Sourav Ganguly: 2020-21 Australia Tour a Big Challenge for the Boys

Sourav Ganguly

The President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sourav Ganguly feels that the Indian team will face a tougher challenge when they go to play the Australian team in their home soil in the 2020-21 summer seasons. Last year, India had a remarkable series in Australia and was able to beat the hosts 2 to 1. This was the first-ever Test series that India had won on Australian soil. India can be proud of that achievement.

Ganguly cautions that India cannot expect the forthcoming tour at the end of 2020 to be in a similar vein. The main reason is being that Australia is now a strong Test playing nation with the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith returning to the Australian fold after serving a ban. The 2020-21 seasons will see India play four-Test match series and it is going to be tough series.

The World Test Championship cycle will also end in 2021 and after that India will be touring England in 2021 and also playing in the South African soil in 2021-22. These are all big tours for the Indian team and they need to put up a better outing to show to the world that they are world-beaters. Gangly feels that tour to Australia will be the toughest among the three. He feels that India could have it easy in South Africa, but England could be a testing opposition.

The challenge that India will face in Australia is going to be huge. But, the team has the kind of players that can beat the Aussies in their home soil once again. Ganguly said that the full strength Australian team is very strong. India too has some of the best players and they need to have belief in themselves that they can take down any opposition on any day. They need to play everything right to beat the Aussies in their backyard.

Ganguly recalled his cricketing career as a captain. He said that he aimed to compete with the best when he took over the Indian captaincy in 2003. He remembers that Indians were outstanding in Australia in 2003. The current Indian team has a very good captain in Virat Kohli and they also have a very good set of fast bowlers and spinners. They have champion batsman Virat in the side who could turn the game on its head.

Ganguly said that he would be discussing with the head coach Ravi Shastri and the Indian captain Virat as well as other players about the causes for suffering defeats in the crunch matches of the world tournaments. India has performed well in the world tournaments but was not able to finish on the winning side under Kohli. They were defeated by Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy and were eliminated in the semi-finals of the 2016 T20 World Cup and the 2019 One Day International World Cup.

Ganguly said that the team is a solid one, but they have to get past the semis and play in the World Cup finals. They are playing very well in the initial stages and once they reach the knockout stage they falter at the last moment. There should be some way of getting out of this hurdle and Ganguly wants to speak to the team members and the management to know whether it is a mental block or something else.

The BCCI President has high regard for Kohli and his captaincy skills. He does not want to compare his captaincy with the past Indian captains. It is not a good idea to compare captains of certain eras as the teams and their strengths are different. Ganguly says Kohli is a very strong character on the cricket field. A lot is resting on his shoulders and he has been helping the Indian cricket hold its head high.

Ganguly said that he does not know whether he will be continuing as the BCCI President when India goes to Australia during the 2020-21 seasons. He is still looking forward to Virat and his boys beating a full-fledged Australian team on their home soil. India will be playing the Test series in Australia after the T20 World Cup.