~~Captaining India tougher than Eriksson~~s job~~

Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Managing the England football team may appear to be one of the most difficult assignments in the world of sports but former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, after his six-year stint in the hot seat, feels leading Team India is even tougher.

In an exclusive interview to BBC World Service Sport, Ganguly had no doubt that Eriksson's was a less challenging job than the one he had.

''It's a big job. It's as big a job as Mr Eriksson's - I would say probably bigger because you have more people following.

Everybody has an opinion. There are lots of media, about 50 television channels and all of them thrive on this sport, that's what makes the channels run.

''Everybody gives an opinion how the team can play better. When you play well, they love you to bits, when you don't, they criticise you to bits,'' Ganguly said.

''That's the way it is but I think after a time you just get used to it, you just put it aside and move on. At the end of the day, as long as you know you are giving your best, that's all that matters,'' added the southpaw who is here for a five-week county stint with Northamptonshire.

In the freewheeling interview, Ganguly also shared his opinion on his successor Rahul Dravid.

Revealing Dravid had approached him for advice in Pakistan, Ganguly said, ''...he did at times, but I think he did a good job on his own. I always believe he should be allowed to do it the way he thinks. Too much interference doesn't help, so I took a back seat.

''He should make the decisions which he thinks are good for the team. Some may be right, some may be wrong - it's the same for all captains. But as a past captain it was my job to sit back and concentrate on my cricket and whenever asked for advice, I'd do it.''

Asked how Dravid's captaincy differed from his own style of doing it, Ganguly said, '' Everybody's different. You cannot compare somebody's style with another. It's the results which matter.''

Asked how he felt to play against Sri Lanka and Pakistan after stripped off captaincy, Ganguly said, ''I enjoyed it because I captained India for six years, which I think is a pretty long time.

I don't think many captains have captained India for six years in a row. It's hard work.

''I played one Test against Sri Lanka in Delhi and one against Pakistan in Karachi and I enjoyed it because you just think about your own cricket. Of course you think about the team, but not in the same manner as you do if you are captain.''

Asked how much hurt he was after first stripped off captaincy and then sacked, Ganguly said, ''Losing the captaincy did not hurt me much because I don't think I would have achieved any more as a captain.

''I captained 50 Test matches for India and nearly 160 One-day games, I think that's quite a bit, but I still feel I can be a part of this team and contribute successfully. Obviously not getting a place as a player was difficult.'' Ganguly is confident that it's not over yet and he can earn the selectors' nod with some good show in county cricket.

''I'm just 33 and (in) the last Test series I played, I did very well, so I am definitely sure there is a lot of cricket left in me.'' He, however, skirted the issue of his reported spat with coach Greg Chappell and said he was looking ahead.

''Well I don't know about that. I don't want to comment on that.

I don't want to make an issue about that. All I can say is what is in my hands is to score runs and take wickets and I'd better concentrate on that,'' he said.

He is even confident to make it to the 2007 World Cup.

''I've been one of the best performers in the last two World Cups for India, very close to 1,000 World Cup runs, so I'm looking forward to it and if I get an opportunity it will be good,'' he said.

Expressing his desire to be part of a World Cup winning team, Ganguly said, ''That would be great because I've been part of two World Cup and three Champions Trophies....unfortunately (we) couldn't win it.

''That's a huge ambition not just for me and the team members but for the entire country and if I can be a part of it, that would be fantastic.

''I have achieved quite a bit. By God's grace, I've been lucky.

But I've got some more aspirations that I hope come true.

''I'm trying my best to get back into the team, helping support the team and wish them all the best,'' he said.

Asked to comment on Team India's performance against West Indies, Ganguly said, ''They were pretty unlucky in the last Test match with the rain. They played good cricket in the first two Tests and I'm sure the two more Tests will be very hard fought.''

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