Final call taken after
Irani drop: Ganguly
Bangalore, Oct 8 (Agencies): In his first interaction with the media since dramatically announcing his retirement on Tuesday, Sourav Ganguly said that the decision to finally call it a day was taken after he was excluded from the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy match played last month in Vadodra. “It was on my mind for two weeks…after Irani (trophy) squad was announced”, he said.
Ever a team man, the southpaw also disclosed the reason for him announcing his retirement at the end of the press conference. “The focus should be on Australia series. That is more important than individual retirements”.
India’s most successful captain also came out in strong defence of senior players in the Indian team, saying that they had always given their best for the country throughout their career.
“We have been performing ever since we have been in the team. We don`t look at current form. We had given our best on the field.” On whether the BCCI had told the senior players to ensure consistency in performance if they are to remain in the team, Ganguly said they had not been given any direction by the Board. “It could only be rumours,” he said.
Kumble inching closer
Bangalore, Oct 8 (PTI): A day after another India star Sourav Ganguly announced his retirement, skipper Anil Kumble today inched closer to calling it a day, probably within a year.
The spin wizard, the country’s most successful Test bowler with 616 wickets, announced that when he leads the Indian team in tomorrow’s Test match against Australia, it would be the last time he would play a Test at his home ground here. “Certainly, this is my last Test match in Bangalore,” he said.
Bangalore is not scheduled to host any Test matches at least till November 2009 when Sri Lanka tours India. The venues for the three Tests against the Lankans have not yet been decided which means that the earliest next Test here would not be before November-December 2009.
By November-December 2009, Kumble would be in his 39th year and is highly unlikely to be playing Test cricket. However, he may play in the two-Test series against England in November-December this year during which Bangalore will not be a venue.
Asked specifically about his retirement plans at the pre-match press conference, Kumble said he would make an announcement as and when he decides to retire from international cricket.
“I will let you know when my last series is, I am someone who will take a call. At this moment, I don’t want to say yes or no. I think let’s stop all this for now. Let the players decide when they need to go. Thank you so much,” a furious Kumble said.
Ganguly’s retirement a distraction: Ponting
Bangalore, Oct 8 (IANS): Australian captain Ricky Ponting unleashed his mind games ahead of the first Test against India starting here Thursday, saying Sourav Ganguly’s retirement will be a distraction for the home team.”It will certainly be a distraction. We have experienced it when Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist retired,” Ponting said at a pre-match press meet Thursday.
“Ganguly’s decision will take the pressure off him but it will be on other Indian players,” he said.
On a positive note, Ponting said since this will be Ganguly’s last Test series, “there will be more spectators at the stadium. This will add to the overall spectacle of the series.”
Asked about his team’s game plan, Ponting said: “we want to focus on a couple of run outs to change the course of the match when the Indian batsmen are in the middle.”
“We will try and put pressure on their running between the wickets as we have got some top inner ring fielders. This apart, we will also put pressure on their fielding when we go out to bat,” Ponting said.
The Australian captain said he was satisfied with the pitch at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
“The pitch has changed a little bit compared to what it was Tuesday afternoon. It looks very good to me.”
“Greg Chappell also feels the pitch looks like helping batsmen in the first couple of days before helping the spinners. It’s overcast and humid out here and there will be variation in the bounce as the match progresses.”
Ponting said his deputy Michael Clark, who had a stomach bug Tuesday, will take the field Thursday.
“He will be available for the first Test. He took part in the training session Wednesday and is feeling good. He will be fine for the game.”