Sachin Tendulkar was a veteran when Sourav Ganguly made his debut, against England, in 1996. Since then, their fortunes have been closely intertwined; Sachin and Sourav have over the years shared the most productive partnership in one-day cricket history. On the occasion of Ganguly's 100th Test, Sachin speaks of how significant the moment is, and of his long-time partner's contribution to Indian cricket.
"I know Sourav for many years. I remember watching him for the first time when we were playing for the Under-15 age group. I was playing for West Zone and he was representing East Zone. We had also toured UK with Kailash Gattani's Star team. He entered the Indian dressing room in 1992. Unfortunately he was dropped from the side. In 1996, he and Rahul Dravid were picked to play the first Test at the Lord's. Both of them batted beautifully in their debut match. Sourav went on to register his first century and all of us were so happy for him. After that it has been a long journey to play together for India. When I took the decision about not leading the Indian team, I had suggested Sourav's name to succeed me as Indian team captain. I always thought that he had the ability to lead the team. He is a thinking cricketer who loves challenges. He is always ready to take a few risks and loves to lead the team aggressively.
I don't agree to criticism levelled against Sourav that he ignored his batting while he was leading the Indian team. He used to work hard on his batting skills. As we all know that staging a successful comeback is never easy. Sourav's comeback has been spectacular. He has come back stronger and hungrier for runs. I am so happy that in shorter version of the game our opening partnership has been fantastic. Much of the time it has so happened that when he is not getting things going I would go up to him and chat with him in slang Bengali. That would certainly make him laugh and release the tension. Unfortunately he hasn't learnt Marathi yet.
Playing 100 Test matches shows consistency in your performance, determination and will to succeed. For the Indian team playing the Boxing Day Test has got one more angle attached to it as Sourav will be playing his 100th Test. I would like to wish him success. He had scored a century in his first Test and I hope that he will repeat that in his 100th Test too."