Is there any chance that you may rethink on retirement?
I have had my time. There is time for everyone to leave. I am happy with the way things have gone. I had a good series. We have beaten the best team in the world. There’s no question of reconsideration. The way this match finished, probably it was one of the best finishes I have seen in terms of a team performance. I am ready to sacrifice 10-12 test matches for this performance.
But you will still be involved in cricket someway? Commentary?
I have to play two years of IPL. I may play a match or two for Bengal. But not straightaway because I need some time off. I have been on the road for 13 years. There are things to do at home as well. Commentary means being on the road again, which I don’t think I am ready for yet.
What do you think was your greatest quality?
Toughness. It was more than what many people thought I had. I have had questions asked right through my career. I am happy that I have overcome all of them and I am here today because of my ability and toughness.
Which is your most memorable innings?
The century in my first Test at Lord’s, my 100 against Australia in Brisbane and the 100 in Chandigarh. It was my last series and it was important to get to runs. There were lots of knocks, ODI hundreds, that were special. Difficult to pick one. But obviously your first Test hundred on debut is always the high point.
How do you rate MS Dhoni as captain?
He has got the ability to take Indian cricket forward. Captaincy is spark. It’s not just preparation and not just being a good player and doing the homework. You must have spark on the field and I think MS has that. He has got that extra bit of luck, which you require in captaincy. He will be tested when India goes overseas. I am sure, if the boys around play up to potential, he will live up to it because I have always believed that a captain is as good as his team.
What has been the most satisfying moment in the cricketing journey?
It’s been satisfying. To get a 100 in my first Test, captain Indian in 49 Tests, building a team and players which has helped take Indian cricket forward. If anybody had told me that I would go through all this, I wouldn’t have believed it. But God has been kind to me and I have been able to finish off with a win.
What is his legacy?
I have always believed a captain is as good as his team. It’s the raising of Indian cricket’s image in the world. The phase from 2000 to 2005 and even now, the Indian Cricket image has gone up. We were seen as a soft touring side. It has changed considerably. I think we are a formidable side home and away.
Which do you consider your best series?
My best series so far will be the 2001 and 2003-04 series against Australia in Australia. We have won at other places as well, in Pakistan, the West Indies and England, but those two series will be my best.
How do you analyse your captaincy?
I just did what I believed was right. I am a captain who would never believe a lot on the drawing board. And I see a lot of that in MSD. He doesn’t believe in team meetings and all. He does what he sees on the field. He probably has a better view from behind the stumps. I was lucky to have Sachin, Rahul, Laxman, Sehwag and Harbhajan probably playing their best cricket at that stage between 2000 and 2005. That definitely helped. And you have seen the results overseas. We have always been a strong team home. I will always cherish the overseas result.
You had a duck in your last game? Was it not a dramatic end?
I was not too disappointed with the first-ball duck but was disappointed with the 85 I got. I was so close to getting a hundred. I don’t know whether one duck made my career dramatic. It was dramatic in any case.
What is the real Sourav like?
I am two different personalities on and off the field. And a lot of time in judging me as a person, people have picked up what they have seen on the field, which is not the right Sourav Ganguly. I am very quiet and a soft-spoken person. Hopefully I will remain that in the future.
6 months ago