Test cricket was the ultimate cricket format and I think it still is the ultimate, said former India skipper and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly after New Zealand's dramatic sixth-day win in the World Test Championship (WTC) final in Southampton.
The Kane Williamson-led side chased down the fourth-innings target of 139 to lift the Mace at Hampshire Bowl on Wednesday. A 96-run third-wicket partnership between skipper Williamson (52 not out) and Ross Taylor (47 not out) steered New Zealand past the finish line.
Ganguly, one of the most successful Indian captains, underlined the importance of Test cricket and said that the format is the "biggest platform" one can get.
“When we started playing cricket in our childhood, Test cricket was the ultimate cricket format and I think it still is the ultimate format. And that is why it is called Test cricket. I feel if a player wants to be successful and leave his/ her mark on the game, then Test cricket is the biggest platform one can get.
"People will remember those players forever, who play well and make runs in Test matches. If you see all the biggest names in cricket – all the greats – in the past 40-50 years; they’ve all had successful Test records," Ganguly told Star Sports.
The left-handed batsman also recalled his debut at Lord's and labelled it as a "happy hunting" ground for him. He was the first Indian player to hit a hundred on Test debut at the iconic venue.
“Not many get to play their first Test at Lords and I remember fielding at point – a packed stadium at the Lords. And it has always been a happy hunting ground for me – every time I have gone back since my debut.
On his ton on Test debut, Ganguly said: "I was in awe to walk down the long room on the first day and luckily we fielded. Otherwise, as a batsman, I was supposed to bat at No.3. I got a 100 on a Saturday, which is probably the best day for Test cricket, with every seat being full."
Ganguly also recalled his cricketing journey -- from getting a hundred at Lord's to becoming the president of the Indian board.
"The entire journey, making a debut in 1996, getting a 100 at Lords. Then in few years, getting to captain India, getting to build a team – probably people rated as good as anybody in the world with the successes.
"Then giving the captaincy off to somebody and still being a part of the journey of winning matches and seeing the national team develop, becoming a force all around the world – which started under your captaincy. And then being in an administrative role, trying to change the game."
"I feel very fortunate that during my tenure as a president, India won in Australia, 2-1, in a remarkable series. It has been a fantastic journey and as a sportsman, as a cricketer, you don’t expect anything better than this," said Ganguly.