File photo of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly batting together during a Test match. (AFP Photo)
Kolkata: While looking forward to see Sachin Tendulkar light up the Test arena in South Africa, former India captain Sourav Ganguly says that Tendulkar's "massive reputation" demands that he finishes his career on a high and not as "someone who has struggled".
"He's got such a massive reputation as a player, the best I've seen during my career, and I have played against the likes of Brian Charles Lara. I've said so to him personally as well. Whenever he finishes, whatever time he wants to, he should finish being the player he is; not someone who has struggled," Ganguly said at a book launch here on Sunday.
Tendulkar will probably tour South Africa for the last time when the India team visits the Rainbow Nation later this year for a three-Test series beginning with the Boxing Day Test on December 26.
Having played 198 Tests so far, the Mumbaikar is on course to complete 200 Tests on the tour but Ganguly says he hopes the iconic batsman gets three-figure scores in South Africa to help India put up a challenge against the No. 1 Test team. "More than Tendulkar getting past 200 Test matches, I really want him to get a hundred in South Africa," Ganguly said.
Ganguly reckons India's good ODI form will not count for much during the Test series in South Africa as the longer format and green-top tracks will present different challenges. "I have seen a lot of good things in England [Champions Trophy], and in the West Indies (tri-nation series), but Test cricket obviously is different. I don't want to sound negative but it's going to be hard on green, pacy wickets. So let's hope Dhoni again pulls something out of the hat."
MS Dhoni has surpassed Ganguly as India's most successful captain, but Ganguly refused to fall into the trap of comparisons. "It's great to see such a fantastic leader; he just gets better and better. Comparisons don't irritate me. It's bound to happen but then I don't take too much interest in them because my time as a player is done. It's his time now, and he will be done in four years or so and someone else will come."