A burden is off my chest, says Ganguly

Published: Sunday, December 2, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Kolkata: Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly yesterday said he removed a huge burden off his chest.

Ganguly reached his 100, stealing a single of the bowling of Danish Kaneria, punched the air and stood with his helmet and bat raised. What a relief! His first century at Eden and first against Pakistan too after 98 Tests, plundering over 5000 runs and 13 centuries around the world.

The 60,000 strong stadium rose and clapped in unison.

Talking to the reporters in the post match brief, Ganguly said, ''This is my highest at Eden Gardens. So I think it is also my best performance here. It feels nice to score a hundred anywhere and scoring it in my home ground makes it even more special.'' ''As an international cricketer you always have expectations.

But this century will definitely bring a sigh of relief with it.

If I had to end my career without a century here it would have been very disappointing. A burden was off the chest today.,'' he added.

The Prince of Kolkata who was on 17 at the end of yesterday's play however did manage some sleep. ''Well I did get some sleep, but it's getting less nowadays.

''I just wanted to play according to the merit of the ball and not bring any undue pressure on myself. And the second new ball also helped. It was much harder and you get full value of your shots when the ball is harder,'' he said.

About tomorrow's course of action, the southpaw said, ''I think even tomorrow it will be a good batting track, but it will definitely deteriorate from the fourth day.

With 600 on board and three days of play left, you are expected to win a Test match. Both Anil (Kumble) and Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) will have a crucial role to play but I think with the old ball you can also get a bit of reverse swing. We just have to bowl at the right place.''

Scotching rumours of any serious injury to paceman Zaheer Khan, who left the field after bowling only two balls in his second over, Ganguly said, ''It's nothing serious, probably a slight niggle, He will bowl tomorrow.''

The left-hander also had a word of praise for opener Wasim Jaffer. ''I have always been a big fan of openers who play their shots. I liked Virender Sehwag's style of batting, now it's the same with Jaffer. He is willing to play his shots and that helps you to cope with the pressure,'' he said.

Highly impressed with the commitment shown by Shoiab Akhtar, Ganguly said, ''He didn't look fully fit yesterday, but today he bowled well. He is Pakistan's premier bowler and he showed great determination to play in this game after being so ill for the last couple of days.''

''It will be a decisive game here. On the fourth and fifth day the pitch in the subcontinent becomes very unpredictable. It breaks, takes turn and there is uneven bounce,'' he said, asked how the match would transpire over the next three days.

Talking about the newly appointed coach Gary Kirsten, he said, ''I have played against him. He was a great player. But coaching India is not easy.''


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