Sourav Ganguly names three players from India’s 2019 World Cup squad he would pick in 2003 WC team
Under Ganguly, India reached 2003 World Cup final but lost to Australia in the summit clash. Under Kohli, India reached 2019 World Cup semifinal but lost to New Zealand in the knockout clash, and thus, were eliminated from the tournament.
On papers, India’s 2003 World Cup squad looks equally strong as compared to India’s 2019 World Cup squad. The side led by Sourav Ganguly in 2003 had experienced top-order batsmen such as Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Ganguly. Virat Kohli’s team in 2019 also had a strong top-order with Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli himself. Ganguly’s pace bowling department looked strong with four top-class seamers in Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Ajit Agarkar and veteran Javagal Srinath. Kohli had Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami - all at top of their game. Ganguly’s spin department was sorted with veterans Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, while Kohli’s spin bowling options were Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.
Under Ganguly, India managed to reach the 2003 World Cup final but lost to Australia in the summit clash. Under Kohli, India reached 2019 World Cup semifinal but lost to New Zealand in the knockout clash, and thus, were eliminated from the tournament.
But if given an option, would the two captains want to pick any player from each other’s teams in their squad? This was precisely the question that a fan asked current BCCI president Ganguly.
“Pick three cricketers from India’s World Cup 2019 squad you would have loved to have in your World Cup 2003 squad and give reasons?,” Mayank Agarwal read the question from the fan on chat show ‘DadaOpensWithMayank’, uploaded on BCCI official Twitter handle.
In his response, Ganguly said: “(Virat) Kohli, Rohit Sharma and (Jasprit) Bumrah.” Explaining the reasons, Ganguly said: “The quality of fast bowler (Bumrah). We played in South Africa, although we bowled exceptionally well in that series. Bumrah, Rohit and Virat would be in the middle. Rohit at the top, and I at no. 3. I don’t know maybe Sehwag might be listening to this and I would get a phone call tomorrow, ‘what the hell do you think’. But I would have these three in the squad,” he said.
Ganguly further added that he would have picked MS Dhoni if given another option. “MS Dhoni also - but since you gave me three choices, I would have managed with Rahul Dravid behind the stumps, because I think he did a great job in the World Cup,” he said.