Sharma,about whom it was said that he has not realised his true potential,has now cemented his place in the Indian team with a consistent stellar show as an opener in ODIs.
Sharma’s career got a new lease of life after skipper Dhoni experimented and made him an opener.
“He’s made Rohit Sharma into a player. No Indian player would have played 100 ODI games without playing a Test. He would not have got an opportunity. Now we sit back and say,how good a player Sharma is. He’s got time and ability. You got to give credit to Dhoni. In the past,players have come and gone away because of lack of opportunity and belief.”
Talking about his own captaincy days,Ganguly said he was very satisfied with what he did.
“As captain,you take decision and you have to face the consequences. When I sit back and see my days as captain and when I see where the Indian cricket has gone,I don’t worry about it. I’m happy that the Indian cricket has gone forward. That’s what matters. I was not there to make anyone happy or sad. I was there to do a job and make sure the Indian cricket gets forward,” he asserted.
West Indies great Brian Lara too praised Ganguly for his immense contribution in taking Indian cricket forward.
“The Indian team that you see now the discipline and the commitment,the self confidence I think all that has come from the time when Sourav Ganguly led the team. The fascinating series for me was when they walked with a draw in Australia.”
There was some discussion about the T20 cricket and both the former captains agreed that the format was here to stay.
“I believe the game has evolved. It is a spectator sport. T20 has brought a new generation of spectators to cricket ground. The advertising,the following,it’s a whole different ball game. I appreciate the fact despite liking Test cricket. We’re playing in a different century. If it makes spectators happy then go for it. It’s exciting,” Lara said.
Saying that he’s a great fan of T20 and IPL,Ganguly said,”T20 is here to stay whatever you say. People like it or not. I am a big fan of T20 cricket and IPL. When I played my first Ranji Trophy I was paid Rs 400. But when I look at lot of these first class players who may not play for the country,they get so handsomely paid from the IPL. I’m a huge fan of that. They deserve it.
“You look at Ashok Dinda. You never know whether he would play International cricket,he would get a contract or not. But he would play 11 seasons of IPL. If he performs he will make a fortune out of it. I don’t see the millions Tendulkar and Dhoni get,I see what a Joginder Sharma,Ambati Rayudu or Dinda get.”
About his new role as a commentator,Ganguly said,”I wanted to go back to the field. I tried so many things but felt bored. My talkshow on TV is a blockbuster but I always find it boring. When you watch cricket and watch the likes of Tendulkar,Kohli,it brings happiness. Happiness and money are not related. My reason for doing commentary was to watch cricket live,that gave the most satisfaction.”
Lara,however,said commentary was not his cup of tea.