The 2004 Indian tour of Pakistan was historic for a lot of reasons. It was a tour that was built on political diplomacy to ease out tensions between the arch-rivals. Who can forget the advice that the then Prime Minister of India Bharat Ratna Late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave to captain Sourav Ganguly as he was leaving with the team for the tour? Vajpayee said to Ganguly, ‘Match bhi jeetna aur dil bhi”, which loosely translates to ‘Win games of cricket as well as people’s hearts’
Ganguly and his Team India did exactly that. Not only did Team India enthrall the Pakistan fans with their enthralling- in case of Virender Sehwag; swashbuckling- brand of cricket but Ganguly’s men also proceeded to script history by becoming the first Indian side to win both Test and ODI series on Pakistan soil after 50 years.
In an exclusive chat with Boria Majumdar on Indian Today, former captain and the current President of the BCCI, Sourav Ganguly went down memory lane and reminisced about the historic tour of 2004. Ganguly opened up about how stringent the security was throughout the 45 days of that tour and how he once gave it a slip one night to enjoy the street food of Pakistan.
“It was madness (the security). I went out to have food and was caught because I didn’t inform the security. And our dear friend Rajdeep (Sardesai) he caught me and said the Indian captain is having kebabs on the food street and then the entire dinner finished after that. I had a cap on and I was quietly having dinner and I hope Rajdeep will see this interview and I hope he’s keeping well.” Ganguly told India Today
When Sourav Ganguly got “fed-up” by the security measures
Touring a terror-ravaged nation like Pakistan can be tough for any touring side because of the intense security. Ganguly reminisced about his first day on the tour when he came out of his room and two AK-47-clad security personnel and how he actually got so fed-up that he requested the local manager to remove security from in front of the room.
“From that point of view (security measures), I actually got fed-up of the security people. I came out of the hotel room on the first day and saw, they used to call them tigers, and they had 2 people with AK-47s, one looking towards the door and one looking on the other side. So I had to go to the local manager and told him that we are here for 45 days, you please remove security from in front of the room, please put it in the lobby. Because we can’t wake up every morning and see somebody standing there with an AK-47. If he misfires (laughs) we don’t have to go till the lobby.
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