New Delhi: Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting believe that Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a lot of ability to bat and would have been a legendary batsman like Sachin Tendulkar if Mahi had the batting at the top position. Sourav, who was Dhoni's first team India captain, talked about the qualities that made him such a great player. Current BCCI president Ganguly believes that by sending Dhoni to batting at number three, Indian cricket had to make full use of his batting ability and talent.
Meanwhile, former Australian captain Ponting praised Dhoni's calm nature in difficult circumstances. Ponting, the great batsman of his time, said that Dhoni used to remain calm even in difficult situations and would not let emotions dominate his decisions on the field. It would have been more useful if Dhoni had batted at the top order.
As you know that, Ganguly was the captain of the Indian side when Dhoni made his debut. In his fifth ODI, Dhoni came out to bat at number three for the first time. He scored 148 runs against Pakistan in 2005 at Vizag. With this innings, Dhoni made his presence known in international cricket. In Jaipur the same year, he scored 183 off 145 balls, chasing 299 against Sri Lanka. This time again Dhoni batted at number three. It was the highest score by a batsman chasing runs at that time.
Ganguly said that while captaining Dhoni in the Challenger Trophy in February 2005 in Mumbai, he had decided to give him a chance at number three. Dhoni started the innings for India Seniors and scored 102 off 96 balls against India B. India Seniors were chasing 276 runs in that match.
Former captain Ganguly said, “Dhoni made a century for my team, while opening the batting in the Challenger Trophy, so I knew about his ability.” He said, “He got a chance to play at number three in Visakhapatnam, he scored a brilliant century. He played a big innings whenever he got a chance to play more overs.”
Ganguly said, “A player becomes bigger when you send him up the batting order. No player becomes big by batting at lower order. I always believe that no player becomes big by sitting in the dressing room. The type of ability he has, especially of hitting big six, was rarely seen. He changed his game towards the end of his career but the new MS Dhoni came, it was very important that he be allowed to play free.
Ganguly said that if Dhoni had batted more in the top order, he would have been a great batsman like Sachin. He said, “After retiring, I said on TV many times that Dhoni should bat above, but that did not happen. And finally I stopped saying.”
Dhoni had a batting average of 82.75 at number three and despite that he batted here on only 16 occasions and in total he only 18 times batted in the top three positions.
Dhoni, who announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, will be seen in action as the leader of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL 2020. The 13th edition of IPL will begin from September 29 in the UAE.