In the history of Indian cricket, only a few captains and players will stand out as truly great and outstanding! In terms of captains, until now, only FOUR really stand out in my eyes:
- Ajit Wadekar
- Kapil Dev
- Saurav Ganguly
They were the only captains who could believe that their team can win despite all odds.. in fact even at times where winning looked like a fairy tale or fantasy! Here is what Srikkanth had to say about how Kapil approached the 1983 World Cup campaign:
“Kapil addressed the team meeting and said, boys, we have beaten the West Indies once in the tour we had before this and we can beat them again today. I told myself, this guy has gone bonkers. Beat the West Indies? That’s not possible. But Kapil is an aggressive guy, he was insistent …chhodna nahin, he told us. And that team meeting is what made us believe in ourselves. People say we became a champion side after we won the world cup, but no, we became a champion side after that team meeting. Only Kapil Dev was responsible for that achievement, he made us believe we could do it”
“We played all our roles and Kapil led from the front. Remember that match against Zimbabwe when we were 17 for 5. Any other captain would have buckled under and played safe. Not Kapil. He only knew one way to play. By being aggro”
Now, look at Ganguly. He was thrown out with the mastermind of Greg Chappel.. but he is back. And back as a batsman and a bowler. Not did he do well, against Pakistan he became the Man of the Series and became one of the few Double Centurions of India. During his captainship, he was THE most aggressive captain that led around the world! So much so that his opponents almost hated him! He used to back his players specially the youngsters to the hilt – even taking up fights against that group of jokers and idiots called the BCCI and the Selectors! He has been a revelation.
Following his outstanding performance in the series against Pakistan, Sourav Ganguly entered into the top-20 of ICC Test rankings for batsmen for the first time in seven years. The left-hander notched up two centuries, one fifty at an average of 89.00 to earn the Player of the Series award and jump four places to 20th in the ICC list.
I just wish we could have a few more of the likes of him and Kapil in the Indian public life. These are the real men… who can stand up and have “balls” to fight the opposition whether it comprises of an Australian team or fools from BCCI!···