MS Dhoni vs Sourav Ganguly: Who was better Indian Cricket Team Captain
MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly are among the most prominent names in Indian cricket- both have had staggering records in their respective domains. While Ganguly is regarded as one of the most elegant players to have existed, Dhoni is widely acknowledged for his power-hitting skills in the depth overs. One is one of the most successful openers for India and among the highest scorers in one-day international cricket; the other is known for his unorthodox wicket keeping technique but is highly efficient and street smart.
But while it’s no doubt that these two players were instrumental in India’s success as individuals, one thing that is common between them is that both have been historical captains of the national team. Both of these living greats came in at different times of Indian cricket and changed the style of play for the better and are widely appreciated. While there’s a constant tussle between fans of both sets, one thing that each group believes in is that both have done tremendous jobs for the teams that they have led.
In this article, we will try and draw a comprehensive comparison between these two players, which we hope will satisfy the needs of both sets of fans. We will base this article on a wide range of sub-topics and see how they fared in each. So without any more wait, let’s begin!
Time of taking over
While judging the capabilities of a captain, a crucial point to consider is the previous team that was playing because that’s the team they will improve and incorporate their ideas and playing style into. Another thing to be found is the environment surrounding the team at that moment.
For Sourav Ganguly – The Prince of Kolkata, this was a herculean task- he came in as Captain at a point where Indian cricket was at its lowest and worst-case scenario. Corruption, match-fixing scandals, senior players and team members not taking comprehensive parts all caused huge problems. At this point, the national team needed a born leader who could drive these negative forces out of the picture and inculcate positive influence into the team. And this not be an easy job- Dada had to be totally straight with what he required, and there could be no alternatives as it was imperative for the betterment of the side.
On the other hand, if we look at Dhoni, he came in at a time wherein the state of the national team was much better than what Ganguly had to face at least comparatively- although the 2007 WC squad met a surprising exit, the overall condition was much better.
So, at the end of this category, we have to give Ganguly credit- he was faced with a lot and still came out on top and required immense courage. Many people argue that Dhoni made brave decisions in team selection, but they forget that Dhoni was brought in by Ganguly! He was the one who gave the upcoming generation something to look up to.
Style of leadership
Both the captains have a stark contrast concerning how they managed and led their teams. While Ganguly believed in aggression and showing your expression 8n field, Dhoni promoted a much more relaxed attitude. However, the time at which Ganguly came in, aggression was very much required to tackle other international teams. Former Australian captain Michael Clarke once said that “Indians always were silent towards sledging and never hit back. They were always on the receiving end.”
This changed drastically under Ganguly as he was not one to remain quiet under any circumstance. And he promoted that behaviour, among others as well. That began the change in the outlook of others towards the Indian side, and they understood that this Captain was not just going to soak it in but also give it back promptly!
The Bengal tiger always has his tail up, ready to devour the opposition.
- Navjot Singh Sidhu
This quote itself speaks volumes.
MS Dhoni Biography
On the other hand, MS Dhoni had one of the calmest demeanour ever- known widely as Captain cool; he never showed any emotions on field and was never a part of sledging. Although he generally kept quiet, he never forbade others to change Their style of play. This is a notable attribute. Dhoni was capable of remaining calm under the most strenuous conditions and never let the pressure get to him. This reflected heavily in his captaincy and made some pretty brave decisions under some of the most pressure situations and came out on top.
Let’s talk numbers!
When drawing up a comparison article, every reader wants statistics to back up the analytical data as many believe in facts over general views. And that is also going to be a part of this piece. We will divide the statistics into overall wins, away matches, ICC events and so on.
Ganguly captained India for five years (2000-2005) and was in charge of 49 Test matches and 146 one day international match. In contrast, Dhoni, on the other hand, captained in 60 Test matches and 181 one day internationals before he announced his retirement in test cricket in the 2014 Border Gavaskar Trophy. Ganguly in his time had an overall winning percentage of 42.85 in Test matches in contrast to Dhoni’s 45.00 and is behind in one-day internationals to captain cool where he has 52.05 and Dhoni has 55.80.
However, when it comes to away winning percentage Ganguly is ahead of MS Dhoni as he has an impressive 39. 28, whereas Dhoni has a meagre 20.00 in away test matches. He leads Ganguly slightly in one-day internationals though with 53.92 over his 52.72.
But the World of Cricket isn’t just restricted to domestic and international series, is it? The pinnacle of a player’s career or a captain’s career is marked by its performance at the highest stage- the World Cup. It’s no surprise that MS Dhoni leads the way here as he is the only Indian Captain to have won the ICC T20 WORLD CUP, THE ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY and, of course, the much-coveted ICC Cricket World Cup.
It’s no doubt that Dhoni has led India brilliantly in ICC tournaments not just at home but in foreign countries as well, and he deserves a lot of respect for that. His captaincy has been a crucial part of making bold decisions like giving the final over to Joginder Sharma in the 2007 T20 World Cup or deciding to come in place of Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 WC final because he knew Muralidharan too well. These decisions can make or break a career.
The Prince of Calcutta isn’t far behind in this field, though, but obviously, it is nowhere near Dhoni’s accords in ICC tournaments. He led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and lost to probably one of the best sides in world cricket. His captaincy was widely appreciated throughout the tournament. He does have an ICC Champions Trophy to his name, which is shared with Sanath Jayasuriya in 2002.
While the debate will always go on between who was more impactful or more successful, it’s essential to press on the fact that both these excellent players have done a lot for the country, and we must respect them. After all, the end result was always in favour of us.