Sourav Ganguly believes there is a good chance that Thursday's opening Test against England ends up as former teammate Sachin Tendulkar's most memorable Lord's Test of his career.
Tendulkar is seeking his first Test century at the supposed home of cricket. "I am not surprised Sachin has not scored a hundred here," Ganguly said, indicating the kind of vagaries the sport is known for. "But I just feel that this could be 'his' Test match. He is destiny's child."
Going by how Tendulkar has been able to fill in the blanks of his career, Ganguly could well be proved right by next Monday. In April, the batting maestro achieved his dream of being part of a World Cup winning team after facing disappointments in five precious World Cups.
Ganguly is the only specialist Indian batsman to score a Test century at Lord's in the last 20 years. Ajit Agarkar got to three figures in the 2002 Test, but he was in the side primarily as a bowler.
The manner in which Ganguly gazed at the Nursery End of the ground, his mind could have been full of memories of the venue with which he enjoyed a love affair. It witnessed a wondrous hundred on Test debut in 1996 and eight years later, the left-handed batsman led India to a thrilling Natwest Series final win, a moment which caused him to wave his shirt on the famous Lord's dressing room balcony.
The debut hundred at Lord's is sure a career highlight, but Ganguly revealed he did not think about being on the verge of a historic moment (no Indian has scored a debut hundred here) when he got close to the century mark. "I only thought about that (historic moment) when I reached my century," he recalled.
Earlier in the day, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni called Ganguly a legend as he spoke about how he never imagined he would one day share the dressing room with legends like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Kumble. "Did he?, Ganguly asked before adding, "what's the big deal."
Dhoni waxed eloquent on Tendulkar too and called him the perfect model for upcoming players. "Irrespective of the fact that he became a superstar one year after he made his debut, he has stayed the same over the last 20-21 years. He may spend one and a half hours on the field but he can go back to the dressing room and proudly say that 'today, I utilised that time to the best."