Sachin wanted to pack me off from West indies tour: Ganguly

Sachin Tendulkar almost sent an errant Sourav Ganguly home midway from the Caribbean tour of 1997 for not doing what he had been told to to do by the now retired legendary batsman. After the humiliating defeat in the 3rd Test match against West Indies, Ganguly was told to go for a morning run, which he didn’t; Ganguly reveals in his new book.

The incident happened immediately after the third Test in Barbados which India lost narrowly by 38 runs. Set to chase 120 on a wearing track with uneven bounce, the visitors collapsed for a paltry 81. The Windies trio of Ian Bishop, Curtley Ambrose and Franklyn Rose ripped through the Indian batting line-up.

Ganguly begins the anecdote with an admission: "My fault, actually." Then he goes on write, "Sachin was utterly dejected and very angry with us. To get him to think positive and stop beating himself and us up so much, I asked him to tell me what to do. "Go for a run tomorrow morning," he said.

“It’s a story to tell now, but when he found out that I had missed the morning run the next day, his face was almost purple with anger. He told me, in language that cannot be printed, that he was going to send me home and I should sort myself out because my career could be ending. The thought of being sent home was enough to light a fire under my shoes. I wouldn’t have broken any records, never have, never will, but from the next morning, I was up and running.”

This comes from the new book Sachin Tendulkar: The man cricket loved back, which is Ganguly’s recollection of his former opening partner. 41 reminiscences and essays on the greatest star to ever grace the game complete the anthology, which has been put together by an online website.

As a captain, Tendulkar was seen as a failure. Under his captaincy, India won four Tests and lost nine. But Ganguly provides a justification of sorts for the poor record even as he takes an indirect dig at the current skipper MS Dhoni.

"Sachin was a better captain than his results show and better than people make him out to be. He led on some very tough tours - South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia - and it must be said he didn't lose eight in a row. This when he didn't have a very good team around him. The older players were fading and the newcomers were too raw," he explains.

Every article in the book lauds the Mumbai batting maestro. But when high praise comes from Allan Donald, who took the wicket of Tendulkar 10 times in the five Tests and five ODIs where both figured, it perhaps means a little more.

In the article headlined, The man who made you plan for weeks, the South Africa speedster writes, "You didn't work Tendulkar out in days. You had to plan for him weeks in advance. Otherwise, he could frustrate bowlers. When Hansie Cronje was the captain, our thinking was that the first 20 balls we had to make Tendulkar play every single one, even if we leaked runs. We also decided that we were not going to test him with the short ball early on: it was an easy way for him to get himself into his innings. We wanted to make him sweat as much as we could.

He goes on to say, "When a great batsman is in form, that is when you get really challenged as a fast bowler. Tendulkar turned that bowler's ego to his advantage. We saw it dozens of times, when he counterpunched really well. He had that ability, when the bowler was at his best and in fantastic rhythm and bowling at his optimum pace, to come in and change the state of the game, to hit you off your line, get you out of the attack. He was careful, but if you offered him half a chance he would make you pay. With Tendulkar you were always working with fine, fine margins."

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