The journey of Indian cricket can be split into two halves – before and after the match-fixing controversy in 2000, which stained the proud heritage and culture of the ‘Men in Blue’.
It was legendary captain, Sourav Ganguly, who took over the helms during a turbulent period in Indian cricket.
More importantly, Ganguly introduced the habit of winning games abroad within the Indian side. Before his regime, Indians were renowned for crumbling under pressure, in challenging overseas conditions.
Even former England captain, Nasser Hussain, during a recent interaction, detailed how ‘Dada’ made the transition in the Indian team.
According to Hussain, India was a ‘nice team’ with fantastic players. But it was Ganguly who was responsible for making a tough team out of it.
Hussain made the revelation in conversation with Harsha Bhogle when asked to compare various Indian captains.
“Before Sourav, India was a nice team, great players, Azhar, Javagal Srinath, they had some fantastic players, but before Sourav, they were a nice team. Very sort of ‘good morning, how you doing’, you know a bit like you Harsha to be honest (light-hearted tone), very nice (and) pleasant. Ganguly made them a tough team,” Hussain told Bhogle during an online interaction.
Under Ganguly, India started winning matches in England, Australia, Pakistan and other countries while touring abroad. Ganguly also shared the 2002 Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka with the host and came heartbreakingly close to clinch the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
Further, the Englishman held current Indian captain Virat Kohli responsible for improving the overall fitness of the Indian team and promoting a ‘winning’ mentality.
“In red-ball cricket, there are so many boxes to be ticked. I think the way Kohli has driven India, you know their fitness, change in culture, and their winning mentality is all down to Kohli.
Furthermore, Hussain named Kane Williamson as his favourite captain overall, and England’s ODI captain Eoin Morgan as the best white-ball captain.