Sourav Ganguly, while in conversation with Mayank Agarwal on bcci.tv, has revealed why he famously turned up late for the toss during Australia’s tour of India in 2001.
Steve Waugh, the then Australia captain, had claimed in his autobiography ‘Out of My Comfort Zone‘ that Ganguly turned up late for the toss as many as seven times during their famous 2001 tour.
“It was an accident actually,” Ganguly said on BCCI’s Open Nets With Mayank. “In the first Test match, I left my blazer back in the dressing room. They were such a good side and I was very nervous in that series because it was my first big series as captain, and up against a fantastic cricket team. In the last 25-30 years, I’ve not seen a cricket team as good as Australia in that generation.”
India surrendered meekly in the first Test before staging a remarkable turnaround, outplaying Australia in the two matches that followed —VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid leading the charge in Kolkata and Harbhajan Singh dismantling the opposition batting line-up in Chennai — to complete one of their finest Test series wins.
Did you know that @harbhajan_singh took 29(!!) more wickets than any other Indian bowler in India’s epic 2-1 series victory over Australia in 2001?
Harbhajan finished the series with 32 wickets, 29 more than Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan who each took three. pic.twitter.com/IYTxaxNkYz
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 22, 2020
And what started off as a genuine mistake turned out to be tactic that Ganguly used to unsettle the Australians, even before the match started.
“Initially it was that I forgot my blazer in the first Test,” he said. “But then I realised that he reacted to it. He reacted, then he was not taking it very seriously and it was working on them. Working on the team — the way they played, the way they went about with their job and they were a bit grumpy with all that. And it worked for us, we won the series 2-1.
“But having said that, Steve Waugh is a dear friend, he has always been a friend and I got tremendous respect for him as a cricketer. And it was all in good humour.”