Former India skippers Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid may have well past their prime, but they are matching the young cricketers shot for shot in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League. Particularly Ganguly, who quit international cricket four years ago. Guiding a bunch of talented youngsters seems to be his forte. Snubbed by franchises in the 2010 player auction, the Bengal captain was perhaps waiting for a window of opportunity to prove his critics wrong, yet again. His Pune Warriors occupy the fourth spot with eight points from seven outings.
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar and ex-stumper Syed Saba Karim were all praise for the role Ganguly is playing for Pune. Vengsarkar was Karim’s captain on the 1988-89 tour of the West Indies and both players have been in the same team as Ganguly later on in their careers. “Ganguly has led India for many years and so guiding a young team like Pune is not at all difficult for him. With his experience and abilities, he can guide them well and add value to the team. After all, he is one of the best captains India ever had,” said former chief selector Vengsarkar, who was instrumental in bringing back Ganguly in the India side after the Bengal man’s row with coach Greg Chappell in 2007.
Reminded about Aussie legend Shane Warne’s role for Rajasthan Royals in the first three editions, the former India skipper admitted that Ganguly is capable of playing a similar role with the Pune outfit. “Warne of course is a genius, but Ganguly also can use his experience and class to mould this unit into a winning one as he did with Team India in past. He is great student of the game and an intelligent man who cam marshall his resources well,” said Vengsarkar.
Karim, who played alongside Ganguly — both for Team India and Bengal, said: “He takes up challenges very well. He can play the same role that Warne played for Royals. What I like most about him is his understanding of the game. If you closely follow him, you will see that he is not trying to emulate anyone like Jesse Ryder, Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers. “He is just concentrating on keeping a strike rate of around 100 while batting and then contribute with the ball as well as leadership skills to provide the finishing touches.”