Ahead of India’s five-match Test series against England, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly recalled his historic celebrations at Lord’s balcony after beating England in the Natwest series final in 2002. Speaking to Gaurav Kapoor in an episode of web-series Breakfast with Champions, the 46-year old said that VVS Laxman tried to stop him from removing his shirt. “I was standing on the right side. VVS Laxman was on my left and Harbhajan Singh was behind my back. So, as I was removing my T-shirt, VVS tried to tell me, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it!’ After I removed my shirt, Bhajji asked, ‘What do I do now?’ And I said, ‘Tu bhi khol de!’,” Ganguly said.
The former left-handed batsman further added that the idea came to him just after India chased down the massive total of 325. “The idea came to my mind just at the moment. I remembered how Andrew Flintoff took off his shirt at Wankhede to celebrate a 3-3 series draw before, and I just thought why not do the same at Lord’s,” he said.
He further added that he feels a bit embarrassed about the incident now. “But I am also embarrassed about the incident. My daughter once asked, ‘Why did you do that? Is it necessary to do that in cricket?’ And I had to tell her that ‘No, I did it once by mistake’. Somethings things happen in life in which you do not have any control,” he said.
Ganguly further went on to talk about former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and said he instantly recognised his talent. “MS Dhoni came in 2004. He batted at No. 7. We went to Vizag against Pakistan. In the meeting, I was thinking how to make him a player. Because I recognised he was really strong. I told him, ‘MS, go and bat at No. 3.’ And he asked, ‘And you?’ And I told him, ‘I will bat at No. 4, you go above me’.” He went ahead and scored 170 runs in that match,” he said.
“I feel happy seeing MS. Because there are not too many cricketers from the East. And two captains of India have emerged from that part of the country – I played 450 matches, Dhoni played 500. So, I feel happy seeing him today,” he added.
The former batsman further went on to praise the current Indian skipper Virat Kohli, and said that India expects a lot from the 29-year old. “When Virat Kohli plays, I feel you have to see him bat, irrespective of where you are. When you see him, it looks like he wants his players to form the best team. He is focusing on fitness, he has brought yo-yo test. People can criticise but there is a reason for this. The sports has become fitness-oriented,” he said.
“I have a lot of expectations from Virat. I hope he can win the Test series against England. The country has faith in him,” he added.
The first Test between India and England will begin at Edgbaston from August 1.