New Delhi: Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly believes the experience of the Australia tour last winter will have matured and helped the likes of Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay and others for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka will host India to play three Tests from August 12 to September 1. While the first match will be held at Galle, the last two will be played in Colombo.
"India will do well in the series against Sri Lanka. The away series in Australia last winter should have helped the players. The Murali Vijays, Virat Kohlis, Ajinkya Rahanes, Lokesh Rahuls should have matured from that tour and it will definitely help them against Sri Lanka, who are a tough team... but I expect India to do well," Ganguly told IANS in an interview on Tuesday.
The tour immediately follows the short limited overs trip to Zimbabwe which saw Rahane debut as captain. Though India won the One-Day International (ODI) series 3-0, Zimbabwe pulled one back to level the Twenty20 International series 1-1 earlier this month.
"I don't think we should even evaluate the team's performance in Zimbabwe. It was a team where the seniors and other regulars were not playing. Rahane and the others should leave it behind, not be bothered and focus on the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka which will be very important," said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) advisory committee member.
When asked about the Proteas' 70-day tour of India starting on September 29, the 113-Tests veteran advised patience saying: "Let us go one by one and focus on the Sri Lanka series... When it is over, we can look at the South Africa series."
Ganguly added that India team director Ravi Shastri, who did not travel to Zimbabwe, will be with the side in Sri Lanka.
"Ravi Shastri is going to Sri Lanka along with three other assistant coaches. Ravi is doing a great job and is going to be with the team for the time being. The chief coach will be decided in the future," said Ganguly, who along with cricket greats Sachin Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman comprises the advisory committee of the BCCI which will also give recommendations on who the new coach will be after the departure of Duncan Fletcher following the World Cup.
So much overdose of cricket is also going to bring in fatigue to the players, which happened just before Zimbabwe when regular skippers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kohli, among others, decided not to go to Africa. But Ganguly's take is that in modern sport, players should get used to it.
"Fatigue is going to be there. Nowadays, cricket is played throughout the year. A professional sportsperson has to manage it today. A life of a sportsperson is approximately 14-15 years long and fatigue will be a part of it, but they have to manage that," said Ganguly, who played 311 One-Day Internationals.
"Every professional sportsperson goes through this. I was at the Wimbledon some time back and I saw Roger Federer play. He is playing throughout the year as well -- at the French Open, Cincinnati Open and several other tournaments. A professional has to manage these days."
Ganguly is part of a four-member working group which will give recommendations to the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council (GC) following the suspension of two franchises. He is also on the BCCI advisory committee and a member of the IPL GC. With so many duties to perform, how does the former India left-handed batsman manage his time?
"I am also the joint secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), so you can well imagine. It is tough trying to manage everything, all these duties. I am also nominated in honorary positions at several places," said the 43-year-old Kolkata-resident.
"To add to it, I also have to manage my personal work which takes a lot of time. I am literally running from pillar to post but in the end, I am somehow being able to manage it."