Over the phone, Saurav Ganguly's voice sounds just as confident as it has always been. You wouldn't associate the tone of self-assurance with a man who's unsure of his future as captain of the Indian cricket team. He sounds quite unaffected by the growing belief that his days as India cricketer are drawing to a close.
"I will remain mentally strong," he says, before steering the conversation to what appears like thinner ice—the growing band of former cricketers turned analysts on various TV channels.
Team India knows that the icc match referee's decision can be overturned by the appeals commissioner—as when Tim Castle ruled against Clive Lloyd's decision to suspend Ganguly for two matches after the BCCI Platinum Jubilee match against Pakistan in Calcutta in November last—but it has been collectively scratching heads over the volley of criticism it faces every time it has lost to Pakistan.
Ganguly has always known that captaining the Indian team is a tough job, not just for cricketing reasons but also because of the stress it brings along. Yet, from the time he was branded a quota candidate and then proved his class, Ganguly has found ways to make his critics eat their words. With the bat—or the ball, occasionally—and with his brand of captaincy.
Still, a man who will be 33 in a few weeks is well aware that his drought of runs will have to end sooner than later for the hate campaign against him to fade away. No Indian captain has been under the public scanner as much as Ganguly and he has found ways to cope with the immense stress that the tough job brings along in modern times.
G. Rajaraman spoke with Saurav Ganguly late on the night of April 13 when he was driving home in Calcutta.
What do you have to say about the suspension?
I really don't want to make a statement about the suspension or the appeal to revoke it. All I can say is that I will wait for the right things to happen.
Will the BCCI back you?
The board has a history of backing players. It supported Sachin Tendulkar through a crisis. It stood by me when I faced a similar situation after the BCCI Platinum Jubilee match against Pakistan in Calcutta. It has been supportive of Harbhajan Singh. I am sure it will back me now as well.
Has your batting form affected your captaincy?
I would not say that. As for my form and the lack of runs, all I can say is that I try to be among the runs each time I bat for India and I will continue to do that.
Some have already written your cricketing obituary...
Each time people have written me off, I have come back. I have always found strength from within, from my teammates, from the Board and from my family. I will be back. I have no doubt about that.
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