MUMBAI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly feels if a player wants to be successful, he has to perform at the 'biggest stage' -- Test cricket.
The former Indian skipper explained why Test is the ultimate format of the game and said people remember those players who make runs in the longest format of the game.
"When we started playing cricket in our childhood, Test cricket was the ultimate cricket format and I think it still is the ultimate format," said Ganguly on Star Sports.
"And that is why it is called Test cricket. I feel if a player wants to be successful and leave his/ her mark on the game, then Test cricket is the biggest platform one can get.
"People will remember those players forever, who play well and make runs in Test matches. If you see all the biggest names in cricket -- all the greats -- in the past 40-50 years; they've all had successful Test records," he added.
Twenty-five years ago on June 22, Ganguly announced himself in style on the international cricketing arena as he scored a century on his Test debut. He achieved the feat against England on the third day of the second Test being played at the Lord's Cricket Ground.
England had been bundled out for 344 runs in the first innings as Venkatesh Prasad scalped five wickets for the visitors. Ganguly then came out to bat at the number three position and went on to play a knock of 131 runs from 301 balls with the help of 20 boundaries.
"Not many get to play their first Test at Lord's and I remember fielding at point -- a packed stadium at the Lords. And it has always been a happy hunting ground for me -- every time I have gone back since my debut. I was in awe to walk down the long room on the first day and luckily we fielded," Ganguly recalled.
"Otherwise, as a batsman, I was supposed to bat at No.3. I got a 100 on a Saturday, which is probably the best day for Test cricket, with every seat being full. It was my Test debut and get to a 100.
"They say it can't get better and the mindset of that Test match was remarkable. As you said, at the back-stands you get cheers for every shot you hit and then finishing at tea time on a 100 was special," he added.
The former Indian skipper also recalled how Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar calmed his nerves in his Test debut.
"I remember, during the tea, I was batting at 100 and I was mentally tired -- more than physical -- because, first 100, the emotions, the happiness, the highs make you tired as well. I was putting tape around the bat handle because it has just started to soften up, because of the bounce and the ball hitting at the top of the handle," said Ganguly.
"I remember Sachin coming up to me and saying -- you relax, have your cup of tea. So, I remember those moments I walked into the dressing room and everybody was standing outside the dressing room to cheer me, because of my achievement," he added.
Ganguly also talked about how his journey has been in cricket, where he also became India's one of the most successful captains.
"The entire journey, making a debut in 1996, getting a 100 at Lord's. Then in few years, getting to captain India, getting to build a team -- probably people rated as good as anybody in the world with the successes," said Ganguly.
"Then giving the captaincy off to somebody and still being a part of the journey of winning matches and seeing the national team develop, becoming a force all around the world -- which started under your captaincy.
"And then being in an administrative role, trying to change the game. I feel very fortunate that during my tenure as a President, India won in Australia, 2-1, in a remarkable series. It has been a fantastic journey and as a sportsman, as a cricketer, you don't expect anything better than this," he concluded.