K.C. Vijaya Kumar
Bangalore: Sourav Ganguly was a touch amused with the flurry of questions on his successful return to the Indian team. A dream run that has yielded 932 Test runs this year topped with a maiden double century in the current third Test against Pakistan, obviously ensured that the ‘fairytale comeback’ figured prominently in Monday’s press conference.
So is the 239, his best ? “It is difficult to say but it is one among my important innings because we were 61 for four and from there we got to 600. Being the final Test of the series, it was an important innings,” Ganguly said.
Prodded on his run-spree, the former Indian skipper said: “The efforts that I put in are still the same be it being part of the team or when I was not getting the runs. It is just that I am a bit more successful now. I hope this form continues. I have batted well before also, in the year 2000, I got nine one-day hundreds and my first year in international cricket was successful.”
He was also modest about his role as a back-up bowler. “Maybe I can be a fifth seamer but I don’t think I am good enough to be the fourth seamer. If I can bowl 13 to 14 overs a day without giving too many runs and also pick up a wicket or two, I will do the job for the team,” Ganguly said. On the interaction with coach Gary Kirsten before he left for South Africa on Sunday night, Ganguly said: “It was a short interaction because we were busy with our preparation for the Test match. He also came for two days but he will be with us for two years and I am sure the interaction will be more when he comes back.”
Ganguly said that the fourth day’s morning session will be crucial to India’s fortunes. He added that the wicketkeeper’s job on this pitch is tough when asked about the 70 extras that India conceded, inclusive of 31 byes and 25 leg-byes. “Because of the surface, it is not easy for both the keepers. When a fast bowler’s deliveries start keeping low, it becomes difficult,” Ganguly said. He also praised Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan’s efforts and reiterated India’s batting strength ahead of the Australian tour.
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, who has been benched with a left ankle injury, spoke about avoiding the follow-on. “On this wicket, we want to avoid the follow on and keep trying. There are still two days left,” he said. On his injury, Malik said: “There is a plaster on my left ankle and we will know the status only after it is removed on December 15. It is disappointing to sit out but my morale is fine.”