Today the ‘Prince of Calcutta’ , Sourav Ganguly turns 43.
Also affectionately known as ‘DADA’ amongst all his fans, he is undoubtedly one of the best captains India ever had.
But is he the best????
A lot of debate has been going on this topic as he has been constantly compared with another Indian legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also known as ‘Mahi’.
The number of achievements are clearly on Dhoni’s side but is that enough to rule out Ganguly?
Lets take a look at 5 such reasons why Dada is a better captain than Dhoni:
1) He not only saved, but steadied Indian cricket’s sinking ship
When Dada was handed the captaincy first in 2000, Indian cricket was plagued with match fixing controversies. Many national cricketers were allegedly involved in fixing scandals, and the then skipper Sachin Tendulkar decided to give up captaincy owing to bad health. Ganguly by virtue of being the vice-captain, first got the reins of the team. That very year, India finished as the runners up in the ICC Champions Trophy in Kenya, two years later India were the joint champions of the same competition with Sri Lanka, and a year later reached the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup but unfortunately lost the finals to Australia.
On the other hand, the transition of power to Dhoni from Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble in ODIs and Tests respectively was comparatively much smoother and easier which aided Mahi’s journey as a skipper.
2) He made world class cricketers out of the then youngsters
We all know Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan and Dhoni himself, to be world class cricketers who have contributed heavily to India’s success in the sport. Ganguly first spotted their talent and capability, brought them in the national squad and got the best out of them. He also fought on numerous times for them who were rookies at that point of time to keep them in the team and the rest is history.
When Dhoni started his captaincy, all of these players were already established as greats in their respective fields. Thus we can say that Mahi reaped what Dada sowed !
3) Ganguly has an impeccable overseas record
When it comes to raising the Indian flag on foreign soil, on one can match Dada’s success, not even Dhoni !
Before Ganguly took over the captaincy, India’s away winning records were drastically low. If India managed to get a draw in a Test match, it was seen as an aberration. After he started leading the team on foreign soil, India’s overseas record improved dramatically and India was also recognized as a major challenger both in and outside the country.
Yes he had the support of legends like Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman, but he was the one who led them valiantly and courageously.
The result: India, under Dada’s leadership managed to defeat the then world champions Australia, who were the best of the best during that time and extremely hard to beat and drew 1-1 in Austrlia to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
4) He changed the very outlook of the team
The Indian team went under a transformation under his fearless leadership and the attitude of the Indian team underwent a substantial change. They were more confident and aggressive which reflected in their body language and Dada was able to instill a firm belief inside every player that we can defeat any team, even in their own backward.
He supported the rookies and maintained a healthy relation with the seniors. For him, the team came before anything and he firmly believed in team work, something which Dhoni too does and believes in.
5) An emotional, animated skipper is worth watching any day
Dada was so emotionally attached to the game of cricket that he lived every moment he spent in the field to the fullest. Dhoni, on the other hand is calm, calculated and stoic as if he is devoid any humanly emotions.
We all love a skipper who remains heavily involved in the ongoing action in the cricket field. He had shouted, screamed, swore, argued which makes him the standout Indian captain till date.
How can we forget the epic scene where Ganguly removed his shirt at Lord’s balcony after India won the Natwest Trophy and started celebrating by twirling it over and over again !
Dhoni can’t even dream of attempting such an act, which is why Sourav Ganguly remains the best Indian captain till date.