New Delhi: Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly sacrificed his batting spot in the team for Mahendra Singh Dhoni which helped the wicketkeeper become the batsman he is today, former India opener Virender Sehwag has said.
In a TV interview, Sehwag said that had Ganguly not allowed Dhoni to bat up the order in his place, he would not have become such a great player.
"We were experimenting with the batting order at that time. We decided that if we get a good opening partnership then Sourav Ganguly would come at No.3 but if we had a bad opening stand then we would send pinch hitters like Irfan Pathan or Dhoni to accelerate the scoring rate," Sehwag told India TV in an interview.
Interestingly, it was the second time Ganguly gave up his spot for a younger player. He had earlier given up his opener’s position to Sehwag himself.
"There are very few captains who would first give away his own batting spot for Virender Sehwag and then his set spot of No.3 for Dhoni. Had Dada not done that, Dhoni would not have become such a great player. Ganguly always believed in giving chances to new players," the former explosive opener added.
Sehwag also mentioned Dravid’s role in honing the young Dhoni after taking over as captain from Ganguly in the same year.
"During Rahul Dravid’s captaincy, Dhoni got the role of a finisher. He got out a couple of times playing a bad shot and he was also reprimanded by Dravid during one instance. But from that instance, he completely changed his approach and became a very good finisher. The kind of partnerships he had with Yuvraj Singh are memorable," Sehwag was quoted as saying.
These revelations by Sehwag show the full circle the Indian cricket team has come, with Dhoni as captain often changing batting order and giving younger players a chance to bat higher up.