Shoaib Akhtar compares Sourav Ganguly with Imran Khan

Akhtar, 44, said he wanted to see Ganguly taking up a big role in promoting international cricket, especially the longer format.

Shoaib Akhtar, Sourav Ganguly and Imran Khan
Shoaib Akhtar, Sourav Ganguly, and Imran Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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With former India captain Sourav Ganguly set to become the next president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), wishes have poured in from various quarters. And now, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has also applauded the move, saying Ganguly’s leadership style is like that of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and could make a difference in the cricketing world.

The 47-year-old Ganguly came back from nowhere to become the frontrunner in the race to become the president of the Indian cricket board. On Monday, he filed his nomination along with other top office bearers and the new administrative team is set to take over on October 23. Ganguly said on the occasion that first-class cricket will remain his priority besides recovering the BCCI’s image in the cricketing fraternity.

“One person that transformed Indian cricket was Sourav Ganguly, never felt before 97-98 that India could beat Pakistan. I never felt India had the system to beat Pakistan until Sourav Ganguly became the captain. Sourav Ganguly changed the mentality of Indian cricket,” 44-year-old Akhtar said in a video.

Speaking on Ganguly’s captaincy style, the former pacer, who had quite a few bouts of battle with the former Indian batsman, said it was similar to Imran, Pakistan’s only World Cup-winning captain in the 50 overs. Ganguly also came close to matching that feat in 2003 but lost to Ricky Ponting’s Australia.

Both Sourav Ganguly and Imran Khan believed in picking new talents, says Shoaib Akhtar

“The common trait between him [Ganguly] and Imran Khan was that he used to believe in new talent and secondly he got an eye to pick the talent that would play for India. This was something that Imran Khan used to do, as the talent he picked used to win matches for Pakistan,” he said.

Akhtar, 44, said he wanted to see Ganguly taking up a big role in promoting international cricket, especially the longer format, “I as a cricketer would wish to see that international cricket thrives in his tenure, because India has got the upper hand in ICC…. I expect to see Test cricket revived and I want to have some relaxations for fast bowlers,” Akhtar, who took 444 international wickets between 1997 and 2011, said.

Ganguly, who quit international cricket in 2008 after making a comeback in 1996, led India between 2000 and 2005. He is currently the chief of the Cricket Association of Bengal.