Sourav Ganguly was the bravest batsman I had bowled to: Shoaib Akhtar’s high praise for India great
Former Pakistan pacer heaped praise on former India captain Sourav Ganguly, terming him the bravest batsman he has bowed to in his career, who could stand up to him against the new ball.Updated: Jun 13, 2020 14:27 IST
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is arguably one of the greatest left-handers India have ever produced. His fluent strokes through off the side and lofted shots against the spinners were enough to give headaches to any opposition captain, particularly in limited-overs cricket. But Ganguly had his shortcomings too. That the current BCCI president was uncomfortable against short-pitched deliveries aimed at his body was not an unknown fact. Fast bowlers like Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath, Mervyn Dillon gave a hard time to the left-hander in the early 2000s. But according to former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar, Ganguly was the bravest batsman he ever bowled to.
Akhtar, who was widely regarded as the fastest bowler in the late 90s and early 2000s, had some memorable duels with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Jacques Kallis, and Kevin Pietersen, singled out Ganguly for high-praise.
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Akhtar, who represented Pakistan in 46 Tests, 163 ODIs, and 15 T20Is picking up 178, 247, and 19 wickets respectively, said Ganguly was the only opener who could stand up to him with the new ball.
“People used to say that he was scared to face fast bowling, he was afraid to face me. I think all of that was rubbish. Sourav Ganguly was the bravest batsman, the only opener who could face me with the new ball,” said Akhtar in an interview with Helo app.
Akhtar agreed that Ganguly had limited strokes when the ball was aimed at his body but the former fast bowler said, the left-hander never backed away.
“He knew, he didn’t have the shots, I also targeted him by bowling at his chest but he never backed away, and still scored runs that are what I call bravery,” said Akhtar.
Ganguly, one of India’s most successful captains, hanged his boot in 2008 after playing 113 Tests, 311 ODIs, scoring 7212 and 11363 runs respectively. Ganguly also had 23 ODI hundreds to his name which is the third most by an Indian after Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli.
Akhtar also praised Ganguly as the best Indian captain he has played against.
“If I talk about India, then it will be Sourav Ganguly. India haven’t produced a better captain than him. Dhoni is very good, he’s a superb captain but when you talk about team building then Ganguly did a great job,” said Akhtar.