Readers' response

The response to the Cover Story in Sportstar, issue dated March 1, 2012, was overwhelming. Here are the best 10 letters chosen by the Sportstar team. The writers of these letters are eligible for a year's free subscription of Sportstar.

M. S. Dhoni is the man

Sir, — Broadly speaking, there could be two ways of leading a team. The first is to lead from the front, whereby the leader himself performs and inspires the entire team. The second is when you have a superior ability to deal with the players and you motivate them in such a way that they give their best. M. S. Dhoni has proved that he can lead from the front (World Cup 2011 final). Also, as a captain, he has got the best out of most of his team-mates. His excellent temperament is the icing on the cake. He is unruffled both in victory and defeat. He is almost like the Stheetapradnya in the Bhagavad Gita.

Dr. Makaranda Rege, Mumbai Ganguly is the best

Sir, — India's best captain, by far, is Sourav Ganguly. He backed youngsters like Yuvraj, Sehwag, Zaheer, Nehra and Harbhajan. You can notice that they were all in the Indian team that won the 2011 World Cup.

After so many years, it was Ganguly who showed India how to win abroad. His patriotism was often mistaken for egoism. However, he showed aggression in his approach on the cricket field. Though he didn't win any ICC World Cup, he was the one who revolutionised captaincy in Indian cricket.

Srivenkata Krishnan S, Hosur Leadership and results count

Sir, — I think Sourav Ganguly and M. S. Dhoni are the best of Indian captains. With his aggression, Ganguly brought a new look to the Indian team, while Dhoni, with his calm and cool composure, has become very successful. However, of the two, Ganguly is better because his winning percentage is more on foreign tracks. No doubt Dhoni won us the World Cup, but captaincy is not about one trophy or one series, but about leadership and producing results.

Abbaraju Ravikiran, Chirala Vote is for Dhoni

Sir, — In my opinion M. S. Dhoni is the best Indian captain. If we turn back the pages of Indian cricket history we can see he is the only one who is comfortable leading India in both Tests and ODIs. Only because of recent issues we are questioning Dhoni's position. This is because cricket, unlike other sport such as tennis, badminton etc., isn't a one-man show. The whole team is responsible for victories and defeats. But still we put the whole blame on a particular person. And that person is often the captain or the coach. Indians' view on cricket should change.

Alan J. Pallath, Thiruvananthapuram Bengal Tiger it is

Sir, — History itself will have to pause and contemplate before declaring ‘who's the best of ‘em all'. The Indian cricket teams have been led for almost a century by individuals of stark contrasts. One name that will, without doubt, come up whenever the candidature for best captaincy is discussed is Sourav Ganguly. The ‘Bengal Tiger' edges past another Tiger, M. A. K. Pataudi, as much for statistically being more successful as for lifting the image of Indian cricket — from homesick players to a force to reckon with. Dhoni, although close on the heels of Ganguly, has not completed his journey for history to retrospect.

Ankesh Alankar, Chennai Pataudi, the greatest

Sir, — A great captain should be an inspirational figure to his soldiers. He should be capable of marshalling his troops efficiently within their limitations. In a war, there is no place for defence — it's either do or die. Indian cricket had two captains — Tiger Pataudi and Sourav Ganguly — who had this positive attitude. Indeed Tiger Pataudi was aggressive and made the players realise that they had the ammunition with them to bombard the adversaries. Undeniably, each and every player of his generation had high respect for him. He was a player's captain.

In a different era but with similar attitude Sourav Ganguly led India to memorable victories. Under his leadership, India consistently won Test matches abroad.

If only Pataudi had the kind of players that Ganguly had, India would have been a great team at that time. Pataudi is the greatest of all, followed by Ganguly.

G. Arunkumar, Chennai Dhoni has failed

Sir, — It was under Sourav Ganguly that India became a competitive unit outside the sub-continent. He was the best captain as long as he enjoyed success with his team-mates before becoming a victim of insecure feelings.

M. S. Dhoni would have been the automatic choice of being the best but for India's recent debacles. The tours of England and Australia were a true test of his strategies and character and he failed miserably. His personal form also contributed to the downslide of India's performance. Dhoni reaped the benefits of the good work done during the Ganguly era, but unfortunately he couldn't consolidate.

Balraj C. R. Thrissur Ganguly is special

Sir, — Sourav Ganguly, the man who is known as a fighter and who made Indian cricket what it is today, in my view, is one of the greatest captains in our cricketing history. He was a spirited and an able batsman, willing to grind it out.

At a time when match-fixing scandals rocked Indian cricket and people began to lose hope, Ganguly's appointment as India skipper came like a whiff of fresh air. Leading a team that comprised Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman, he groomed youngsters keeping the future of Indian cricket in mind.

Ganguly changed the image of Indian cricket and brought aggression to the Indian team's approach. That Steve Waugh called India the Final Frontier is a fitting tribute to Ganguly and his team. Under him, India conquered the Caribbeans, drew a series in Australia, won the NatWest challenge in England and entered the final of the World Cup in 2003. His aggression and ‘lead-from-the-front' attitude marked him out as a special captain.

Jayaraman Kannan, Bangalore Successful skipper

Sir, — In my opinion, M. S. Dhoni is the best Indian captain. Right from the time he took over the reins of the team he has faced many hardships but has remained calm throughout. He has proved his critics wrong many a time.

His majestic 91 not out in the 2011 World Cup final — at a time when his form was being questioned — and the 5-0 defeat of England in the ODI series are some of the examples.

A gentle and humane person, both on and off the field, he took the blame upon himself like a true leader for India's defeats (in England and Australia). Never have we seen him frown at any player who has been an embarrassment at any time. Dhoni is a successful captain, if not the best.

R. Pujaa, Chennai Positive mindset

Sir, — For me, Sourav Ganguly is the best Indian captain. He was a born leader, was aggressive, ambitious and confident, and did not take things lying down. He navigated India through the turbulent times of the match-fixing scandal. He was willing to take responsibility for defeats and showed authority while making the final decision on the composition of the team. And he backed his players to the hilt. He gave India the self-belief that it can consistently win matches and series abroad. His greatest gift was his mindset: to stay positive and win matches.

Sabarinath Nirmalan, Thrissur