MS Dhoni might have won the 2007 T20 Word Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup as a captain, but there is a perception that most of the players who played key roles in those two world triumphs for India were developed by the former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly.
Here are the 5 players who were developed by Ganguly, but benefitted Dhoni –
#1 Yuvraj Singh:
Yuvraj Singh’s contribution in WT20 2007 and ODI World Cup 2011 is unforgettable. He played two of the most impactful knocks in WT20 2007, one against England and one against Australia to drive India to the final where they beat Pakistan to win the tournament.
And then Yuvraj was again the man of the tournament in ODI World Cup in 2011 for his outstanding performance with both bat and ball. Yuvraj had made his debut under Ganguly and had played 4 years under him.
#2 Zaheer Khan:
It was Ganguly who used Zaheer with the new ball at the start of his career and gave him the license to bowl aggressively and look for wickets rather than containing the batsman.
Zaheer might not have been able to win the World Cup for India in 2003 under Ganguly’s captaincy, but he eventually did it under Dhoni’s captaincy in 2011. Zaheer was the highest wicket-taker in ODI World Cup 2011.
#3 Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag was not quite consistent in the two World Cups that India won, but the tempo that he set at the top of the order just pushed the opposition bowling attack on the defense. A very good example of that is the semi-final of the ODI World Cup 2011.
Sehwag didn’t score a fifty in that game, but the way he attacked Pakistan’s main bowler Umar Gul at the start of the innings, Gul never recovered from that. Sehwag, who was also developed by Ganguly, was a huge force at the top of the order for Dhoni’s team.
#4 Irfan Pathan
Irfan Pathan was only a teenager when he broke into the Indian team after the ODI World Cup 2003. He played under Ganguly’s captaincy for only a couple of years, but he still credits Ganguly for the kind of bowler he became.
Pathan, later in 2007, put on a match winning performance for India with the ball in the final of the T20 World Cup against Pakistan. He was adjudged the man of the match for his three-wicket haul in that game.
#5 Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh was not a very frequent wicket-taker in the two World Cups that India won, but he did play a huge role for India’s Test team under Dhoni’s captaincy.
Harbhajan had made a name for himself under Ganguly by grabbing 30 wickets in a 3-match Test series against Australia in 2001 and later under Dhoni, he just went from strength to strength as a Test match bowler.
Harbhajan, who has still not retired, has got more than 400 wickets in Test match cricket for India.