Former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly is known in the Indian cricket fraternity for his aggression, passion, and intensity. A holder of many cricketing records, Ganguly has been a popular face among the fans for his exceptional batting skills, sharp cricketing brain and his body language on the field. But the reason the world will always admire him is that he was the captain who always took the field to make a difference for the future of Indian cricket.
Ganguly, who took over the captaincy in 2000, has been credited for giving many young budding players an opportunity to perform. Zaheer Khan, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and several others got invaluable support from him during their early years.
During a recent interview with Gaurav Kapoor, Ganguly revealed how he had backed MS Dhoni early in his career and had spotted the immense talent which Dhoni possessed. Ganguly narrated an incident where he asked Dhoni, who usually walked into bat down the order, to go and bat at No.3.
“When Dhoni came into the side in 2004, he played at No.7 in the first two matches. We went to Vizag (vs Pakistan) I was watching the news and wondering how could I make a player out of Dhoni,” said Ganguly on Breakfast with Champions.
“The next day in the morning, we did our warm-ups, did the toss, won it and decided to bat. While coming back I decided I will send him up the order.. We’ll see what the result is.. He was sitting in shorts because he knew he would bat at No.7. I told him to go up at No.3 and he asked ‘what about you?’ I said ‘I will bat at No.4’. And he went and scored 148,” Ganguly said.
Dhoni had scored 148 runs in the 2nd ODI against Pakistan, which India went on to win by 58 runs. That innings was vital for the Ranchi-born cricketer as it put him on the cricketing map and his batting career took-off from that point on-wards.
“I think that’s how you can make players, you can never help them improve by pushing them down the order, you have to push him forward only then you will get to know if he has it in him,” he explained.
Sourav Ganguly, also revealed an incident where he had pushed Virender Sehwag, who was initially a middle-order batsman, to open the innings for India. He had insisted for Sehwag’s inclusion in a tour to South Africa and had given him confidence to open the innings for India in all formats.
Without any doubt, Sourav Ganguly is one of the greatest captains the game has witnessed. His passion and integrity is inspirational and he deserves a lot of credit for taking Indian cricket to the level it has reached now.
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