NAGPUR, India (Reuters) - Saurav Ganguly signed off from test cricket in style on Monday by captaining a victorious India side in the latter stages of his farewell match.
Ganguly, 36, who is the second person only to make a century in his first test and a duck in his last, was asked by new captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to lead the team towards the end of their 172-run win over Australia.
India took the series 2-0 to clinch their first win over the world number one side since they were captained by Ganguly in 2001.
“I was already switched off, so he (Dhoni) woke me up,” Ganguly joked. “I didn’t know what was happening for the first six-seven balls but luckily they were nine down. Then after three overs, I told him that it is his job and not mine.
“It has been a fantastic journey, if anybody would have told me when I started that I would go through all this I would not have believed him.
“But God has been really kind that I have gone through this for 13 years and finished off on a win for Indian cricket.
“It has been satisfying. To get a hundred in my first test as a player, to captain in nearly 50 test matches, 49 to be precise, and building a team and building players which has taken Indian cricket team forward.”
Ganguly scored 7,212 runs in 113 tests with 16 hundreds at an average of 42.17 and 11,363 runs in 311 one-day internationals with 22 centuries.
He said Dhoni was the right man to take India forward after India handed Australia their first series defeat since the 2005 Ashes series in England.
Dhoni led in both the tests which India won after Anil Kumble missed the second match at Mohali due to injury and retired after the third.
“He has done fantastically well and I know he has the abilities to take Indian cricket forward,” Ganguly said.
“Captaincy is a spark and it is not just preparation. It is not that you have got to be a good player and do a lot of homework.
“It is spark on the field which MS has. He has got that extra bit of luck which you require in captaincy.”