Sourav Ganguly (left) and MS Dhoni are regarded as two of the finest leaders from India (Image courtesy: AFP)
Sourav Ganguly (left) and MS Dhoni are regarded as two of the finest leaders from India (Image courtesy: AFP)

Virat Kohli may end up as India s most successful captain, and MS Dhoni might have all the prestigious silverware in his cabinet. But while discussing the greatest captains from the nation, one name that is spoken with a lot of honour is that of Sourav Ganguly. His eye for picking up talent and backing them paved India s path to becoming a force in international cricket. Virender Sehwag too was amongst the beneficiaries. In a discussion with India TV, Sehwag revealed that Ganguly was instrumental in making Dhoni the cricketer he is. Watch Sehwag, Ganguly poke fun at each other on setting comment

It s a known fact that was well-demonstrated in Dhoni s biopic as well that Ganguly played a role as the captain in selection of Dhoni in the Indian setup. However, Sehwag threw light on how Dhoni was promoted in the batting order, and there began his journey to greatness.

We were experimenting with the batting order at that time. We decided that if we get a good opening partnership then Sourav Ganguly would come at No.3 but if we had a bad opening stand then we would send pinch hitters like Irfan Pathan or Dhoni to accelerate the scoring rate.

Ganguly at that time decided to give Dhoni a chance at No.3 for three or four matches. There are very few captains who would first give away his own batting spot for Virender Sehwag and then his set spot of No.3 for Dhoni. Had Dada (Ganguly) not done that, Dhoni would not have become such a great player. Ganguly always believed in giving chances to new players, Sehwag said.

Ganguly also used Dhoni successfully as a finisher. During the 2005 tri-series in Zimbabwe, India had slumped to 91 for 5 while chasing 251 against the hosts. It was a fine hundred form Yuvraj Singh and a quick 63-ball 67 not out from Dhoni that saw India through.

Dhoni and Yuvraj became a fine middle-order pair since.

Ganguly was controversially sacked as skipper and from the national side in late 2005. Rahul Dravid took over as captain. Sehwag also mentioned Dravid s role in making Dhoni flourish as a finisher.

During Rahul Dravid’s captaincy, Dhoni got the role of a finisher. He got out a couple of times playing a bad shot and he was also reprimanded by Dravid during one instance. But from that instance, he completely changed his approach and became a very good finisher. The kind of partnerships he had with Yuvraj Singh are memorable,” Sehwag added.

It was in December 2004 when Dhoni made his India debut under captain Ganguly. A few months later, the batting promotion let the world witness the brutal 138 against Pakistan. Later that year, under Dravid, he blasted the 183 not out against Sri Lanka which remains his highest score in ODIs.