In a candid interview with cricket.com, former cricketer and one of the most celebrated all-rounders of the Indian cricket team, Irrfan Pathan revealed that he thinks Sourav Ganguly has been the best leader the Indian cricket team has ever had.
“Sourav Ganguly. He wanted to make sure that he built the team. I remember Yuvraj Singh was struggling at the start of his career for quite a few matches. Ganguly backed him. He knew that if I back this guy, some amazing things can happen in the future and certainly it did happen. Not only Yuvraj, but Ganguly also backed youngsters like Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan”, Irrfan stated why he thinks Dada has been a better leader than any others that have led team India.
He further added, “He built the team when the India team was in a slump. People did not love cricket because it was a tough time for cricket in India. Making people love the Indian cricket team again, the credit should be given to Sourav Ganguly. That is why if we talk about a leader, he was the leader of the players. Ganguly had only one agenda. To make sure the Indian team grows. Nothing else.”
Pathan has played under many captains but he puts Sourav Ganguly above everyone, as he helped many youngsters several chances and made cricket fans fall in love with the Indian cricket team again.
Speaking of captaincy, Irrfan said that he is off the opinion that Gautam Gambhir would have made a great captain he had led the team for a longer duration of time. And rightly so. Gautam Gambhir has done a terrific job as a team skipper. He has displayed his leadership abilities on almost every occasion of his captaincy.
The success of the IPL franchise team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is the best example of his prowess as a captain.
Gautam Gambhir’s skills as a captain were underutilized and should have gotten more chances at the international stage. Between 2010 and 2011, Gambhir led India in six ODIs and the team acquired success in every match.
Irrfan also cleared the misconception that he does not admire the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni enough.
He said, “I have huge respect for Sourav Ganguly, I have great respect for the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and I think Gautam Gambhir should have led the Indian team a lot more as well than he did,” Pathan told cricket.com. “He could have been a really good leader. I really admire Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, but that doesn’t mean, I don’t admire the quality of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.”
“People don’t talk about Rahul Dravid as much. So, people who do not talk about Rahul Dravid as much, do they dislike him? No. Under his captaincy, India won 16 consecutive ODIs while chasing. Sometimes it gets under the wrap.
“As a winning captain, as a result-oriented captain and the guy who got the result, who had an excellent team, it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni”, he added.
Irrfan has not played international cricket for almost eight years now. He announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in January this year. He was last seen in action in the 2017 IPL tournament.