Every time MS Dhoni fails to deliver with the bat, a lot of discussions about his place in the team especially in the shortest format begin. Even after all the criticism, Virat Kohli has continued to back the former Indian skipper. Sourav Ganguly hailed Kohli’s support for Dhoni and said that the way he tackles the situation is “fantastic”.
“He (Kohli) is a fantastic captain. I don’t know what he does inside dressing room or what he does tactically, as I’m too far away (from the team). I don’t know what he speaks in team meetings but the way he looks after his players is remarkable,” Ganguly said during a book launch in Kolkata.
“I keep saying about MS Dhoni and what I see of Virat on MS is fantastic. A champion player (Dhoni) who’s probably on his last leg of his career and Virat coming and saying that he’s my man and I want him to play. You just change a player,” he added.
Talking about his captaincy, Ganguly said that Kohli is a champion player and is someone who wants to win in every given situation.
“He’s top class cricketer, one of the best India have produced for a long long time. He reaches out, he handles it well. I like Virat Kohli and when I see him on the field, I sit on my sofa and watch. I’ve said it many times he’s a champion player. When I see him captaining India, he wants to win in all conditions. He’s very passionate,” said Ganguly
“Everyone has their own style. You have to allow an individual to blossom, allow to deliver,” he added.
Ganguly, however, admitted that India’s real test will begin when they would travel outside.
“But I keep saying you always be judged how you do outside India. Of all our wins, Pakistan was good as well. It’s the belief we had of winning way that’s the legacy. After Dravid took over captaincy, we went to England and won there in 2007, so it’s the belief we can win away,” he said.
Ganguly went down memory lane and talked about Natwest Trophy final in 2002 where India defeated England. Chasing a formidable 326, Ganguly-led Indian team were off to a flying start but lost momentum in between and were reduced to 5/146. But a steady partnership between Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh provided resistance and India eventually won the final by 2 wickets.
“We had a terrific start and then Ronnie Irani came to bowl his slow medium bowlers. I told Sehwag ‘dont leave at this stage’,” he said.
“Ronnie pitched it up and Sehwag scored a boundary. I told him to rotate a strike, he scored two more and also swept another. I finally stopped going at him, he understood that I am not happy. Later he told me ‘don’t get angry all those balls were ‘hittable’. Captaincy is not about being boss, also about holding back your tempers.”
“Before that we had lost three finals. A lot of that expression after the game was a sigh of relief. I just got carried away,” he said.