|Player:||SC Ganguly, GS Chappell, SR Tendulkar, RS Dravid, VVS Laxman, V Sehwag|
DateLine: 20th January 2007
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Friday dismissed his chances of returning as skipper, saying his target was only to do well at the World Cup if selected. "No, I am not in the race (for captain)," Ganguly, 34, said in an television interview ahead of the four-match one-day series against the West Indies starting in Nagpur on Sunday. It will be the left-hander's first one-dayer in 16 months after he staged a comeback in the recent Test series in South Africa by emerging India's leading scorer with 214 runs in three matches. Ganguly, India's most successful Test captain with 21 wins, lost the job after the tour of Zimbabwe in September 2005, following a public spat with coach Greg Chappell, the former Australian captain. Ganguly had not been considered for one-day cricket since then despite being one of only five batsmen in the world to score more than 10,000 runs. But India's poor run in recent months where they lost 13 of their last 17 one-dayers forced the selectors to recall Ganguly just three months ahead of the World Cup in the Caribbean. "It feels nice when you play for your country," said Ganguly. "And it is something very special when you make a comeback after such a long time. I was disappointed when I got dropped because I knew I was good enough to play. I was recalled because the team was not performing. If I play well now, I am confident I will be in the team for the World Cup." The captaincy issue cropped up after Sachin Tendulkar was made vice-captain to Rahul Dravid, who has been appointed skipper till the World Cup. Tendulkar's elevation after the South African tour came after Test vice-captain Venkatsai Laxman and one-day deputy Virender Sehwag were dropped for the West Indies one-dayers due to poor form. Ganguly said he did not hold any grudge against Chappell. Asked if he had become friends with the coach again, Ganguly replied: "Yes. It happens in life. You fight and then become friends. I don't want to talk about things in the past." Ganguly, who led India into the World Cup final in 2003 in South Africa, said India stood a good chance again despite the recent setbacks, including a 4-0 drubbing in South Africa. "I am a firm believer that doing well in the World Cup has nothing to do with past performances," he said. "It's all about what you do in the five or six weeks of the tournament." The World Cup will be played in the Caribbean from March 13 to April 28.