Sourav Ganguly fought with anyone to back his players: Ashish Nehra
Every captain is different and there is no doubt about it. I have been asked this question several times by the media or even when we are commentating that who is the best Indian captain ever, is it Sourav Ganguly or MS Dhoni?” Nehra said.
Former India paceman Ashish Nehra had a long international career, which spanned two decades. In these two decades Nehra reached the final of the ICC World Cup twice, finishing as a runner-up in 2003 and winning it in 2011. The left-arm paceman from Delhi though couldn’t live up to his potential due to a spate of injuries which restricted the number of matches he played for India. He though played under several captains. When asked about who was the best captain he played under by Akash Chopra on his show Aakashvani, Nehra had an interesting take on the issue.
“Every captain is different and there is no doubt about it. I have been asked this question several times by the media or even when we are commentating that who is the best Indian captain ever, is it Sourav Ganguly or MS Dhoni?
“I tell them India played cricket before the 2000s and there were captains like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Venkataraghavan and Ajit Wadekar as well. We tend to live in the present and forget the past. If you ask someone like Mohinder Amarnath or Madan Lal, they will name either Kapil Dev or Sunil Gavaskar. If you ask Sunny bhai (Gavaskar) he will say Ajit Wadekar.
“No one talks about Mohammed Azharuddin. He captained India in three World Cups, the most by anyone. So, I feel every era is different,” Nehra said.
Nehra played the most under Ganguly and Dhoni and he spoke about both of them.
“Among those I have played under I can only talk about Ganguly and Dhoni as a player as I didn’t play for long enough under the others. Both knew how to get the best out of their players.
“Ganguly had the challenge of creating a new team while Dhoni had a great coach like Gary Kirsten and he had a team that was ready. His challenge was to lead so many senior players.
“The good thing about Dada (Ganguly) was that he would mark the players he knew he had to back and he would go to the extent of fighting with the selectors and speaking to the president to back them.
“Dhoni was a very calculative captain. He wasn’t impulsive and stayed calm. He used to try and give as much opportunity as he could to the players. He forged a great partnership with Kirsten. He had the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Harbhajan in his team. Even in the 2007 WT20 he had to lead a team that had seniors. You have to appreciate him for the way he handled himself and the team,” Nehra added.
Nehra played 164 international matches for India across formats.