Kolkata:Saurashtra coach Debu Mitra on Monday said Sourav Ganguly was a better batsman than Sachin Tendulkar in their under-19 days.
Mitra said Ganguly was exceptional in an U-19 tour of England with Kailash Gattani's Star team, which also had Tendulkar in it.
He said Tendulkar rose to greater heights later because he hailed from West Zone which was dominating Indian cricket.
"I travelled with them in that tour to UK and followed them from close quarters in all the matches. Ganguly was better than Tendulkar at that time. He was the highest run-getter in that tour," Mitra, who had earlier coached Bengal Ranji side, said.
"Sachin belonged to West Zone, which was dominating Indian cricket that time, so it was easy for him. But Ganguly had to wait till East Zone became prominent thanks to Jagmohan Dalmiya," said 61-year-old Mitra.
Asked whether Dalmiya has a role in shaping Ganguly's career, Mitra said, "Of course."
Mitra said he was "open" to any offer to coach Bengal again.
"Bengal is a big state and CAB is the richest association in India. Who will not want to coach Bengal?" Mitra said.
Mitra took over as Saurashtra coach in 2004-05 when the side was languishing in Plate Division.
He guided the side to the Super League after becoming Plate champions in 2005-06.