When I played against Sourav, I hated him: Nasser Hussain
Who doesn’t remember the 2002 Natwest final at Lord’s? That England-India match was considered a turning point in Indian cricket. After India’s win in an intense match, captain Sourav Ganguly took off his jersey on the balcony of Lord’s.
Not just because of one incident. Recently, on an Indian TV channel, former England captain Nasser Hussein said that he never liked Sourav’s aggressive behavior. Ganguly was the poison in Hussein’s two eyes. Hussein has spoken openly about ‘player’ Sourav several times before. This time, he said the same thing on a Star Sports program,
“When I played against Sourav, I hated him, he used to make me wait for the toss every single time and I’ll be like, Ganguly, its 10.30, we have to toss.”
Despite disliking Sourav in his playing career, Hussain has become a friend of the current head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after leaving the game. Hussein knew the real Sourav after the friendship, “But now I work with him for the last decade on commentary, he’s such a nice, calm, he’s still late for his commentary stints, but he is a lovely bloke. And that’s the way cricketers should be. When you play with him or against him, you don’t like him and when you meet up with him later in life, they’re nice people.”
Hussein, who played 96 Tests for England, is credited him with turning the tide of Indian cricket. Before the Ganguly era, Indian cricketers were soft-spoken on and off the field. It goes without saying that there was no aggressive mentality. Changes have come since Sourav took charge in 2001. He changed the face of the team by giving opportunities to the aggressive minded cricketers.
Hussein said, “I have always said, and this is a generalisation, but I have always said about Ganguly, that he made India a tougher side. So, before Ganguly, there were very talented side, but you felt they were also a nice side – very down to earth, would meet you with morning greetings, morning Nasser, it was a very pleasant experience,” Nasser said while speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“Playing against a Ganguly side, you knew you were in a battle, you knew that Ganguly understood the passion of Indian cricket fans and it wasn’t just a game of cricket. It was more important than a game of cricket. He was feisty and he picked feisty cricketers whether it would be Harbhajan or Yuvraj or whoever – feisty in your face cricketers – that when you met him away from the game, were lovely, nice. Sourav’s like that.”