KOLKATA: On the field, he rates Virender Sehwag as the best opener India has ever had in Tests after Sunil Gavaskar. But off it, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly feels the Delhi dasher did not know he existed.
“I am a very laid back person. But when I became captain in 2000, I realised that this team had to do things differently. As Indians, we were pretty laid back,” Ganguly said while speaking at the India Today Conclave East 2017 on Friday.
“I had Sehwag in the team, who after Sunil Gavaskar is probably the best opener I have seen. But as a person off the field, he didn’t know he existed. He would sleep, you had to push him to get going before a Test match,” he added.
When Ganguly took over as the captain, Indian cricket was reeling from match-fixing allegations leveled against some of the players.
One of the key aspects of his captaincy off the field was how he made the Indian team a tougher unit.
Under him, India improved their overseas record by winning more Test matches and series on foreign soil.
In the 49 matches he was captain, India won 21 and lost only 13. It was the all-time captaincy record for India before MS Dhoni overtook Ganguly as the most successful Test skipper.
In 2003, Ganguly also led India to the final of the ICC World Cup where they lost to Ricky Ponting’s Australia.
“The first thing I saw when India played Australia in 2001, it was a different side when they were up and ready, they were fighting. So as a captain, as a leader I had to get that atmosphere going on the ground and it had to start from me,” Ganguly said reflecting back on the days when the Indians were not known for being the fittest of players.