Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has taken a dig at Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan, saying the Bollywood superstar did not give him the same freedom he gave Gautam Gambhir as captain of the Indian Premier League franchise.
Ganguly led KKR during the first season of IPL in 2008 and later again in 2009 but did not get the kind of success he was associated with when he led the Indian national team.
The 48-year-old, who is now the Board of Control for Cricket in India president, explained that the real problem with KKR in the opening season was coach John Buchanan’s insistence on having multiple captains in the team and that he had requested Khan to give him the freedom to run the team his way.
“I was seeing an interview where Gautam Gambhir said Shah Rukh Khan had told him in the fourth year ‘This is your team, I will not interfere.’ That’s what I told him in the first year. ‘Leave it to me’. It didn’t happen,” Ganguly is quoted as saying in an interview with Gautam Bhatacharjee on his YouTube channel.
“The best franchises have been the one which have left decision making to the players,” he said, pointing out to MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings and Rohit Sharma at Mumbai Indians, for instance.
Ganguly and Buchanan were clearly not on the same page by the end of the year and the former explained how things panned out.
“The problems (with Buchanan) started towards the end of the first season. The problem was not me, the problem was the system of [not having one captain]. We had Brendon Mccullum, we had x, we had a bowling captain, and I don’t know captain for what else. Thought process was the issue there. The coach believed we needed four captains. So it was just a difference of opinion, he thought, ‘Let me have 4 captains, then I can run it my way’,” he added.
Ganguly, who played 113 Tests and 311 ODIs for India, also spoke about the different challenges he faced during his career and how he had the confidence in his ability to bounce back every time he was dropped from the team.
However, he admitted that the phase in 2007 when he was suddenly removed from captaincy was the worst for him.
“That was wrong. But then all things in life are not right. That was very difficult. Because I was captain for 5-6 years. I was looking to captain for another world cup in 2007 and I had no reason not to. My record was also good.
“Then once again it was not in my control. It was a complete bluff, too naive to understand. You appoint somebody for one series and then you don’t get back to that person. He (Dravid) was not appointed full time. He was appointed for Sri Lanka series. I had won a Test series also in Zimababwe so there was no reason for me being dropped from the Test matches also,” he said, adding that it was not just Chappell’s doing but everyone, including the selectors, who were involved in the whole process.
Former India opener Aakash Chopra, who was at KKR in the first season of the IPL in 2008, had spoken about the coach-captain relationship recently.
“In the first year of IPL, there was John Buchanan as coach and his fellow Australian Ricky Ponting was also there. Sourav Ganguly was the captain. I have seen this from close quarters – their relationship was alright to begin with, but it worsened with time,” said Chopra in a video on his channel.
“Buchanan’s way of working was different, and Sourav had a different temperament. In the end, he also wanted to remove Ganguly from captaincy, which actually happened the following season [New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum was named captain in 2009], because in the first season, the team came sixth, and then they came eighth when Sourav was not the captain.”