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5 reasons why Sourav Ganguly was a better captain than MS Dhoni

  • MS Dhoni is widely considered India's best captain, but was Ganguly better?
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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 15:07 IST

ODI: India v South Africa

In cricket, it is difficult to compare captains. There is an axiom which says ‘A captain is as good as his team.’ While it generally holds true, there have been skippers who raised the performance of their teams while others, far from improving it, may have adversely affected it.

When it comes to Indian cricket, the debate on who is the greatest Indian captain of all time has been raging intensely for decades. While many old-timers accord that distinction to Nawab Pataudi Junior, others believe Kapil Dev is a better claimant to the title.

In modern times, Sourav Ganguly emerged as a transformational figure in Indian cricket and has legions of supporters but in the last few years, the majority opinion seems to have gone in favour of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

But a closer analysis of the records and achievements of these two former captains and their methods reveal that while Dhoni’s numbers as a captain may be better on many parameters when compared to Ganguly, when it comes to an overall estimation of their leadership, Ganguly wins hands down.

If you are not convinced, here are five reasons to prove the superiority of the ‘Prince of Kolkata’:

A better vision as a leader

First Test - Australia v India

Sourav Ganguly wanted India to win outside the Indian subcontinent

The vision that a captain has for his team matters as much as anything else. In this regard, Ganguly was far better than Dhoni as he realized that winning at home was not enough to be considered a great team.

This was crucial as he took over the reins of the side after the 1990s where India bullied visiting sides on square-turning wickets but were utterly hopeless abroad. Ganguly set out to change this notion and achieved great success, recording Test victories in various countries where India had been winless for ages.

A great example of Ganguly’s attitude was his refusal in 2003 to resort to the tactic of preparing dustbowls for a home series vs New Zealand even though the Kiwis had presented India with excessively green tracks when they hosted the Indian side. This showed that Ganguly was intent on not relying on conditions for success and he boldly declared that his team could beat New Zealand on good pitches.


Dhoni, on the other hand, presided over a team that was repeatedly humiliated abroad 2011 onwards. He even made a statement in England to the effect that since India play most of their cricket at home, victories away are good but not necessary. Following this, his insistence on having square-turning wickets at home for visiting teams and the reintroduction of the 90s formula took Indian cricket back to the bad old days. Clearly, Dhoni lacked the vision that Ganguly had.

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Published 03 Mar 2018, 22:31 IST
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