5 Best Captains Of Indian Team Sports
General News | Sep-05-2022
A captaincy is an art form, something which requires great skill, courage, and tactical acumen. The man who leads from the front and orchestrates victories, who takes the fall for defeats, and motivates his team with the hunger for success. Here is celebrating such great men, the 5 greatest captains to have led India.
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
While ranking Dhoni right at the top might upset a few readers, it is inarguable that Dhoni has, through the years, displayed ample resilience and determination to take the top spot from Sourav Ganguly as the best Indian captain. The Indian team, under the leadership of Dhoni, won the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 which was held in South Africa. Then when Dhoni became the test captain, in his very first series he won the Border – Gavaskar trophy. In fact, under him, India rose to the No. 1 position in the ICC test rankings.
The calmness and perseverance which Dhoni embodies took him to heights never imagined in Indian Cricket. There was once a time when India was regarded as laggards and children overseas, but under Dhoni’s captaincy, the scenario changed altogether. India managed to even win the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup breaking the long-standing barren run since 1983, with the captain leading from the front by scoring a match-winning knock of 91 in the final versus Sri Lanka!
2. Sourav Ganguly
He was the man who made the Indian team bond together. Yet perhaps the biggest problem with Sourav Ganguly was that he was temperamental. He displayed extreme phases of emotions and the calmness embodied by Dhoni seemed to be missing in him. While in the joy he took off his shirt and waved it in public, like after India won the final match in the Natwest series in 2003 versus England in a thrilling finish.
Yet, Ganguly’s resilience, never-say-die approach, and the ability to instill confidence in the Indian team that they can perform overseas; are the credit for achieving all that goes to this man. He remains one of the most respected captains of the Indian team. True, Ganguly’s only major success was making India reach the finals of the 2003 World cup and the Asia cup and also drawing a series against Australia Down Under, but in the context of Indian cricket, his contributions were phenomenal.
3. Kapil Dev
The debut of the man who led India to its first-ever World Cup in 1983 came only during the 1982-83 season, which is an extraordinary fact that speaks volumes about the greatness of Kapil Dev. When he started, it was the time when the might of the West Indies ruled the world, and Kapil Dev and his team managed to win a match in his first ODI series as a captain. That victory, many winning members of the World cup 1983 winning Indian team said, gave them the confidence to face the Windies in 1983 final. It was young Kapil Dev who emerged as the true savior in a must-win game versus Zimbabwe, Kapil Dev put on 126 runs for the 9th wicket, scoring a century and creating a record that stands the test of time for 27 years from then! It was an all-around show by the man who guided his team through all times and ensured that they remained on the winning side. As a captain, Kapil Dev played better than he did as a player, and even when he was reappointed as captain in March 1985 the trend continued as he led the team from the front and he even became the joint man of the match in the famous second tied test against England. Leading India to a series win over England was an extraordinary achievement in Indian cricket then, something made possible by Kapil Dev in the 1986 series. Even though he had constant differences with Gavaskar, Kapil, during his reign at the top had a strong success record and made the Indian team achieve newer heights.
4. Mohammed Azharuddin
The man who displayed his skills not only through his bat but also with his shrewd captaincy, Azharuddin’s contributions as Indian captain were remarkable. A right-handed batsman, he had a fluid batting style that was in some ways similar to that of English great David Gower. Azharuddin was a great fielder too, a wonderful batsman and his captaincy were one of the best. Azhar could single-highhandedly turn the fortunes of a game and was a constant nightmare to the bowlers who faced him. His skills and artwork in batting were much talked about. Azharuddin has to his credit, 103 wins as captain and one of the best success rates. His 14 test match wins as a captain was also a record that set the benchmark for Ganguly to better. Winner of the Arjuna Award in 1986 and the 1991 Wisden Cricketer of the Year, Azhar was a true great in his days.
5. Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi
He lost an eye in a car crash, but even that did not stop Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi from realizing his dream of playing in the Indian team. He managed an average of 34 in tests even after losing an eye, which made him the epitome of perseverance and determination. Until the accident happened, Pataudi, who was then studying at Oxford University, looked all set to break all records for he had scored 1216 runs at an average of 55!
He was the Test Cricket’s youngest captain when he took over, aged 21 years and 77 days. He was a great batsman and a person with inspirational leadership qualities, he was the feared one among his opposition. He is known by the famous nickname ‘Tiger’. He finished by captaining over 40 tests and made India claim their first victory on foreign soil, by defeating New Zealand 3-1. A fierce fighter, Pataudi recently expired at the age of 70, having contracted an acute lung infection.
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