Saurav Ganguly’s time as the captain of India is fondly remembered by Indian cricket fans all over the world. The influence of Ganguly far exceeds his wonderful record as a captain, as ‘Dada’ helped change the mindset of Indian cricketers playing abroad.
For the longest time, India were considered to be poor travelers, as they struggled to compete in England, South Africa and Australia. While they always had the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly himself to play a couple of brilliant innings, they invariably lost the contest as the rest of the team were not up to the task.
It seemed to be a mental issue with the team, as the players seemingly lost the match in their heads before they entered the field. But all that changed under Ganguly, as the fiery captain instilled a sense of belief in the team.
India won in Australia, England and Pakistan under Ganguly, as India not only competed but beat these teams in their home conditions. While people rightly put MS Dhoni on a pedestal, Mahi does not even close to Ganguly when you compare their overseas record as India captain.
Which is why Virat Kohli needs to listen when ‘Dada’ talks about the ongoing India-South Africa test series. India lost the first test match, as their highly vaunted batting line-up, struggled against the South African pacers.
After the first test match, Kohli was criticized for selecting Rohit Sharma over Ajinkya Rahane in the starting XI. Rahane has been India’s best batsman overseas, and his exclusion surprised fans and pundits alike.
Even the South African captain was surprised at Rahane’s exclusion from the side. Kohli though felt that Rohit was in better form as compared to Rahane, which is why the team management went for him instead of Rahane.
“Well, we decided to go on current form. Rohit (Sharma) has scored runs in the last three Test matches that he has played, and he was batting well, even in the series against Sri Lanka,” said Kohli in the post-match media conference.
Ganguly was not happy with Kohli’s though process, as he felt that the Indian skipper should not have gone by performances on home conditions.
“The history of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in overseas conditions is not very good. Their record is basically chalk and cheese when it comes to overseas Tests. It is fine to go by current form, but they should not have overlooked the performances of KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane in overseas conditions in the past few years.”
Now it’s up to the team management to make a couple of changes before the second test match. Another loss in the second test will condemn India to yet another overseas series loss, something that this team will be desperate to avoid.