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Saturday, September 19, 2020

‘Drinks too much Coke’: How Sourav Ganguly’s elevation to vice-captaincy had been blocked

Sourav Ganguly drank 'too much coke' for him to be India vice-captain, the then-coach had said, says former East Zone selector Ashok Malhotra. Malhotra also says the then-BCCI President, in an unprecedented step, had walked into a selection meeting and blocked Ganguly's elevation.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: July 24, 2020 8:12:01 am
Ganguly Sourav Ganguly was elevated to India captaincy within four years of his ‘second coming’ in international cricket in 1996. (File Photo/BCCI)

Sourav Ganguly, one of the greatest captains in Indian cricket, faced some unprecedented challenges in being elevated to seniority in his early days, said former cricketer and national selector Ashok Malhotra.

Malhotra, who was the East Zone selector at the time when Ganguly was making rapid strides in international cricket in the 1990s, said during an interaction with Sportskeeda on Facebook Live: “When we picked him (as vice-captain), the coach had some things to say – drinks too much coke, takes singles but not twos etc.”

“I said having a Thumbs Up does not disqualify him as a vice-captain. And then we had quite a big discussion, 3-2 was voted in favour of Sourav as vice-captain. But then, I won’t name the president, but he walked into the selection, which has never ever happened in the history of the BCCI. And he and the chairman told us, ‘Gentlemen, let’s do some rethinking.’” he added.

Ganguly would eventually be named captain of the side in 2000, before going on to create a legacy with the Indian team. On one tour during Ganguly’s captaincy when John Wright had been away, Malhotra had served as interim coach.

READ | Tendulkar was too involved in his performances, Ganguly used to lead quietly: Madan Lal

Malhotra said he “worked overtime” to ensure that Ganguly would be elevated to captaincy when Sachin Tendulkar resigned from the role after a second stint at leadership.

“None of us knew Sourav Ganguly would become the captain, because Sachin was the captain then. But once he resigned, we had to convince everyone to make him captain, because Anil Kumble and Ajay Jadeja were in line. I had to work overtime,” Malhotra said.

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