Sourav Ganguly has a special place in the history of Indian cricket. The Kolkata-born cricketer was one of the most successful and influential captains India has seen. He led the revolution in Indian cricket. It was under Ganguly’s captaincy that India started playing a completely different brand of cricket.
The Kolkata left-hander led India for over five years and had a massive impact. He captained in more than 200 matches across the two formats (Tests and ODIs) and had good success. Ganguly had an aggressive captaincy style and he loved backing his players.
He backed quite a few youngsters and they came out with flying colours as well. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh and MS Dhoni were the among the few who enjoyed Ganguly’s backing.
However, there were a few who were unlucky to miss out during Ganguly’s reign as captain. Hence, here’s a list of five players who Sourav Ganguly didn’t back during his captaincy period.
1. Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Wasim Jaffer may be one of the unluckiest players in Indian cricket history. The right-handed opener has consistently churned out runs in domestic cricket and yet, he was constantly ignored. He made his first-class and List ‘A’ debut for Mumbai back in the 1996-97 season.
After producing some big numbers in Ranji Trophy, Jaffer made his Test debut in 2000 but failed to impress. He was back in 2002 when India toured West Indies and England. However, he blew hot and cold as he scored 215 runs across nine innings (five Test matches).
His inconsistent performances led to his exclusion from the team. Thus, that was the only time Jaffer played under Ganguly. Jaffer did return in 2006 and was a part of the Test side for three years before he was left out again. Hence, India, under Ganguly, tried quite a few openers but never went back to Jaffer despite the latter scoring a lot of runs in domestic cricket.
Thus, Jaffer was reduced to playing domestic cricket day in and day out and he never disappointed. He has scored over 19,000 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 51.19 and is continuing to churn out runs for fun.
2 Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Till MS Dhoni arrived on the international stage, for almost four years, India were on the hunt for wicketkeepers. Barring Dhoni, as many as 10 wicketkeepers played under Sourav Ganguly across formats. One of them was Dinesh Karthik.
The Tamil Nadu stumper was just 19 years old when he made his international debut in an ODI at Lord’s in 2004. He soon made his Test debut later that year. He played as many as nine Test matches as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper before he faced the axe.
Karthik had failed to perform in the longest format as he constantly threw away starts. However, in ODI cricket, Karthik was dropped after just two games. Dhoni entered the fray after that and the wicketkeeper’s slot was locked once he started performing.
Thus, Karthik didn’t get a decent run under Ganguly. He has played scattered under all captains but Ganguly never really backed the Tamil Nadu player.
3 Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Under Sourav Ganguly, if the wicketkeeper’s slot was volatile, the opener’s slot in Test cricket was no different. Virender Sehwag was one of the constant openers since 2002. Sadagopan Ramesh also got a decent run at the start of Ganguly’s reign as captain. However, none of the other players got a long rope.
Aakash Chopra was one of the 14 Test openers tried in the five-year period (2000-2005). He played six Test matches under Ganguly and could muster only 264 runs at an average of 22.00.
However, Chopra had a solid technique. There were no big scores but he was playing about 62 deliveries before getting dismissed. Hence, he not scoring big runs but he was blunting out the new ball. Moreover, he had done well in domestic cricket. But after a few failures, Chopra faced the axe and never returned to the team after the series at home against Australia in 2004.
4 Ramesh Powar
Ramesh Powar. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Ramesh Powar may not have been the fittest cricketers but was a pretty handy one. His flighted off-breaks were very effective and he was one of the consistent performers for Mumbai in domestic cricket.
He made his first-class debut in the 1999-2000 season while he made his white-ball debut in the following season. However, he soon became consistent and became an integral part of the Mumbai squad. Hence, after a good run in domestic cricket, he received an India callup in 2004.
Powar made his ODI debut in Pakistan in 2004. However, he played just two games and went wicketless in both. Hence, that was the only time he was seen playing under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy as the latter preferred the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble.
5. Sunil Joshi
Sunil Joshi. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Sunil Joshi is another cricketer who can consider himself pretty unlucky. The Karnataka left-arm spinner was a consistent performer in domestic cricket and yet, he was overlooked. He made both his Test and ODI debuts in 1996 and was in and around the national side throughout the late 1990s.
However, with the emergence and dominance of Harbhajan Singh alongside Anil Kumble, Joshi started fading away. Under Sourav Ganguly, then left-arm spinner played just 24 games across the two formats. He blew hot and cold during that period and hence, eventually found himself dropped.
Joshi last played in India colours in 2001. However, he played domestic cricket for about a decade after that. Thus, despite consistently performing, Joshi could never break back into the squad. Hence, he never got a chance to add to his 15 Test caps or 69 ODI caps after March 2001.
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