Comparisons between captains of yesteryear are not uncommon in cricket, especially in India, where Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni fans are often at loggerheads as to who was the better leader.
While both had their highs and lows through their periods as leaders, Ganguly and Dhoni are considered to be among the most effective Indian skippers in the modern age.
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, however, believes that Ganguly would have benefitted a lot more from having a player like Dhoni in his team.
Speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Smith discussed ODI captaincy record of Ganguly and Dhoni, “The biggest difference between Dada’s captaincy and MS’s captaincy is MS, the player for me. I think in that middle order, the ability to close games, win games, finish games in that calm that he brought to the people around him. I think for me, that is probably the biggest difference between the two heroes, is MS Dhoni.
If Dada had an MS type player, his team was slightly more developed, I think you would have seen him win plenty more trophies. Dada was blessed to play or not blessed to play in an era where Australian cricket was at the forefront and dominating the world game as well which at the time the team had won the most during that period.”
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According to Smith, a stalwart in South African cricket, there is very little point in debating between Ganguly and Dhoni.
“You are talking about two iconic figures and outstanding cricketers. It’s such small margins and it’s very difficult to debate, but I think, like Allan Border probably did in the early days of Australian cricket, setting them up for the success, I think that you have got to look at Dada here and say that what he did for Indian cricket was iconic.”
However, in terms of red-ball cricket, Smith says the memories of Ganguly leading the team in his inimitable way stand out a lot more.
“The memories that come to mind is that he (Ganguly) brought a hardness that perception wise hadn’t been there before. He was certainly quite a fiery character on the field and he certainly was a huge pillar in the strength of Indian cricket and where it’s gone to today.”