New Delhi, June 24: Former India cricketer and legendary captain Sourav Ganguly believes if a player wants to leave his mark on the game then he has to perform in Test cricket. The legendary skipper who played more than 400 international games for India said Test is the biggest platform one can get to showcase his cricketing talent.
The 48-year-old cricketer-turned administrator recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Test debut. Ganguly made his Test debut on India's tour of England in 1996 at the iconic Lord's Stadium. Speaking exclusively on Star Sports, the BCCI President shared his views on why Test is the ultimate format of the game.
"When we started playing cricket in our childhood, Test cricket was the ultimate cricket format and I think it still is the ultimate format. And that is why it is called Test cricket. I feel if a player wants to be successful and leave his/ her mark on the game, then Test cricket is the biggest platform one can get. People will remember those players forever, who play well and make runs in Test matches. If you see all the biggest names in cricket - all the greats - in the past 40-50 years; they've all had successful Test records," said Ganguly - who played 113 Tests for India.
While sharing anecdotes from his Test debut at the Lords - where the stylish left-handed batsman from Kolkata slammed a ton - Ganguly said, "Not many get to play their first Test at Lords and I remember fielding at point - a packed stadium at the Lords. And it has always been a happy hunting ground for me - every time I have gone back since my debut.
"I was in awe to walk down the long room on the first day and luckily we fielded. Otherwise, as a batsman, I was supposed to bat at No.3. I got a 100 on a Saturday, which is probably the best day for Test cricket, with every seat being full. It was my Test debut and get to a 100. They say it can't get better and the mindset of that Test match was remarkable. As you said, at the back-stands you get cheers for every shot you hit and then finishing at tea time on a 100 was special.
"I remember, during the tea, I was batting at 100 and I was mentally tired - more than physical - because, first 100, the emotions, the happiness, the highs make you tired as well. I was putting tape around the bat handle because it has just started to soften up, because of the bounce and the ball hitting at the top of the handle. I remember Sachin coming up to me and saying - you relax, have your cup of tea. So, I remember those moments I walked into the dressing room and everybody was standing outside the dressing room to cheer me, because of my achievement," the Prince of Kolkata reminisced.
While talking about his journey in cricket so far, the current head of Indian cricket board, said, "The entire journey, making a debut in 1996, getting a 100 at Lords. Then in few years, getting to captain India, getting to build a team - probably people rated as good as anybody in the world with the successes. Then giving the captaincy off to somebody and still being a part of the journey of winning matches and seeing the national team develop, becoming a force all around the world - which started under your captaincy. And then being in a administrative role, trying to change the game. I feel very fortunate that during my tenure as a president, India won in Australia, 2-1, in a remarkable series. It has been a fantastic journey and as a sportsman, as a cricketer, you don't expect anything better than this."