"Always Believed MS Dhoni Should Bat Up The Order," Says Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly recalled how he found talent in MS Dhoni to promote him in his younger days and how it all worked for Indian cricket.
MS Dhoni made his international debut under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy
Sourav Ganguly helped MS Dhoni get his maiden national call-up in 2004
Ganguly said he rates Dhoni as one of the great players in world cricket
MS Dhoni made his international debut under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy against Bangladesh in December, 2004. Dhoni, who is considered one of the greats of the game now, worked as a ticket collector in Indian Railways in his early days and faced many difficulties during his initial cricketing days. However, things changed when Ganguly saw some potential in Dhoni and helped him get his maiden national call-up. Recalling the incident Ganguly, the current BCCI president, said that it was his job to pick the best players and is glad that the Indian cricket team got an unbelievable player in MS Dhoni, who has established himself as one of the best in the business.
The wicketkeeper-batsman turned 39 on Tuesday and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tweeted a clipping of Ganguly's interview with Test opener Mayank Agarwal, on his birthday.
In his show 'Dada Opens with Mayank', Agarwal asks Ganguly if it was true that Dhoni came into the national team after he vouched for him.
"Dada your word got Mahi bhai picked in the Indian team and rest is history. Is that a myth or reality?" Agarwal asked Ganguly.
Ganguly, who is currently at the helm of country's cricketing affairs, replied that he only did what every captain is supposed to do for the team -- find young talents and show faith in them.
"Yeah, it's true but that's my job, isn't it? That's every captain's job to pick the best and make the best team possible," Ganguly answered.
"You go by your instincts... you go by your faith on that player that he will deliver for you and I am happy that Indian cricket got a Mahendra Singh Dhoni, because he is unbelievable," he added.
Ganguly, who led India to the final of 2003 World Cup, said that for him Dhoni is much more than just a world class finisher and rates him as one of the "great players in world cricket". Ganguly also recalled how a young Dhoni scored a blistering century against Pakistan batting at three position.
"One of the great players in world cricket, I would say, not just finisher. I think everyone talks about the way he finishes lower down the order but he batted at number three when I was captain and he got a 140-odd against Pakistan in Vizag," said the BCCI president, heaping praise on the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Dhoni batted majority of his career lower down the order and devoted himself to finishing the innings for the team.
In doing so, he established himself as one of the best finishers in world cricket but Ganguly said that he always believed Dhoni should have batted up the order which would have allowed him to take on opposition bowlers and hit boundaries at will.
"I always believed that he should bat up the order because he is so destructive. You know the best players in the shorter format have the ability to hit boundaries at will," Ganguly explained.
For Ganguly, Dhoni was one of the specialists when it comes to shorter format as he could clear the ropes and find fence even under extreme pressure.
"You look over a period of time in the history of one-day cricket, the best players can find the fence under pressure consistently and MS Dhoni was one of them and that's why he was special," he explained.
Dhoni hasn't played any international cricket since July last year and was expected to return to action for his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL).
Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has thwarted those plans, forcing the BCCI to postpone the cash-rich league indefinitely.