Sourav Ganguly’s role in the 2011 World Cup Win

As India recently celebrated ten years of its World Cup win, many stars from the World Cup were remembered and credited for their efforts.

From the players to the support staff, every single member on the side came up with crucial contributions.

While the middle and captain MS Dhoni players have all been given their share of credit, one may feel Sourav Ganguly deserves a special mention.

Why does Sourav Ganguly deserve credit, though?

The left-hand batsman retired in 2008, three years before the world cup, and was a commentator during the tournament.

Despite not being in the picture at the time of the world cup, Sourav Ganguly has earned his credit share due to his contribution as a captain.

As a captain, Sourav Ganguly helped build a team of match-winners who later played crucial roles in the World Cup.

He groomed his side and even sacrificed his position to allow them to grow, and the 2011 side reaped the rewards.

Below are the players Sourav Ganguly helped grow to help India become World Champions.

Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag initially began his career as a middle-order batsman who could bowl off-spin.

After some low scores, Virender Sehwag got the chance to open in Sachin Tendulkar’s absence and used the opportunity well.

With Sourav Ganguly partnering with Sachin at the top, Sehwag didn’t get too many open opportunities.

He received another opportunity in Sourav’s absence while facing England and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

He displayed his attacking skills and cemented his spot as Ganguly decided to sacrifice his place at the top and move down to number three.

Ganguly’s move to play Sehwag at the top consistently worked for many years, and it allowed Sehwag to set up games well.

He set up the 2011 World Cup well with a 175 in the opener and helped disturb Umar Gul’s rhythm in the semi-finals.

Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan ranked among the top pacers in India and was a massive trump card for MS Dhoni.

He bowled some excellent second spells and finished among the leading wicket-takers.

By the time the 2011 World Cup came around, Zaheer Khan was a seasoned bowler, having seen a lot through his career.

Injuries threatened his career on various occasions, and his body did not allow him to stay put.

He made his debut in Ganguly’s team and struggled with injuries after a good few years.

Despite injuries and loss in form, Sourav Ganguly backed Zaheer Khan and persisted with him.

He received support from other seniors like Sachin Tendulkar to go and play county cricket.

The old pair’s support allowed him to grow into the match-winner we all saw in the World Cup.

Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh made his debut back in 1998 and is one of the few 2011 World Cup squad players who has still not retired.

He made his debut under Mohammad Azharuddin but didn’t get too many opportunities as there was heavy competition among spinners.

He started silently and was dropped early in his career.

After a few good domestic seasons, Sourav Ganguly was adamant about having Harbhajan Singh in his side.

He ensured Singh was selected, and the move worked brilliantly as Singh singlehandedly spun a web on the Australians in 2001.

Following a dream series, Harbhajan was a regular in the squad, and Anil Kumble won many matches for India.

He chipped in with some beautiful spells in the World Cup and led India’s spin department.

He was an experienced player by 2011 and knew his areas well, which helped him control the middle-overs with ease.

Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir was and remained an underrated member of the 2011 World Cup squad.

He did not make too many headlines, but his contributions throughout the tournament were immense.

While he is remembered for his 97 in the finals, some knocks went unnoticed.

Before the finals, Gautam Gambhir had three fifties in the tournament and played a crucial role in the quarter-finals to help India stay on track in the run chase.

He finished us one of India’s leading run-getters and absorbed the pressure well.

Though not as flashy, Gautam Gambhir won matches for India in his calm manner.

He started his career under Ganguly’s leadership and was backed to open the innings when Sachin Tendulkar recovered from his elbow injury.

Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh, the tournament man in the 2011 World Cup, remains one of India’s biggest match-winners.

His aggression was new to the side on his entry, and he quickly displayed his ability to change games in a short period.

Like Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh’s success and rise are primarily due to Sourav Ganguly and his backing of the attacking leftie.

After a strong start in the 2000 Knock-out Trophy, Yuvraj Singh went into a silent period.

Despite low returns, Yuvraj Singh was backed to come good and gave India some explosive performances later on.

He grew into the explosive batsman he showed he could be, and by the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj Singh was a multi-dimensional player.

He struggled with the form before the World Cup as well, but further backing allowed him to keep his place, and he proved to be the difference in the tournament.

He finished with a century, and four half-centuries, while he was India’s best spinner and a handy fielder at a point along with Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli.

MS Dhoni

Sourav Ganguly

The final player whose success could be credited to Sourav Ganguly is the World Cup-winning skipper himself.

After noticing Dhoni’s attacking ability, Ganguly pushed for his inclusion on the national side and handed him a debut.

Though Dhoni made his debut, he could not replicate his domestic aggressiveness and had a string of low scores.

After a few innings lower down the order, Sourav Ganguly decided to give Dhoni his number three position, and the move helped Dhoni feel his way into international Cricket.

He responded with a century in his first innings up the order, and from that moment, the wicket-keeper never looked back.

He rose to captaincy and went on to play some crucial knocks like the one in the finals against Sri Lanka.

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