DUBAI // Sourav Ganguly has urged Indian cricket fans to be patient as their team goes through a transition phase following the exit of Rahul Dravid, with VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar expected to follow suit in the near future.
India have lost eight Test matches on the trot and failed to reach the final of the tri-series in Australia and the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. Fans have been growing increasingly impatient with MS Dhoni's team, but Ganguly feels there is "nothing seriously wrong" with the side.
"They were unlucky in the Asia Cup," said the former India captain. "They messed up against Bangladesh, but they beat the two strong teams. [So] a bit unlucky in this tournament, but they played poorly in Australia and England, which I am sure they will try and rectify.
"India will go through a rebuilding phase which has already started. I finished about two and half years ago and Dravid finished now. Laxman, I don't see much longer and then only the big man [Tendulkar] left.
"So they will go through a rebuilding phase, which has already started. We will have to be a bit patient."
Dravid announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this month, but he will be seen in action on Friday at The Sevens, playing for a star-studded MCC XI in the Emirates Airline Twenty20. Ganguly is also part of the team and they will return home from here to captain the Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League teams.
Former England star Mark Ramprakash will lead the MCC team, which also includes Aussie pacer Shaun Tait, and their quality should make them favourites for the tournament, which also includes three English county teams - Durham, Sussex and Lancashire - and the Fly Emirates XI.
"This is the third year of the Emirates Airline Twenty20 and without doubt we have the strongest line-up of teams taking part," Matthew Jackson, the tournament director. "We have three top county sides, all of whom have won the championship in the UK over the past five years - Sussex and Durham as well as the current champions Lancashire. They are all peppered with international players.
"We also have our first winners Fly Emirates and a truly star-studded MCC side, with Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Shaun Tait and a host of other stars including Mark Ramprakash."
The presence of Ganguly and Dravid is expected to attract a large number of crowds, especially since they might not be seen playing together for the same team anytime soon.
Paying tributes to his compatriot and MCC teammate, Ganguly said: "All good things come to an end. He has been a champion player for India. That he is behind Tendulkar in terms of runs [scored] in Test cricket just goes to show how good a player he is.
"He is 39 and all good things come to an end and those will be very big boots to fill."
Ganguly also lauded Tendulkar for his century of international centuries and the 'Prince of Kolkata' believes this record is unbreakable.
"It is a colossal achievement something which, if you ask me honestly, nobody can break," Ganguly said. "I doubt in the modern day anybody can play for 23 year. It is a long time in cricket.
"With so much of cricket - T20, Test and one-day cricket - I doubt whether anybody will play for 23 years. Getting to that landmark will be something unachievable."