Dropping VVS Laxman from India ODI squad maybe was a mistake, admits Sourav Ganguly

first_imgVVS Laxman’s 281 led India to its greatest Test victory 17 years ago but it also saved the captaincy career of Sourav Ganguly, as admitted by the legendary cricketer himself.Shaken by the match-fixing scandal, Indian cricket was going through a turbulent time at the start of the 21st century when Ganguly took charge of the team.Trailing 0-1 after their loss in Mumbai, India were looking down the barrel and were asked to follow-on in the Kolkata Test but Laxman’s 281 and Rahul Dravid’s 180 in a 376-run fifth wicket partnership set the tone for an epic 171-run win.The win also halted the Steve Waugh-led side’s record 16 consecutive victories, giving a new direction to the Ganguly-led Team India.So when the Hyderabadi batsman chose to write his autobiography, ‘281 and Beyond’, the title of the book was a no-brainer.But Ganguly was a tad disappointed with the title, he said in a lighter vein.”I also texted him a month back but he didn’t reply,” Ganguly said at the Kolkata leg of the book launch.”I told him it was not the apt title… It should have been ‘281 and beyond and that saved Sourav Ganguly’s career’,” the former India captain said.”I strongly opposed the title because if he had not scored 281, we would have lost the Test and I would not have been captain again,” a modest Ganguly said.Despite having a successful career in Tests, Laxman’s limited overs career failed to take off as he played only 86 ODIs, and was dropped from the squad ahead of the 2003 ICC World Cup in South Africa.advertisementReflecting on the omission, Ganguly said “maybe it was a mistake”.”Laxman was a player who could have done well in all formats. In hindsight, maybe it was a mistake. As a captain, you take decisions and things happen which may not be right or wrong,” Ganguly said.Describing this as the darkest phase of his career, Laxman said he had actually contemplated quitting when he went for a vacation with his friends in the USA.”But then I realised, that I did not become a cricketer to play the World Cup but it was for the sport. I was being childish.”I told myself ‘I was among the lucky few who got this opportunity and I should not let it go’,” Laxman recalled.(With PTI inputs)last_img

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