Exclusive: Don't judge Virat Kohli by his T20 captaincy, says Sourav Ganguly
It's been over a decade since Sourav Ganguly last played for India, but the love and admiration for him doesn't seem to have diminished. As a mentor, Ganguly is helping out youngsters in the Delhi Capitals camp during the ongoing IPL 2019.
On Sportskeeda's #MindVoice, Ganguly spoke about his role at DC, Indian cricket's present and future, and more...
As 90s kids, we saw Ganguly and Ponting go up against each other. Now, we have them working together for Delhi Capitals. How has it been for you?
It has been good. We have enjoyed it. The good thing is the team has done well so far and that's what we are here for. The players, the staff and the coaches are here to make them a successful unit. We still sledge in the dugout, but in a positive way.
As captains, you nurtured youngsters like Sehwag, Zaheer, Yuvraj. Now you have Shaw, Iyer and Pant. How different were those guys from the current ones?
They are no different. They are young, they have aspirations and they are exceptionally talented. So there's no difference.
Can you predict the Fab-5 of the future?
It's too early. I see now that Virat Kohli is the leader of the pack. To predict the Fab-5 of the future, I will need a little more time.
Any bright talent that you have spotted in this IPL?
Loads. (Rishabh) Pant, (Shubman) Gill, (Prithvi) Shaw, Riyan Parag as well. There's some exceptional talent.
Indian cricket will always produce talent because of the keenness for the sport.
How did you feel when Dhoni asked you to lead the side in your last ever Test. Did you expect it?
It's a long time; it's been 10 years. I did not expect it.
What makes Dhoni, the captain, so special?
The ability to understand the opposition as well as his own players and allowing them to deliver. That is very important. Freedom is important and I think Dhoni provides that.
On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate Captain Dhoni?
Very high. You don't rate people like that (1,2,3,4...), but he's been one of India's greatest captains.
How difficult was it to speak to Rishabh Pant after he was not included in the World Cup squad?
We spoke to him, we made him understand that these things will happen in life, in sport. It's not like he'll be picked in all the teams. I hope he plays many World Cups because he has exceptional talent.
Ambati Rayudu or Vijay Shankar - whom will you go for?
Both are good. The selectors have gone for Vijay Shankar. The debate is over there. We wish him all the luck. Somebody plays and someone misses out. I feel for Ambati Rayudu, but I think Vijay Shankar will do the job.
He is a good cricketer, he can bowl in those conditions. He has earned his place in the squad.
Do you think India have the right combination for the World Cup with three frontline pacers?
Of course. They can always have the fourth one. They actually have four in Hardik Pandya. If anything happens, it's only an eight-hour flight.
How do you see Kohli - the batsman and captain?
Exceptional. His record for India is phenomenal. Don't judge him by his T20 captaincy; his captaincy for India has been terrific.
Do you see a little Dada in Captain Kohli?
He is better than Dada. Kohli is better than Dada.
As a mentor, how difficult is to keep players like Trent Boult and Colin Munro motivated when they are not part of the playing XI?
They are great teammates. They understand team atmosphere and situations, and are just fantastic.
There's a lot of talk about wrist spinners currently. What makes them so effective in this era?
They are good, they spin the ball. They have variations. Even Harbhajan is good, he has done marvellously for CSK. It's all about quality. It's not just about wrist spin, or a certain kind of finger spin. If you're good, you're good. That's what is important.
Who is going to be India's X-factor at the World Cup?
There are a lot of X-factors. There is Kohli, the best ODI batsman. There's Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, two of the best ODI batsmen. There's Jasprit Bumrah and also the spinners. Mohammed Shami has been in terrific form in the IPL and has just got better in the last year. It is a cracking side. It's an absolutely fantastic cricket team and I wish them all the best for the World Cup.
Your favourites and dark horses for the 2019 World Cup?
India, and dark horses will be the West Indies. They are a dangerous side.
Andre Russell or Hardik Pandya - who would you have in your side?
Both. Give me both!
Did you try facing Kagiso Rabada in the nets?
I am 25 kmph slower at the moment. I can't face him in the nets.
If you play again, would you have coach Dravid or player Dravid in your side?
Player Dravid, any day.
What is administrator Ganguly's biggest challenge?
To create an atmosphere for players to get better, because the game is for the players.
There have been a lot of umpiring errors recently. Do you think technology makes it bigger than it actually is?
Umpires are human; everybody makes mistakes. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt at times.
Do you see social media moulding a cricketer in this era?
I don't think so. It's the cricket that is important.
Tell us about your association with Advanced Hair Studio.
I have been with them for 4-5 years. They have looked after my hair. They have maintained it and kept it healthy. They have their own ways of looking after it and it has been great.
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