While MS Dhoni made a career out of finishing matches for India, his first captain Sourav Ganguly feels he was always better off batting higher for India.
Sourav Ganguly is the man responsible for giving Indian cricket MS Dhoni. When selectors were in a fix regarding which wicketkeeper to pick for India's ODI series against Bangladesh in 2004, it was Ganguly's word that ultimately got Dhoni in the Indian team. It was under Ganguly that Dhoni got his first break – a batting promotion – and he ensured the opportunity was not wasted by smashing a prolific 148 against Pakistan in just his fifth innings.
15 years later, Ganguly is well retired and serving as the president of the BCCI, while Dhoni's future remains uncertain. On Dhoni's 39th birthday, Ganguly spoke about India's most successful captain, saying he was glad he could help give India the cricketing icon that is Dhoni.
"That's my job, isn't it? That's every captain's job to pick and make the best team possible," Ganguly told Mayank Agarwal on the episode of 'Open Nets with Mayank'. "You go by your instincts; you go by the faith on that player that he will deliver for you and I'm happy that Indian cricket got a Mahendra Singh Dhoni because he's unbelievable. One of the great players in world cricket I would say, not just a finisher."
While Dhoni has made a career out of finishing matches for India, Ganguly felt he was always better off batting higher for India. Dhoni has batted 16 times at No. 3 and averaged 82.75 with 993 runs at the position. At No. 4, Dhoni has played 30 innings, averaging 56.58 and scoring 1358 runs. At No. 5, Dhoni averages 50.30 having tallied 3169 runs, while at No. 6, Dhoni has batted the most and scored 4164 runs from 129 innings.
"I think everyone talks about the way he finishes lower down the order. He batted at No. 3 when I was the captain; he got a 148 against Pakistan in Vizag. I always believe that he should bat up the order because he is so destructive," Ganguly said.
"The best players in the shorter format have the ability to hit boundaries at will. You look over a period of time in the history of one-day cricket, the best players can find the fence under pressure consistently and Dhoni was one of them and that's why he was picked."