Ganguly credits improved fitness for Team India’s success, reveals why Sachin never took first strike as opener

The Board of Cricket Control in India’s (BCCI) chief and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly feels Team India’s improved fitness standard has given Indian cricket a pace attack that’s perhaps the best in the world right now. 

In a chat with cricketer Mayank Aggarwal on Twitter, Ganguly said improved fitness and a change of mindset have been big factors in India producing world class fast bowlers. “You know, the culture has changed in India that we can be good fast bowlers," said Ganguly. 

"Fitness regimes, fitness standards not only among fast bowlers but also among the batters, that has changed enormously… That has made everyone understand and believe that we are fit, we are strong and we can also bowl fast like the others did." Ganguly added. 

The former skipper said that unlike the West Indies bowlers who are naturally strong, Indian players had to work really hard to build their strength. 

Speaking about whether he would have reinvented his game for T20 cricket, Ganguly said, "T20 is very important. I would have changed my  game. I would have loved to play T20 although I did play it for the first years of the IPL. It’s a license to keep swinging and keep hitting so I think I would have enjoyed T20.” 

And if you ever wondered why Sourav Ganguly always took the strike when he and Sachin Tendulkar opened the innings, Ganguly’s answer will have you in splits. 

Photo Courtesy: Sourav Ganguly/Instagram
Photo Courtesy: Sourav Ganguly/Instagram

The former captain revealed what his opening partner always said when he asked him to take the  strike first.

"I use to tell him, 'yaar sometimes you also face the first ball'. He had two answers to it, one – he believed that if his form was good, he should continue and remain at the non-striker's end and then if his form wasn't good, he said I (Sachin) should remain at the non-striker's end because it takes the pressure off. So, he had an answer for both – good form and bad form. Until and unless someone walked past him and went and stood at the non-striker's end and he was already on TV and he would be forced to take the strike. That has happened one or two times. I have just walked past him and stood at the non-striker's end," said Ganguly. 

Photo Courtesy: Sourav Ganguly/Instagram
Photo Courtesy: Sourav Ganguly/Instagram

Remembering the unforgettable NatWest Trophy victory at Lord's, the former Indian skipper said, "It was a great moment. We all got carried away but that’s what sport is, isn’t it? When you win, you celebrate and when you win a game like that, you celebrate even more. That was one of the great cricket matches I have been part of.”