Warne doubts Ganguly's leadership, batting skills

Shane Warne could not camouflage his dislike for Sourav Ganguly in whom he found neither the hallmarks of a great batsman nor an extraordinary leader.

updated: December 02, 2008 10:33 IST
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Shane Warne has good things to say for almost all the top-100 cricketers of his choice in his book but could not camouflage his dislike for former India captain Sourav Ganguly in whom he found neither the hallmarks of a great batsman nor an extraordinary leader.

"Sourav Ganguly might not be my cup of tea as a bloke, but what he did for Indian cricket has to be respected," he said justifying the Indian's inclusion in his book 'Shane Warne's Century'.

"He is a feisty sort of character, not short of self-confidence or unaware of his standing in Indian life. He is regarded over there, especially around his teeming home city of Calcutta, as one of the greatest ever Indian captains. They won more games under him than anybody else, so I guess the statistics back that up. Personally, I am not so sure," he said.

"I think he had some outstanding players and solid characters in the team. Do you need to be a great leader to win games with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble in the ranks. Tactically, he was not among the best leaders I came up against, and his management skills left a bit to be desired."

Warne felt Ganguly was not outstanding as a batsman and said even minnows Bangladesh tried to encash on his vulnerability to short-pitched bowling.

"I think that every bowling attack in the world, even Bangladesh, has tried to get him with the short ball or has placed a couple of gullies for those left-handed slashes that he likes."

"Maybe his strength is in one-day cricket, where there are strict rules on the use of bouncers... He can also play some glorious looking drives with perfect timing, like most of the Indian batmen," Warne said.

"...But he did have the knack of rubbing up opponents (and even teammates when he went to Lancashire) the wrong way without seeming to try very hard.

"When we arrived in India in 2000, in the middle of our really good run, he said that we had only beaten weak teams in the past. Funny, that, as India were one of them."

Warne also does not seem to have pardoned Ganguly for making then Australia captain Steve Waugh wait for the toss in the 2000 Kolkata Test.

"He would also be late for the toss and then walk off on his own without waiting for Steve Waugh, our captain. To be a minute or so behind because an issue crops up is one thing, but more than that is just taking the mickey.

"He will say that the results are in the book and, yes, India did beat us in that series -- thanks, I would say, to a great stand between Laxman and Dravid at Calcutta and Harbhajan's bowling rather than any tactical genius on Ganguly's part."

Warne also took a dig at Ganguly, saying "Supporters know him as the Prince of Calcutta'. The story is that he gave himself the nickname and it stuck."

Ditto were his feelings for former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, whom, Warne has confessed, he did "not like" and found "irritating".

"Through gritted teeth, I have put Arjuna Ranatunga in my 100... because everybody knows I don't like Ranatunga... if there was any way I could knock him down to number 101 for the purposes of this book, I'd be delighted to do so," Warne wrote.

"The basic problem I had with Ranatunga was his attitude towards the game. He didn't play cricket in the right spirit and tried to manipulate the laws and regulations without actually breaking them," he said.

"I can remember occasions when he led his team off the field because he was unhappy with an umpiring decision, ordered an umpire where to stand behind the wicket, called for a runner by faking injury to disguise his own fitness - he looked as though he'd swallowed a sheep - and told his teammates not to shake our hands after a match..."

Warne felt Ranatunga enjoyed being known for his autocratic ways and the Sri Lankan was clear that he was not out there "to win popularity contest".

"He was described as a little Napoleon early in his captaincy career and I think he took it as a praise... he was so irritating... I have not heard a good word for him from a single international player outside Sri Lanka."

The spin wizard found it funny that Ranatunga idolised former Australia skipper Allan Border.

"It was funny to see him puffing and panting after a chase. He once said that he based his game and attitude on Allan Border. Border would be horrified to know that," he said but added "Putting all the baggage aside, he was quite a talented batsman, especially against spin."