'MS Dhoni inspired a whole generation of players,' says Sourav Ganguly
- MS Dhoni quit international cricket in 2020
- IPL 2023 could be Dhoni's final season
- Ganguly is Delhi Capitals' director of cricket
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly heaped praise on MS Dhoni for his impact on a generation of cricketers.
Dhoni's contribution is not restricted to just the number of matches he played for India but also the way he inspired a whole generation of players, Ganguly said at the Sportstar East Sports Conclave in Kolkata on Monday.
"When you speak about MS Dhoni, it's not just about the matches he has played. It's the impact that he has had on Indian cricket. I met him a couple of days ago in Mumbai; we both were shooting. He's an absolute champion. One of the all-time greats of Indian cricket, winning World Cups, coming from the state of Ranchi which hardly produced any players," Ganguly said during the Sportstar East Sports Conclave.
Speaking further, Ganguly said that he and Dhoni have proved many wrong who believed there was not much cricketing talent in the eastern side of our country.
Further explaining Dhoni's impact, Ganguly took the example of young Ishan Kishan, who also hails from Dhoni's state of Jharkhand. Many also believe that Kishan could go on to be Dhoni's heir considering the similar attacking styles of both batters – and Ganguly reckons that was made possible because of what Dhoni achieved as captain.
"I feel proud - I can't keep saying it - that two of India's pretty successful captains came from a part of the country where people thought cricket wasn't at its best. That's where MS Dhoni comes in; he's actually changed a generation of players around him to believe that 'I can be successful' from here. Look at Ishan Kishan, look at the way he plays international cricket," Ganguly, who also served as the BCCI chief, further added.
Ganguly, known as one of the best captains in the history of India's cricket, was surpassed by Dhoni in every aspect. The wicketkeeper-batsman went on to become the first-ever international captain to win all the ICC white-ball trophies: T20 World Cup, Cricket World Cup, and Champions Trophy.
Nevertheless, Ganguly and Dhoni will always have a special place in Indian cricketing history for the way they supported players. Virat Kohli made his India debut in 2008 under Dhoni's captaincy, much like Dhoni first played under Ganguly's leadership. Had it not been for Ganguly, who knows how long Dhoni might have had to wait?
Dhoni retired from international cricket in August 2020. Ganguly, who recently quit as BCCI's chief, has been appointed as the director of cricket by Delhi Capitals (DC) for the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season while Dhoni will continue to lead the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The upcoming season could be Dhoni's final appearance in the tournament.