Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni edged out Sourav Ganguly as India’s greatest captain by the barest of all margins in a survey conducted on Star Sports show Cricket Connected in which two captains were adjudged on eight parameters which were developed in association with ESPNcricinfo.
Star Sports had conducted the survey to celebrate the birthdays of two of India’s greatest leaders on the cricket field Dhoni and Ganguly. The likes of Graeme Smith, Kumar Sangakkara, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan and Kris Srikkanth.
The results were announced in the recent episodes of the show.
Ganguly scored higher than Dhoni in four categories — captaincy away from home, transformational effects of captaincy on team, success of team handed over to the next captain and overall impact.
Dhoni scored more points in the four categories of captaincy at home, ODI captaincy, titles won and performance as batsman while captaining the team. The difference in points between the two greats came down to decimals.
“The biggest difference between Dada’s captaincy and MS’s captaincy is MS, the player for me. I think in that middle order, the ability to close games, win games, finish games in that calm that he brought to the people around him. I think for me, that is probably the biggest difference between the two heroes, is MS Dhoni,” former South Africa captain Graeme Smith said.
“If Dada had an MS type player, his team was slightly more developed, I think you would have seen him win plenty more trophies. Dada was blessed to play or not blessed to play in an era where Australian cricket was at the forefront and dominating the world game as well which at the time the team had won the most during that period,” he added.
“You can be judged on a lot of things but sometimes you have to leave something behind and I think in that sense, Dada did a lot to create a wonderful legacy for others to inherit and MS benefitted from that,” added former Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara.
“Obviously, both these guys have taken Indian cricket forward, but just purely from an impact point of view, I can only talk about MS Dhoni because he was very serious about taking Indian cricket forward,” said former India opener Gautam Gambhir.
“You are talking about two iconic figures and outstanding cricketers. It’s such small margins and it’s very difficult to debate, but I think, like Allan Border probably did in the early days of Australian cricket, setting them up for the success, I think that you have got to look at Dada here and say that what he did for Indian cricket was iconic,” opined Smith.
“MS, exceptional player, unbelievable captain, again, has moved Indian cricket forward. But the foundation for all of that was laid by Dada for me,” echoed Sangakkara.
Smith and Sangakkara chose Ganguly over Dhoni when it comes to Test cricket but agreed that they Dhoni would be their skipper in limited-overs cricket.
“From my perspective, it’s always difficult to move away from an opening batsman and a captain as challenging. I agree that when it comes to Test cricket, having played against MS, you would always felt that you had an opportunity to work him over, specially away and out of India, but I think when it comes to Test cricket, I’ll have to sit with Dada, but one-day cricket, certainly MS is my man,” said Smith.
“In one-day cricket, the ability to finish is always to me, very, very tough. So, I would go with MS for sure in limited-overs cricket, in white-ball cricket just because he batted at that tougher finisher position, but in Test cricket, without a doubt, Ganguly every day,” added Sangakkara.
(With inputs from IANS)