Top 5 Reasons Why Saurav Ganguly is considered one of India’s Best Captains Ever

Top 5 Reasons Why Saurav Ganguly is considered one of India’s Best Captains Ever

The Role of the captain cannot be measured and quantified.  The captain’s role and involvement in the team winning a game of cricket is highly underrated.

Saurav Ganguly, a captain by chance surprisingly took the role ease and brought in changes during his tenure to make him one of India’s best captains ever.

Presented By: Raghunath Nair



Saurav Ganguly

While the game is a simple game of bat and ball, how the game is controlled and played solely depends on the strategy taken by the captain on the field.

Captains sometimes have a very thankless job. They are blamed for the team’s loss but not given a similar credit to the team’s win.

Indian cricket has been blessed with very astute Cricket Captains in its rich history who have through their sheer captaincy skills, taken impromptu unorthodox decisions to outfox the opposition or have taken long-term decisions to shape the way the game is played today.

Captains create a sense of belief in the system and ensure the best possible results from each member of the playing eleven.

Saurav Ganguly’s team-building abilities, impartiality, and bravery in supporting his team members through thick and thin made him a trendsetter in Indian Cricket. He also instilled a sense of aggression in the team.

Here is a look at some moments in cricket history where Saurav’s contribution as a captain gave him legendary status in Indian Cricket.


Building a team after the match-fixing scandal and putting faith in young talent

Captain with young talent

Saurav Ganguly took over the Indian Captaincy when Indian cricket was hit by match-fixing scandals. Sachin Tendulkar was not keen to continue as captain and wanted to focus on his health and batting.

When he was given captaincy, Indian cricket was at its lowest and in shambles.

He reorganized the team, radiated confidence in all the players, and built a team that became a world-beater.

He invested in talents like Sehwag, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan, Yuvaraj, and MS Dhoni. He gave them a long rope to cement themselves in the cricket team which was unlike past Indian teams.

He was a courageous, no-nonsense captain and was truly a great captain who changed the course of Indian cricket.


Building a fighting spirit in the team and making the team confident to win in foreign tours

Lords celebration

The iconic image of Ganguli celebrating India’s win by taking off his shirt in the Lords Balcony was not just about a tit-for-tat celebration. It was also a message to the world the power of Indian cricket for years to come.

It was Ganguly who taught India how to win overseas matches. He had the highest percentage of wins away from home in both ODIs and Tests compared to all other Indian captains before him.




Saurav Ganguly choosing to bat on a cloudy Headingley

Headingley Test

Saurav Ganguly believed in playing his best playing eleven and put a lot of faith in his spinners. In a green top Headingley wicket, Saurav Ganguly played both his spinners for the 3rd Test of the 2002 England tour. Unfortunately, for the Indian team, the gloomy cloudy weather only turned the pitch more towards the fast bowler’s favor.

Saurav Ganguly shockingly elected to bat in a green top under overcast conditions. The captain wanted to bring in his spinners in the fourth innings which meant after winning the toss, India chose to bat in the bowling-friendly wicket.

Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were lethal bowlers in the fourth and fifth day of test matches.

Batting first proved to be a masterstroke as a highly motivated Indian batting lineup scored a mammoth 628 runs in the first innings.

Anil Kumble picked up 4 wickets in the final innings. India went on to win the cricket by an innings and 46 runs.

This was one of the epic wins overseas for Team India which gave them the much-needed confidence in alien conditions.


Virender Sehwag – India’s Test opener

Virender Sehwag

Another masterstroke from Saurav Ganguly was to promote middle-order batsman Virender Sehwag to open in Test.

Virender Sehwag was not known for his technique but for his swashbuckling innings in the limited-overs format. Many pundits in the game considered this move as a blunder as facing the new ball required a tighter batting technique.

The Skipper gave him the courage and backing.

This move turned out to be a masterstroke as Sehwag became one of the world’s best openers and through his aggressive style of batting changed the way the traditional game is played. His aggressive batting helped India dominate and win Test Cricket.


Rahul Dravid- Taking on the ODI wicket-keeper Role

Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid was considered one of the best Test batsmen in the world. He was called the Wall for his doggedness in Test Cricket. He was not a natural ODI player but had proved enough to have a place in the team. Ganguly however felt that the team needed an extra batsman to strengthen the batting lineup.

To accommodate an additional batsman, Ganguly asked Dravid to take the wicketkeeper’s role. Not a natural Wicketkeeper, Rahul did agree for the team’s cause.

This change helped India to play an additional batsman/ allrounder which strengthened the playing eleven.


Sending VVS ahead of Rahul Dravid in the second innings of the Kolkata Test

Kolkata Test

In India’s follow-on innings, Ganguly sent VVS Laxman ahead of Rahul Dravid to counter the Aussie and attack the Bowling attack. VVS looked the most comfortable in India’s First innings.

This move ended up being a strategic success as VVS Laxman made a gritty 281. Rahul Dravid who later joined VVS at the crease batted the entire day and scripted a 376-run stand for the fifth wicket to put a hold on Australia’s winning run at the Eden Gardens.

India went on to win the Kolkata Test by 171 runs despite following on in the first innings against the mighty Australians. A Rare feat in Test Cricket



Ganguly captain who shaped imadian cricket


As a captain, he led India in 49 test matches. Out of this, India won 21 matches, lost 13, and drew 15 matches with a win percentage of 42.85.  Ganguly quickly became the most successful captain in Indian cricket history.

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