We all know former Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly as one of the best and most successful captains in the world. He has always been there to back his players like Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni during their initial days at the international level. He was a great inspiration for the youngsters at his time and encouraged them on the field.
Speaking on Breakfast With Champions show, Dada recalled a few incidents and revealed them to his fans. He said he believed in giving opportunities to his boys and also gave up his batting position at times. Ganguly said how he identified potentials in Sehwag as an opening batsman and MS Dhoni by sending him up the order to prove himself.
Dada said, “Like when Viru opened. During selection, people asked why are you taking for an away tour. He won’t manage bouncers. They’ll hit him in the head with bouncers. And I replied: ‘You are judging him without even seeing him play or giving him an opportunity’. Then he ended up scoring a century on his debut in South Africa. After that, we did not have a position for him in the middle order, so one day I told him. Viru, no one made a career by sitting on the bench. Why don’t you open? And the opening is not a skill anyone is born with. If Hayden and Langer could do it, so can you.
Coming to MS Dhoni, he made his debut in 2004 under Ganguly’s captaincy. Though Dhoni performed badly in his first few matches, Dada promoted him to bat at No 3 and he went on to score 148 against Pakistan and 183 against Sri Lanka.
“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 make a player out of Dhoni. He had great potential. 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 and Dhoni was sitting in shorts because he knew he would bat at No.7. I went to him and 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. “That is how you players are made,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly went on to say that seeing MS play for so long makes him feel happy because both of them are from the same part of India where not much cricket was played those days. “Dhoni is very courageous. I feel happy seeing MS because when we started playing cricket there was no cricketer from the east. No players used to play and used to think there won’t be a player this side. And we both captained so many matches, we played so many matches, T20 wasn’t there in our time. I played approximately 450 matches. That day in Cardiff MS played his 500th. I feel good because a part of India where not many cricketers came from, 2 captains came from that side. Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni that’s the proud moment,” he said.