Comparing players and captains from bygone eras to today’s time is one of the best pass-times the cricketing world has ever seen. At the moment, there is a comparison going between who the best captain India ever had in between Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni.
Both Ganguly and Dhoni led the Indian team amazingly, with Sourav captaining from 2000-2005 and Dhoni’s reign lasting from 2007-2017. Ganguly led India to joint-winners of 2002 Champions Trophy and the final of 2003 World Cup; while Dhoni won India the 2007 World T20, the 2011 World Cup, and the 2013 Champions Trophy, apart from several bilateral series and Asia Cup 2010 and 2016.
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith however believes that Ganguly would have benefitted a lot more from having a player like Dhoni in his team.
Speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Smith discussed the ODI captaincy record of Ganguly and Dhoni.
“The biggest difference between Dada’s captaincy and MS’s captaincy is MS, the player for me. I think in that middle order, the ability to close games, win games, finish games in that calm that he brought to the people around him. I think for me that is probably the biggest difference between the two heroes, is MS Dhoni. If Dada had an MS type player, his team was slightly more developed, I think you would have seen him win plenty more trophies,” Smith said.
Ganguly took over the reins of the Indian team after the tumultuous match-fixing scandal in 2000 and was dropped from the team and captaincy after differences with then-coach Greg Chappell.
“Dada was blessed to play or not blessed to play in an era where Australian cricket was at the forefront and dominating the world game as well which at the time the team had won the most during that period,” he added.
Smith, who is considered to be one of the greatest captains himself, leading South Africa in over 100 Tests, said that it was futile to compare captaincy styles of Dhoni and Ganguly and very little point in debating about the two.
“You are talking about two iconic figures and outstanding cricketers. It’s such small margins and it’s very difficult to debate, but I think, like Allan Border probably did in the early days of Australian cricket, setting them up for the success, I think that you have got to look at Dada here and say that what he did for Indian cricket was iconic,” Smith emphasized.
Smith shared his favorite Ganguly memory and said, “The memories that come to mind is that he (Ganguly) brought a hardness that perception wise hadn’t been there before. He was certainly quite a fiery character on the field and he certainly was a huge pillar in the strength of Indian cricket and where it’s gone to today."