‘I cannot win cricket games alone’

‘I would just be kind to all my players and if there were ever mistakes, I would find a way to hide it.’

Sourav Ganguly has given his fans innumerous heart stopping moments during his playing days. But every legend starts somewhere and is a fan boy himself at times.

In a candid interview at the Champions Sports-Cast podcast hosted by DreamSetGo, Dada opened up on his icons, his early days and on leading the Indian side.

‘For me, playing sports was a way out and to get away from my mom who always wanted me to study. I actually started playing football and realised that I had tremendous ball sense, probably attributing it to being from Kolkata,’ Dada remembered.

‘I started playing cricket because of my brother and would play in a 7-a-side cricket game in our backyard. It was because of these tennis ball matches, that I was able to absorb the game sense, and touch from a very young age.’

‘I first met Sachin when he was 14 years old at the MRF Pace Academy and over time we would go on to spend 6-7 months in a year together and developed a close friendship and trust over time,’ Dada recalled.

‘As a cricketer, he was a far superior cricketer than me, and that is something I strongly believe in — to raise your game, you must partner with those better than you and we continue to be very close friends,’ Ganguly said.

‘For me leadership is about managing people because everyone’s different. At the end of the day, I cannot win cricket games alone. I need the 10 players next to me to drive towards that goal.’

‘I always looked to manage different personalities and try to ensure they played on the field where it mattered. I would just be kind to all my players and if there were ever mistakes, I would find a way to hide it. And just got them to have enough trust in me over time so that they gave the best for the team.’

‘In 1983, when India won the World Cup, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were the people I hoped to emulate as it was a big turning moment in our lives and the country. Apart from these two, Allan Border was an idol of mine that I always hoped to meet and I was lucky to meet all 3 of them.’

Hailing from Kolkata, Ganguly’s love for football isn’t a surprise. And the fanboy in Ganguly was obvious as he talked about the legendary Diego Armando Maradona.

A lifelong fan of the iconic footballer, Dada said, ‘I remember I first met him at an interview he was doing with the media and I’m not exaggerating one word when I say it was a 20-minute interview and through it all, he was juggling a ball with his left leg and didn’t drop it once.’

‘I’ve seen Messi, Ronaldo — even Pele play — but Maradona was special, he was blessed by the Almighty.’

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