Sachin should play as long as he wants to: Ganguly

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 24, 2013 17:47 hrs

Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Sunday said Sachin Tendulkar should play as long as he wants.

There is a buzz that Tendulkar, who will turn 40 next month, may have played his last on Indian soil when he batted at Kotla as there's not a Test scheduled in the country for the next one year.

"Only time will say (about Tendulkar's retirement). He can play as long as he wants, be it South Africa, New Zealand or wherever," Ganguly said.

Asked about Tendulkar's lean patch, Ganguly pointed out: "A win is always a team effort. We should not forget his contribution in the first Test in Chennai - his gritty 81 really came to the team's rescue with India two down".

Ganguly further said Cheteshwar Pujara should have been awarded the man of the match which went to Ravindra Jadeja for his 5/58.

"He has made 134 runs - 52 and 82 not out - on a difficult spinning track. For me, the man of the match is Pujara," Ganguly told a regional TV channel.

India won the fourth and last Test by six wickets to clinch the four-match series with a historic 4-0 triumph and win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

"Of course, the whitewash is a big thing. The way India have performed is really commendable. I'm not surprised the way the Aussies went down. They have been doing badly for last few years," Ganguly said.

The former cricketer said Indian youngsters should be given at least two years time as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a crucial period ahead.

"This team is in a process of rebuilding. We have to give time to judge them. I'm sure Dhoni will be around till the 2015 World Cup. The next 17-18 months is very important as he has to build this side."

Ganguly also believed that it's not yet over for senior opener Virender Sehwag who was dropped after the second Test.

"We all know his abilities. He is one of the greats. I think he will get an opportunity during the South African tour. The selectors are trying out (Ajinkya) Rahane for a middle order slot. May be he will be the experienced opening batsman option in South Africa," he said.

On the Aussies batting, Ganguly said: "Peter Siddle (with two half-centuries in the Kotla Test) showed that batting is not impossible even if it's difficult.

"They were not playing according to merit of the ball. If you don't back your cricket ability it's very difficult."

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