Mahendra Singh Dhoni is notorious for being harsh on senior cricketers. He would often lay them off as soon as he became the captain of the Indian team. However, one gesture changed a number of perspective of him.
He took over Test captaincy when Anil Kumble retired during the Border Gavaskar Trophy. Incidentally, the final Test of the series was Sourav Ganguly’s last Test match before retiring.
The Men in Blue were up against Australia at Nagpur. Australia were chasing 381 runs in fourth innings on the fifth day. In the last session, victory was almost guaranteed. Then, Dhoni suddenly asked Ganguly to lead the side for in his swansong.
In a way, it was Dhoni’s way of repaying Ganguly for giving him his first break. The Ranchi-born player had tremendous respect for his captain. To this day, it is a nostalgic moment for many Indian cricket fans and Ganguly himself.
Dada said: “I was surprised when he said that, I told him you continue but he insisted that I do it, we were going to win the match anyway it was a matter of a couple of overs. I had switched off by then, fifth day of my last Test, it was the end but he said ‘aap kar lo’. I captained for a couple of overs and handed it back to him.”
Ganguly felt a sense of pride at seeing what Dhoni has achieved in his career. This is even more amazing, considering that both players hail from a part of India with very little cricketing history. In spite of this, they went on to lead the team as two of the most successful captains in India.
“I feel really happy when I see MS because when we started playing cricket not a lot of cricketers got here form the eastern part of India. People thought these places cannot create good players. But both of us captained the team for so long and played so many matches.”