Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan once again lauded the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly for guiding the youngsters to the successful international careers that helped to build up a strong Indian team.
Irfan Pathan, who played 173 international matches (29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is) for the Indian team between 2003 and 2012, played under six Indian captains. He made international debut under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly and played 45 international matches during his leadership tenure, while he played 49 international matches under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy.
On the other hand, Irfan played 68 international matches under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, during which he played an important role in India’s victory in the ICC World T20 2007 (won the Player of the Match award in the final). He also experienced three other Indian captains – Anil Kumble (four matches), Virender Sehwag (six matches) and Gautam Gambhir (only match).
Recently, when Irfan was asked the best leader of men in India cricket, unsurprisingly the 35-year-old answered Sourav Ganguly, who is currently the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Talking about captain Ganguly’s best point, Irfan said his supportive nature to the youngsters. Irfan recalled how Ganguly backed the young Yuvraj Singh when he was struggling at the beginning of his career.
Irfan told cricket.com, “Sourav Ganguly wanted to make sure that he built the team. I remember Yuvraj Singh was struggling at the start of his career for quite a few matches. Ganguly backed him. He knew that if I back this guy, some amazing things can happen in the future and certainly it did happen.”
Sourav Ganguly had only one agenda: Irfan Pathan
Irfan further added that Ganguly similarly defended the other youngsters like off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and the left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan. The former Indian all-rounder believes that captain Ganguly was the reason why people started to love the Indian national cricket team again as the skipper was only eyeing on the team’s growth.
He continued, “Not only Yuvraj, Ganguly also backed youngsters like Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan. He built the team when the India team was in a slump. People did not love cricket because it was a tough time for cricket in India. Making people love the Indian cricket team again, the credit should be given to Sourav Ganguly. That is why if we talk about leader, he was the leader of the players. Ganguly had only one agenda. To make sure Indian team grows. Nothing else.”