Gautam Gambhir is of the opinion that unlike Ganguly, MS Dhoni did not leave too many world-class players for his successor when he decided to step away from captaincy. Gambhir feels that Ganguly made life easier for Dhoni by moulding the likes of Yuvraj, Zaheer and Sehwag when he was skipper.
One debate in the world of cricket that seems unlikely to be settled anytime soon is the battle of supremacy as captain between MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly. While Dhoni is the most successful Indian captain of all time when it comes to silverware, Ganguly, on the other hand, revolutionized the attitude with the Indian side and instilled belief within the team that they could be world-beaters. In an attempt to settle the debate, ESPN Cricinfo, collaborating with Star Sports, conducted a survey in which they gathered a set of experts and rated the captaincy of both Ganguly and Dhoni through different metrics.
One of the experts in the panel was Gautam Gambhir and the southpaw noted that in terms of leaving a quality team - filled with world-class players - behind for the successor, Dhoni simply did not do enough. Gambhir pointed out how Ganguly left behind the likes of Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag amongst others for Dhoni, while the wicket-keeper, on the other hand, only left behind Rohit Sharma for Kohli.
“When MS Dhoni finished (his captaincy stint), he hasn't given enough quality players to Virat Kohli, apart from Virat Kohli himself and Rohit Sharma. Or Jasprit Bumrah now. There are not too many world beaters, or probably people who win you tournaments,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
“But look at what Sourav Ganguly gave to Indian cricket. Yuvraj Singh, man of the series in two World Cups [Yuvraj was only man of the series in the 2011 World Cup. Shahid Afridi was man of the series in the 2007 World T20], Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag - these kinds of world beaters.”
The 38-year-old former Indian vice-captain admitted that Dhoni triumphed Ganguly when it came to silverware, but added that the wicket-keeper batsman never had a real impact as a batsman in the big tournament that the country won. To support his case, Gambhir pointed out Dhoni’s mediocre returns as a batsman in both the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup.
“Purely from the trophies point of view, it's MS Dhoni. But if you see the impact during those tournaments, MS didn't have such a big impact as a player. But in the 2003 World Cup, Sourav Ganguly had a fabulous World Cup. If you see the 2007 T20 World Cup, MS didn't score too many runs and neither did he score too many runs in 2011 as well.
“But yes, as a leader when you talk about winning trophies, yes MS Dhoni. He's won both the World Cups, T20 and 2011, and the Champions Trophy. Sourav hasn't won anything apart from the Natwest Trophy.”
Eventually, though, Dhoni ended up winning the survey by a margin of 0.4 points.
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