Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was renowned for giving ample opportunities to talented youngsters and was instrumental in making them stars, backing them as his match-winners.
Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag was one of the favourites for Ganguly, who had a set of players in his vision for the World Cup title.
Others being Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh. All the players went on to win the 2011 World Cup under Dhoni’s captaincy.
However, not everyone who debuted under Ganguly could make their berth permanent in the Indian side for a long time.
Former Test opener, Aakash Chopra, was one of them who featured for only 10 Test matches before his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir was given a go at by the selectors.
Chopra narrated an incident where Dada backed Viru but demanded runs, following an extended lean patch.
“Viru, after scoring a lot of runs initially, had a big dry patch very early in his career. Sourav Ganguly had gone to Viru and told him to make runs that day else he would not be able to play him again. Fortunately, he scored a century in that game. So, Sourav Ganguly also backed him a lot,” Chopra told Cric Cast.
After the humiliating loss to Australia at home in 2004, Chopra believed that someone had to be made the scapegoat. Therefore, he, along with Parthiv Patel, faced the axe.
“Australia had come to India and defeated us in 2004, so someone had to go. So I went and along with me Parthiv Patel also went,” he said.
Further, Chopra claimed that even the members of the Fab four struggled in the series, but no one could remove them, due to their past reputation.
“The unfortunate fact is that everyone fails – even Sachin, Rahul and Sourav were failing – but they had done such huge things in the past that no one can touch them and they should not be touched also. They have earned the right to play for longer. So to correct the optics, some pawns need to be dropped and I was one of them,” Chopra concluded.