Country always comes first: Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly predicts India’s victory against West Indies Getty Images

Kolkata: Jun 2, 2011

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly differed from Arjuna Ranatunga’s take on Indian Premier League (IPL) being a “monster” but at the same time stressed that “country always comes first.”

“Always country comes first but at the same time you need to draw a fine balance. It’s for the Board maintain a balance between international assignments and IPL. Don’t forget IPL is a product of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI),” the former captain told the reporters at a promotional event.

About the debate that the injury management of the players have left a lot to be desired, he said that the tournament needs big names like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Shane Warne.

“It would not be so successful without the likes of Tendulkars, Shane Warnes among others. It’s very difficult to balance as the players are humans afterall. So at some stage they need rest. But at the same time IPL is so big. It’s very difficult to balance as BCCI wants all the players to take part in IPL.”

About Ranatunga’s comments, he said,”I know he is harping this for a long time. But I don’t think IPL is a monster.” The Prince of Calcutta cited examples of Manoj Tiwary and Venugopal Rao who have been able to resurrect their fledgling careers courtesy IPL.

“Don’t forget that it has made life for a lot of players. Only 14 players can represent the country, what happens to the fringe players who have done well in the domestic circuit? IPL has provided a platform to all of them. And more importantly, IPL has made them financially secured.”

It is because IPL that someone like Paul Valthaty is now a household name. “Look at Paul Valthaty, he had a tremendous success this year and he could be in Mumbai side, a team India opportunity also might be reckoning for him. It has done wonders for a lot of cricketers,” he said.

Ganguly however said that the Twenty20 is a least taxing format.

“You need to bat for just three hours and as a bowler you have to deliver four overs maximum. While fielding on an average you get the bowl for about eight times, it’s three time more in other forms of cricket. Ask players like Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis, how difficult is to play a whole day in Test cricket.”

On his bitter episode with KKR, Ganguly who represented Pune Warriors in IPL IV said: “It’s time to move on. Afterall Gautam Gambhir moved on from Delhi Daredevils to become the highest paid IPL player, so did Yusuf Pathan. That’s the way it is, it demands results.”

Ganguly further said India would win the West Indies series but England tour right after the Carribean sojourn would be a tough one.

“India will win the series in the West Indies but it will be tough to beat England in England who have had a lot of success in the recent past. It will be challenging to keep themeselves fit and fresh for the England series right after the tour to the West Indies.”

Asked about Team India’s new coach Duncan Fletcher, Ganguly said the Zimbabwean would find himself a perfect atmosphere to start his stint with. “Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a great team. I am sure Duncan Fletcher will reap the benefits of joining the side who have been so successful and have quality players. Duncan will get a lot of confidence from it.”


Sourav Ganguly predicts India’s victory against West Indies Getty Images