Ganguly led India from 2000-2005, taking them to World Cup 2003 final.
The Rawalpindi Express took the name of former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly when he was asked to name the best opposition captain. Though he maintained that MS Dhoni was a good captain, he rated Ganguly higher than the three-time ICC trophies winner.
“If I talk about India, then it will be Sourav Ganguly. India hasn’t produced a better captain than him. Dhoni is very good, he’s a superb captain but when you talk about team building then Ganguly did a great job,” said Akhtar in an interview in Helo app.
Akhtar made his debut in 1997 and played till 2011, representing Pakistan in 46 Tests, 163 ODIs, and 15 T20Is picking up 178, 247, and 19 wickets respectively.
“I never thought India could beat us outside of a World Cup game. I toured India in 1999, we won in Chennai, we lost in Delhi but we won in Kolkata again, we ODIs, we won in Sharjah,” added Akhtar.
He felt that when Ganguly took over as captain of the Indian team, he felt that they can beat Pakistan, which they did in 2004. “When India came in Pakistan in 2004 under Ganguly’s leadership I got a feeling that this team can beat Pakistan and they did that,” Akhtar added.
India had beaten Pakistan 2-1 in the Tests and 3-2 in the ODIs in 2004.
Shoaib Akhtar also played with Ganguly in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2008. “The bravery and capability you can understand through this. He brought that transformation into the Indian side. I’m a huge fan of Bengalis, they are, strong, courageous and they are the ones who fight at the forefront,” said Akhtar.