Former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif has reckoned that Mohammad Azharuddin played a big hand in the development of Sourav Ganguly and should be credited for molding him as the future leader. He also praised MS Dhoni for winning world titles and instilling self-confidence in the team.
Sourav Ganguly, who made his Test and ODI debuts in 1996 and in 1992 respectively when Azharuddin was the Indian captain, is celebrated as one of the most successful Indian captains. He is hailed for changing the attitude of the team from a mere ‘gentlemen’ team to an ‘aggressive’ team that knew how to give it back when required. The Prince of Kolkata is also credited for passing on a mighty team to next in line MS Dhoni, who went on to win all ICC trophies for India.
Similarly, former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif opined that Ganguly, who played 65 matches (12 Tests and 53 ODIs) under Azharuddin’s captaincy, was developed by Azharuddin to take over the captaincy duties from him.
“I respect Mohammad Azharuddin a lot. He served Indian cricket for a long time and left someone like Sourav Ganguly. Azharuddin played a great role in developing Ganguly as a captain. Greats like Sachin and Dravid played under Ganguly,” Latif said in a YouTube show called Caught Behind as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Dhoni is, arguably, one of the best if not the best captain India has ever had. He is known for keeping his nerves in check on the field and believing in the inexperienced youngsters in the team, which was quite evident when Joginder Sharma was trusted by him to bowl the last over of the World Cup finale in 2007.
Heaping praise on Dhoni’s leadership qualities, Latif pointed out that the foundation of the modern Indian team was laid by Azharuddin in the ’90s, which benefited Ganguly and then, Dhoni.
“Mohammad Azharuddin made Ganguly. And Dhoni combined both of their qualities and created his own style according to modern-day cricket. He got the match-winning belief in the team, developed that culture in the team, instilled that winning mindset.
“Dhoni won three world titles which no captain has ever done. Leaders like Dhoni took risks to take the team forward, he motivated young players. He tried to mould cricketers according to his character. Captains like this instil self-confidence in players,” Latif added.