I see a lot of myself in Dhoni: Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly says he sees a lot of himself in Dhoni and reckons that the new captain will go on to better his record and further enhance India's stature.

updated: November 14, 2008 15:58 IST
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Arguably the most successful Indian skipper ever, Sourav Ganguly says he sees a lot of himself in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and reckons that the charismatic new captain will go on to better his record and further enhance India's stature in international cricket.

"He has done fantastically well. Captaincy is a task, it's not just about being a good player. He will be tested when India plays abroad and if the boys do well under him then it will be great. I am sure he will take Indian cricket forward," said Ganguly, whose last Test saw India clinching the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the fourth and final match.

"I did what I felt was right. I'm a captain who did not believe in the drawing board but react to what happens on the field of play. I see a lot of myself in Dhoni. He also doesn't like meetings. In fact he sees things better than me. He has also had a bit of luck that a captain needs," he added.

Ganguly said a captain is only as good as his team but he did have a huge role to play in enhancing India's reputation.

"Most important thing is that a captain is as good as a player. Raising India's image in world cricket especially as a touring side is my legacy in Indian cricket. We, at present, are a formidable side both home and away," he said.

Ganguly said he would not be missing the Indian dressing room as he was leaving with happy memories of being part of a team that beat the world's best side 2-0 in the series.

"I don't think I would miss the dressing room. I have had a good innings and it's time to leave. I am leaving with happy memories that it ended with a win for India. A 2-0 win over the world's best team was the best that could have happened after all the doubts arising after the Sri Lanka series (where India lost)", Ganguly said.

"I have played well and the team has played outstandingly well. To win the series 2-0 was very satisfying. We had dominated (the proceedings) after the first Test (at Bangalore)," said the former captain.

Ganguly, who was asked to lead the team on the field for a brief while when India was close to winning the fourth and final Test against Australia before being chaired off the ground after India's 172-run win, said he would forever cherish the moments that he lived on his last day.

"In terms of team performance the way this Test has finished was one of the best ever. I want to cherish it for long. Everyone has chipped in throughout the series. Somehow we manage to pick up when we play against Australia," said the veteran of 113 Tests.

"I enjoyed my last few days and the last few hours. I was asked to lead for five overs, did it for three overs and then told Dhoni that it was not my job," he said.

The stylish left-hander side-stepped queries on past controversies like his public spat with former coach Greg Chappell.

"Let's keep the controversies aside. It's a happy day for Indian cricket. The past is past, let's not talk about it," he said.

Ganguly said the first-ball duck in the second innings didn't disappoint him as much as missing a hundred by 15 runs in the first innings.

"I am not disappointed with the first-ball duck, getting out on 85 in the first innings was more disappointing as I was so close to a hundred. I don't think the last duck has made it (my career) any more dramatic, it's been dramatic anyway," he put it succinctly.

Ganguly said he rated the 100 on debut at Lord's against England in 1996 as his most cherished innings. He said the blazing century he made against Australia as captain in the 2004 series at Brisbane was also close to his heart.

"The first Test hundred at Lord's is always special to me. The 2001 series against Australia here and the 2004 series against them in Australia are my best series. We have won in Pakistan and England but to win against Australia is always special," he said.

Ganguly did not want to talk about the way things panned out last time in Nagpur against Australia when he had to pull out at the last minute due to a thigh strain and India lost under Rahul Dravid on a green-top wicket to squander the series for the first time in 35 years on home soil to the world champions.

"I don't want to go into the past. Nagpur has always been a happy hunting ground for India," he said curtly.

Ganguly said that the Indian team's performance between 2000 and 2005 was fantastic and lauded contemporaries Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh for contributing so much to the good run.

"Because of our performance between 2000-2005 the respect for our team in the cricket world has gone up tremendously. I had the support of players like Sachin, Rahul, Anil, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh," he said about his captaincy years.

Ganguly also had words of praise for young fast bowler and man of the series Ishant Sharma.

"He has an outstanding future ahead of him. But the selectors need to strike the right balance and give him breaks at the right time. But there's no need to over-protect him," Ganguly declared while adding that he had a lot of faith in S Sreesanth too, who has been out of cricket action since June.

Asked whether he intended to write a book, he said it was too early to say. "I need to take some time off, be with my family," he said.