Kolkata: Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the star cricketer he is today, because of the contribution made by one of India’s best captains-Sourav Ganguly.
In an interview with India TV, the veteran right-handed batsman spoke of the, ‘sacrifices’ Ganguly made to make Dhoni, the icon, which he is today. He said, “We were experimenting with the batting order at that time. We decided that if we get a good opening partnership then Sourav Ganguly would come at No.3 but if we had a bad opening stand then we would send pinch hitters like Irfan Pathan or Dhoni to accelerate the scoring rate.”
Sehwag also went on to speak about how Ganguly experimented with the batting order when other skippers would have opted for a regular and a tried one and he also said that Dhoni is the star he is today because Ganguly had sacrificed his number 3 spot in the batting order to give him an opportunity to showcase his batting skills as the then skipper always believed in promoting young talents.
“Ganguly at that time decided to give Dhoni a chance at No.3 for three or four matches. There are very few captains who would first give away his own batting spot for Virender Sehwag and then his set spot of No.3 for Dhoni. Had Dada (Ganguly) not done that, Dhoni would not have become such a great player. Ganguly always believed in giving chances to new players,” he said further.
Dhoni emerged as one of the best finishers in the world under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy but Sehwag revealed that the Jharkhand born wicket-keeper batsman also was criticized by Dravid for playing rash shots and losing his wicket.
Sehwag added, “During Rahul Dravid’s captaincy, Dhoni got the role of a finisher. He got out a couple of times playing a bad shot and he was also reprimanded by Dravid during one instance. But from that instance, he completely changed his approach and became a very good finisher. The kind of partnerships he had with Yuvraj Singh are memorable.”
Dhoni, who has been one of India’s best match-winners made his debut under the leadership of Ganguly and one can never forget that magnificent 148 and that stunning 183, which justified his stature as a talented batsman.
Few days ago, Ganguly, who is now the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) had backed current Indian skipper Virat Kohli to become of India’s greatest captains and had also said that in order to do so, he must be successful in overseas conditions.
Ganguly had said, “Virat Kohli has got qualities of being one of India’s great captains, there’s no doubt about it. I think next 15 months will be important for him when India go to South Africa, England, Australia and the World Cup. I think he is in the right direction. He is preparing his team, he’s picking players and giving opportunities. They will beat New Zealand and Sri Lanka, there’s no doubt about it. India will be challenged when they go to South Africa but I feel this side has got the ability to do well there as well.”