One of the most decorated skippers of Indian cricket, Sourav Ganguly took over the captaincy in 2000 when the team’s Test ranking was eighth. However, ‘Dada’ played a vital role in reinforcing the Indian side and when he left the captaincy, Team India was poised second in the Test rankings.
The Men in Blue were triumphant, especially in overseas conditions under Ganguly’s leadership. Ganguly led India in 49 Tests, winning 21 of them with a winning ratio of 42.85 per cent. Talking about his limited-overs expeditions, Ganguly led India to the finals of 2000 Champions Trophy, won the 2002 Natwest Trophy, won the 2002 Champions trophy and steered the side to the final of 2003 World Cup.
Apart from his impressive winning record, one highlight of Ganguly’s captaincy was the support which he used to lend to youngsters. Many prolific youngsters including Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh rose to fame when ‘Dada’ was at the helm.
Viru had a big dry patch very early in his career: Aakash Chopra
Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra, who also braced the field under Ganguly’s captaincy, recalled an incident when the ‘Prine of Kolkata’ pleaded Sehwag to score runs for retaining his spot in the team. Sehwag responded by smashing a stellar century and was able to repay the faith which Ganguly had shown in him.
“Viru, after scoring a lot of runs initially, had a big dry patch very early in his career. Sourav Ganguly had gone to Viru and told him to make runs that day else he would not be able to play him again. Fortunately, he scored a century in that game. So, Sourav Ganguly also backed a lot,” revealed Chopra during the latest edition of YouTube show Cric Cast.
Chopra also remembered when Ganguly backed Yuvraj when the left-hander was going through a lean patch. “I remember that Yuvraj Singh had a stretch of 18-20 innings when he didn’t score a half-century,” said Chopra.
Chopra also reminisced his career with Team India and admitted that he couldn’t convert his starts to big scores, resulting in his national career being cut short.
“It was my mistake that when I was making 40’s-50’s, I should have been making hundreds, no one had held my bat. Although the team had given me a role to play in a particular manner, I took that role to heart. So I modified my game, that whatever task I have been given I need to perform that because that is what all players should do,” Chopra, who donned the Indian jersey in 10 Tests, said.
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