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Ganguly gave India strength of character: Sangakkara

November 11, 2008 15:27 IST

After Sri Lanka Cricket Chairman Arjuna Ranatunga, Captain Mahela Jayawardene and Vice-Captain Kumar Sangakkara took their turns to lavish praise on retired former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, saying he brought the strength of character in the team.

"In my opinion he is the captain who gave India the strength of character to compete on the world arena and stand up to teams like Australia," Sangakkara said in his tribute.

Commending Ganguly's achievements, Sangakkara said the retirement of Ganguly, who played last Test of his career in Nagpur on Monday, was a loss to the Asian sub-continent.

"I think it is a sad day when a great player from any country retires especially Dada when he is retiring. I think it is sadder for the Asian sub-continent in general because he has been a fantastic servant of the game," he said.

Sangakkara said he grew up watching Ganguly and learned a lot even while playing against him.

"I have got to know Dada quite well over the years. I know and respect him as an individual and as a great cricket player and I have grown up watching him bat and I have had the pleasure and privilege of playing with him and against him.

"I wish him all the best in the future and I know that he leaves with the respect of all his teammates and also the opponents who have played against him over the years," Sangakkara said.

Jayawardene said Ganguly showed determination while staging a comeback into the team and added the West Bengal left-hander also "showed lot of character probably to leave in his own terms."

"Ganguly's retirement is a great loss to international cricket. I think he has shown lot of character. He brought lot of character into the Indian team not only as a player but especially as a captain also. I think when he was captaining we saw a lot of aggression from the Indian guys," Jayawardene said.

He said Indian cricketers had lot of respect for him and he too learnt from the stylish left-hander.

"I had quite a few conversations with him about the game, how it is being played and the future. I have learnt from that as well because you talk to these kinds of players and you will learn about your trade as well.

"It is a great loss. But I am sure he will be part of the cricket fraternity and will continue to be close to cricketers," the Sri Lankan captain said, adding Ganguly could be seen in the new avatar as a coach or commentator.

On the strokes from Ganguly's bat that he would remember, Jayawardene said his trademark drives and lofty shots were against any kind of spinners.

"I probably think, the lofted drives against any spinner, I think the left-arm leg spinners... he loves them. I think those sixes probably were the highlight of his career because I remember lot of spinners did not like to bowl to him at that particular time," the Sri Lankan captain said about Ganguly.

Describing Ganguly as one of the greatest captains of all time, Ranatunga had on Monday credited him for making India a world beater. "Ganguly is one of the toughest captains produced by India. His strong approach to the game was visible on many occasions when India won matches under his captaincy," Ranatunga said.

T V Sriram
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