When Sourav Ganguly took up the captaincy role of the Indian team, the team was going through the tough period due to the match-fixing controversy. But soon after becoming the captain, Ganguly inspired the entire Indian team and guided the national team to the great path for success. Recently, the former Indian cricketer Ashok Malhotra revealed how much tough it was to make Ganguly as an Indian captain at that time.
The present Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) chief and then a member of the selection panel committee, Ashok Malhotra recently opened up that then Indian coach wasn’t supporting to see Sourav Ganguly as vice-captain of the team due to his unfit behaviours on the field.
Despite Ganguly once won the vote for the vice-captaincy role for the Indian team, he ultimately missed out to take up that role at that time. However, later, he was chosen for the vice-captaincy role for the Indian team.
Malhotra recently told Sportskeeda in a Facebook Live interview, “See, if I remember correctly, picking Sourav Ganguly as a vice-captain was a tougher job. I remember we picked him in Calcutta and the coach had some things to say – drinks too much Coke, takes singles but not twos, etc. In the bargain, I said having a Thumbs Up does not disqualify him as a vice-captain.
“And then we had quite a big discussion. 3-2 was voted in favour of Sourav as vice-captain. But then, I won’t name the President, but he walked into the selection, which has never ever happened in the history of the BCCI. And he and the Chairman told us, ‘Gentlemen, let’s do some rethinking’.”
“Two of us still stuck to our guns, but one selector said, ‘No, the President has said it so I will go with him.’ So we didn’t make him vice-captain then but later on, we managed to (make him). I know today he’s a legendary captain today, but a little bit of effort was there to make him captain, and even vice-captain.”
None of us knew Sourav Ganguly would become the captain: Ashok Malhotra
Sourav Ganguly led the Indian team for the first time in September 1999. However, he officially became the regular captain of the Indian team in early 2000, after some of the reputed Indian international cricketers were alleged to get involved in match-fixing.
Malhotra added, “None of us knew Sourav Ganguly would become the captain, because Sachin was the captain then. But once he resigned, we had to convince everyone to make him captain because Anil Kumble and Ajay Jadeja were in line. I had to work overtime.”
From 1999 to 2005, Ganguly led the Indian team in 195 international matches, where his team won 97 times, lost 78 matches and drew the other 15 games. Under his captaincy, India achieved some memorable successes, including winning the 2002 NatWest series in England, finishing as the joint-winners in the ICC Champions Trophy 2002 (along with the hosts Sri Lanka), finishing as the runners-up in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 etc.