Sourav Ganguly united Indian cricket by eradicating factionalism and regionalism, former international spinner Dilip Doshi said on Thursday.

Speaking during a book launch in the national capital, Doshi, who made his debut aged 32 and took 114 wickets from 33 Tests, added that while another former captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi also did his bit in bridging the gap but it was Ganguly who made a standout impact.

“I must tell during our days you could have played for India only if you are a North Indian from North India or Maharashtrian from Mumbai or from South,” Doshi said. “One can never think of a cricketer playing in Indian team from Eastern states like Bihar. The first Indian to bring oneness and Indianness in Indian cricket is Sourav. Tiger (Pataudi) was also there but Sourav stood out.”

Batting legend Ganguly, a former India captain, last month became the BCCI president after the tenure of Committee of Administrators came to an end.

Doshi feels the declining standards of spin bowling is due to the advent of T20 cricket that has instilled a fear among them in addition to thicker bats being used by batsmen nowadays and smaller boundaries. “Now-a-days very few spinners are making the effort to spin the ball. There are plenty of slow bowlers but not orthodox spinners. The extraordinary advent of T20 format has created a fear among spinners. Spinners fear to flight the ball but a real spinner is who has the courage to give flight. To add to it smaller grounds and bigger and heavier bats are also reasons behind spinners decline,” he rued.

He called for regulations to be put in place by the administrators to provide spinners a fair chance to succeed. “Some regulations have to be introduced whether it is increasing the size of the boundaries or decreasing the size of bats. It is unfair for spinners. The administrators really need to look into these issues,” Doshi said.