On the morning of December 12, 2003, Sourav Ganguly tapped Irfan Pathan on his shoulder and gave him the news -- he would debut, against Australia no less, and would be taking the new ball. On the cusp of another Australia tour where he hopes to cement his own comeback, Pathan speaks of his one-time captain, and the confidence Sourav instilled in him.
"It was on the eve of the Adelaide Test, captain Sourav Ganguly came to me and took me into full confidence and told me, 'Irfan you may play in tomorrow's match. Are you ready? Don't worry everything will be alright. Just think positively and back up your natural talent'.
Next day my dream came true as I was handed the India Test cap. Firstly I was expected to bowl first change. But Sourav changed his mind and gave the red cherry in my hand and gave me big pat on my shoulder and said 'Dal tu naya ball dal I have full faith in you". For a youngster like me it was big moral boost. I did not disappoint him as I got [Matthew] Hayden's wicket with the new ball.
I can tell you that staging a comeback as even more difficult then playing for the first time. When you are making debut no one knows you. But when you try to stage comeback every one knows your abilities and expectations are much more. Dada's comeback is nothing but spectacular. Hats off to him for his determination. I am so happy that I will be able to watch Sourav playing his 100th Test."