Sourav Ganguly was one of the most influential captains in the history of Indian cricket. Ganguly, who turned 48 on Wednesday, changed the way Indian cricket was played as a more aggressive style was employed by the team under his reign. Team India, under Ganguly, had the likes Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble, and Zaheer Khan. They won Test series against all the top sides in the world while reaching the final of the 2003 World Cup.
The Test side under Ganguly beat Australia in both home and away games, as stalwarts of Indian cricket continued to make their country proud. In 2018-19, Virat Kohli-led India went a step further as his team went on to win the Test series in Australia, becoming the first Asian nation to do so. The current side under Virat Kohli have become a premier team in world cricket as well, they reached the pinnacle of both Test and ODI cricket.
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If Ganguly had the chance to pick five cricketers from the current Test side to his team, then who would he pick?
“It is a tough question as every generation the players are different. In your current team, I would have loved to had Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the side. I would not pick you (Mayank) as I had Virender Sehwag. I’ll go for Bumrah as I had Zaheer at the other end. I would also go for Mohammad Shami after Javagal Srinath retired. I had Harbhajan and Anil Kumble in my side, so Ashwin would be my third spinner. I would be tempted to have Ravindra Jadeja also,” the former India captain told Mayank Agarwal in the latest episode of ‘Open Nets with Mayank’, uploaded on BCCI website.
Under Ganguly, India managed to reach the 2003 World Cup final but lost to Australia in the summit clash. Under Kohli, India reached the 2019 World Cup semifinal but lost to New Zealand in the knockout clash, and thus, were eliminated from the tournament. Mayank also asked Ganguly to “pick three cricketers from India’s World Cup 2019 squad you would have loved to have in your World Cup 2003 squad”.
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In his response, Ganguly said: “(Virat) Kohli, Rohit Sharma and (Jasprit) Bumrah.” Explaining the reasons, Ganguly said: “The quality of fast bowler (Bumrah). We played in South Africa, although we bowled exceptionally well in that series. Bumrah, Rohit, and Virat would be in the middle. Rohit at the top, and I at no. 3. I don’t know maybe Sehwag might be listening to this and I would get a phone call tomorrow, ‘what the hell do you think’. But I would have these three in the squad,” he said.