you talk about great players, you talk about a [Sunil] Gavaskar or [Steve] Waugh or Tendulkar or [Ricky] Ponting. It's because of their performances in Test matches. Not what they do in Twenty20."
India began the series with question marks over the future of their senior players, but Ganguly felt performance, and not age, should be considered. "It's going to be an individual decision for everyone. Age is no bar," he said. "It's the runs you get and people like [VVS] Laxman, Sachin and Rahul [Dravid] have been scoring runs. They should be judged on their performance."