Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly recently in an event said that he had initially rejected MS Dhoni’s offer to lead the team in the final Test of his career. In his upcoming autobiography “A Century Is Not Enough”, he wrote, “As the match came to a close, Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a surprise gesture asked me to lead. I had rejected his offer earlier in the day, but could not refuse a second time.”
Ganguly’s last Test match, which was also the last match of his international career, came in 2008 against Australia in Nagpur that India won by 172 runs. Ganguly handled the bowling changes and field setting for a brief period.
Describing the day, Sourav wrote, “Ironically, my captaincy career had begun exactly eight years ago on this very day. I handled the bowling changes and field placements while the last Australian wicket batted. But I must admit, at that stage, I found it difficult to focus. So after three overs I handed it back to Dhoni saying, it is your job, MS. We both smiled.”
Ganguly said that he regretted missing out on a century in that match. He was dismissed on 85 and then for a duck in his second, and final, innings. He had built a 41-run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 109 in the first innings and then shared 119-run partnership with Dhoni.
The southpaw described, “The man the Indian selectors had kept on an indefinite trial did stand up to the Australian attack and walked away with a solid 85. I missed the coveted three-figure mark only by 15 runs but my friend Sach [Tendulkar] lent an additional flavor to the party by getting a rock-solid hundred.”
Ganguly concluded, “What made the occasion happier was that we won the Test. I ended my final innings in Test cricket in a first-ball duck. Looking back I still feel it was a loose shot as I tried to play Jason Krejza against the turn. The bat had closed early and Krejza easily accepted a low return catch. I have no regrets. It was a bad shot and I paid the price. But I still regret missing the hundred. It was mine for the taking.”