“I have huge respect for Sourav Ganguly, I have great respect for the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and I think Gautam Gambhir should have led the Indian team a lot more as well than he did,” Pathan told cricket.com. “He could have been a really good leader. I really admire Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, but that doesn’t mean, I don’t admire the quality of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.”
Gambhir proved his credentials as a leader taking Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles, ending their years of underachievement despite having several superstars among their ranks.
Pathan rejected the notion that he’s not a fan of Dhoni’s captaincy since he doesn’t talk about it much. “People don’t talk about Rahul Dravid as much. So, people who don’t talk about Rahul Dravid as much, do they dislike him? No. Under his captaincy, India won 16 consecutive ODIs while chasing. Sometimes it gets under the wrap,” he said.
“As a winning captain, as a result-oriented captain and the guy who got the result, who had an excellent team, it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni,” he added.
During his international career, Pathan played under several captains but he rates Sourav Ganguly above everyone else since he gave chances to several youngsters and made fans fall in love with the Indian team again.
“He (Ganguly) wanted to make sure that he built the team. I remember Yuvraj Singh was struggling at the start of his career for quite a few matches. Ganguly backed him. He knew that if I back this guy, some amazing things can happen in the future and certainly it did happen. Not only Yuvraj, Ganguly also backed youngsters like Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan,” he said.
Ganguly was handed the reins of the Indian team after the 2000 match-fixing scandal broke that ended the career of the then captain Mohammed Azharuddin.
“He (Ganguly) built the team when the India team was in a slump. People did not love cricket because it was a tough time for cricket in India. Making people love the Indian cricket team again, the credit should be given to Sourav Ganguly. That is why if we talk about leader, he was the leader of the players. Ganguly had only one agenda. To make sure Indian team grows. Nothing else,” Pathan opined.