In the current era, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are two of the most polarising figures not only in Indian cricket but also in the sport as a whole. But the credit to revive the Indian cricket team from choppy waters in the last decade or so goes to Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni.
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The Prince of Kolkata resuscitated the Indian team from the despair of the spot-fixing scandal they suffered in 2000. Under Sourav Ganguly, the men in blue found their feet, and he led India to some of the famous Test victories even overseas. Along with captaincy, the left-hander also led from the front with his bat.
On the other hand, there is very little that Mahendra Singh Dhoni hasn’t achieved in his illustrious career. While his captaincy in red-ball cricket doesn’t spell an impressive record, the veteran gave India their first T20 World Cup in 2007 after their World Cup debacle. He also handed India the first ODI World Cup after 28 years, and a Champions Trophy for good measure.
However, certain players fell out of favour from Ganguly’s era in Dhoni’s era. The wicketkeeper-batsman had his own take while backing up the players. He modelled his team in a way that Dhoni found appropriate to lead, and few players hardly had Dhoni’s backing.
We at Cricket Addictor will take a look at five players who made their debut under Sourav Ganguly but weren’t given many chances under MS Dhoni’s leadership:
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Mohammad Kaif shot into the limelight, having led India to victory in the U19 World Cup. The right-hander won a Test cap soon after that; however, he was a limited-overs specialist. A vital cog in the middle-order till 2005, the Uttar Pradesh lad scored consistently for the Indian side.
Following a woeful run in the year 2006 in ODI cricket in which his average stood less than 20, he faced an axe from the 50-over squad. However, he continued to chalk up good numbers in Tests that year, averaging 63.40. But even that wasn’t enough for him to win a permanent place in the Test team.
The right-hander could never feature under MS Dhoni’s captaincy. Kaif was also one of the energetic fielders, capable of effecting run-outs and taking high-flying catches Finally, he announced his retirement in July 2018, having played his last international match in 2006.