From a memorable hundred in the Ranji Trophy final, when he single-handedly helped Karnataka get its hands on the coveted title, to heroic 87-run against Rest of India, Ganesh Satish has had a phenomenal first-class career so far. If at all, one has to define him, his classic cover drives, picture-perfect straight drives, a delicate flick of the wrists sending the ball towards the boundary line and the unending hunger for runs would be sufficient to hail this gentleman who has conquered the Indian domestic circuit with utmost authority.
In a freewheeling chat with News Nation, the 30-year-old opens about his cricketing career and much more.
Excerpts from the interview…
You started your career playing for Karnataka. However, in the 2014-15 Ranji season, you moved to Vidarbha. What were the thoughts behind the paradigm shift?
I played six years of Ranji Trophy with Karnataka. Since the age of 12, I have played Under-14, Under-16, Under-19, and senior team for Karnataka. I even captained Karnataka. In 2013-14 Ranji Trophy final, I scored a hundred which also turned out to be my last year with them. But to be honest, there were a lot of insecurities in Karnataka camp and wasn’t given a fair run.
So, if you ask me on personal grounds, I had to take a decision as I wanted to play the complete season with freedom and without any insecurities of selection. In Karnataka, there was a lot of pressure about my place in the team and wasn’t able to express myself fully.
Vidarbha team has been doing considerably well for quite some time now. After winning Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup in 2017-18, the team didn’t lose even a single game this season to repeat the history. What has been the idea of success?
I think it’s been quite a few seasons now. If you see, even in the last season we were unbeaten, and this season too. Our thinking has been wanting to win the games outright. We don’t plan for anything less than a win. Also, there’s been healthy competition in the team. A lot of juniors coming in.
Every player is pushing others to do better than before because you know there is someone waiting to grab that opportunity if you fail consistently. So once you have someone pushing you, you tend to perform better and that’s been the idea of us at Vidarbha – we play as a unit.
You scored 48 and 87 runs in the last game against Rest of India (ROI) in Irani Cup. Having known that you have 12 first-class hundreds and 33 fifties to your name already, where do you rate this innings of yours?
I think this was definitely one of my top innings, especially 87 which I scored in the second innings as it probably shaped the game in our favour. But you know, the wicket was not as challenging as some of the wickets I have played previously.
I would say it was right up there but I would still rate my innings with Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy final at the top which even resulted in a victory. However, I would still say because of the quality of ROI bowling attack, it was one of my top innings.
Having won two Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup for Vidarbha and played under the leadership of Faiz Fazal, do you think he is currently the best leader in domestic circuit?
I think he has to be one of the top leaders in the domestic circuit. He is very calm, collected, and composed. He is very approachable to all the players in the team. He doesn’t have slightest of ego.
Even though he has represented India and playing domestic cricket for quite some time now, he is very easy to talk. So, as a player, it makes it very easy for us in the team to express ourselves in front of him. He definitely has that leadership quality in him.
Ganesh, you have played all three formats of the game but haven’t featured in Indian Premier League (IPL) so far. If given a chance, which team would you like to play and why?
(Laughs) To be honest, I have never thought as to which franchise I would want to play. But, you know getting an opportunity in IPL itself is a big opportunity because you get value for your performances. Not in terms of money, but being witnessed at a bigger stage.
I would be happy if I get an opportunity to play the IPL in the coming years, but my ultimate dream still remains to play Test cricket for India.
As you know, the World cup is around the corner and India will be up against South Africa for their first league game on June 5 at Southampton. Which two teams can make their way through to the finals and why?
I think India will definitely be one of the two teams to make it to the finals. If you see, we have a balanced squad. They have been playing outstanding cricket from the last couple of years now and favourites to even win the tournament.
The second team, if you’ll ask me can be England as you cannot count them out of the contest, at home especially. They have a big advantage, playing in front of their own crowd. They have been very competitive ODI side over the last few years. So, for me, it’s India and England.
One message you would want to give to the families of CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday?
(Got emotional) It’s really heartbreaking to see what’s happened. Everyone is in tears. I would want everyone to come forward and help out these families. As you know, Faiz mentioned in the post-match presentation yesterday that we as a team our donating our prize money to families who suffered during the attack.
But whatever we do will not be enough to compensate for the lives lost. So, whatever way we can help, we should do that to the best of our capacity.
What is that one advice you would want to give to budding talents?
You know we had a felicitation ceremony yesterday, and Shashank Manohar graced the occasion and his advice, which probably relates to mine as well was, the dream of playing for India and everything else will follow.
Don’t dream of money, don’t dream of IPL. When we were youngsters, we dreamt playing for India, we love playing cricket. We never played for money, and I think this makes a cricketer better. That should be the ultimate dream and of the advice.