Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag has opened up about the dressing room chats from 2002 when Sourav Ganguly had backed the inclusion of young MS Dhoni in the Indian team. Mentioning how it was then captain Ganguly who had a major role to play in MS Dhoni’s transformation to the cricketer he is today, Sehwag revealed that had it not been Ganguly’s sacrifice of his batting position to promote MS Dhoni up the order, the former Indian captain wouldn’t have progressed to the ranks easily.

“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,” Sehwag told India TV in an interview.

Adding that there are a very few captains who would throw their settled batting place to encourage a youngster, Sehwag said, “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.”

Indeed a captain has a great role to play in building his players and Ganguly’s formidable leadership is a secret to none. He is termed as one of the best India has ever seen and not just Dhoni, Ganguly should be credited with the rise of several other key Indian stars like Mohammad Kaif and Zaheer Khan.

MS Dhoni didn’t had a smooth start to his career for team India, the former Indian captain struggled before catching up with the pressure of representing the team. Once he got going the boy from Ranchi never looked back and kept on improving his game. In the later stages of his career while captaining the team, MS Dhoni is credited to transform the careers of several Indian youngsters who are currently the integral part of Indian team. To name a few, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina and the present Indian captain Virat Kohli credit Dhoni for lifting their careers during his tenure.

Both the Indian captains had their own unique qualities and were the best leaders of their era and both gave the youngsters chance to prove their metal in the team.

Virender Sehwag also talked about Dhoni’s evolvement as the team’s most able finisher. He mentioned that during Rahul Dravid’s captaincy, Dhoni was going through a rough patch and was caught in bowlers trap playing some lose shots and it was then that Dravid approached and  reprimand him guiding him on improving his batting technique.

“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 said.

Recently Ganguly credited the current captain Virat Kohli for the continuous betterment of MS Dhoni, he said, Virat Kohli should get a lot of credit for Dhoni’s current performance for team as he has shown a lot of confidence in being the captain. His faith has allowed Dhoni to play freely.

First Published | 8 October 2017 4:22 PM
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