Indian cricket legend Sourav Ganguly is arguably credited as the best Indian captain, who took on the might on dominant force Australia and lost out to them in the 2003 World Cup final in South Africa.
Years later, the current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly admitted in his biography that MS Dhoni was the missing link from his World Cup squad and could have won the title with him in the squad with the keeping duty being carried by Rahul Dravid.
And BCCI chief selector at that time, Kiran More, revealed that how it took Ganguly some convincing over 10 days to include Dhoni in the team after the one-sided final debacle.
“We were looking for a wicket-keeper batsman. At that time the format was changing and we were looking for a power-hitter, someone who can come at No.6 or 7 and get us quick 40-50 runs," More said in a YouTube show called The Curtly and Karishma hosted by former West Indies fast bowler Curly Ambrose and sports presenter Karishma Kotak. "Rahul Dravid played 75 ODI matches as a wicket-keeper and he played the 2003 World Cup as well. So, we were desperate for a wicket-keeper."
More added they were so impressed with Dhoni's performance in the domestic circuit that they had to talk to Ganguly to opt for the Jharkhand 'keeper over then Indian wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta.
“My colleague saw him first, then I went and saw him. I especially flew down and saw him get 130 runs out of the team’s total of 170. He smashed everyone. We wanted him to play in the finals as a wicket-keeper. That’s when we had a lot of debate with Sourav Ganguly and Deep Dasgupta – who played for India then and who was from Calcutta. So, it took about ten days to convince Sourav and his selector to ask Deep Dasgupta to not keep wickets, and to let MS Dhoni keep wickets,” More said.
More recalled that right after a strong showing in the Duleep Trophy MSD came up with a breakthrough performance during an India A tour in Kenya and that made his inclusion even more justifiable for the selectors.
“Dhoni kept wickets, he smashed all the bowlers around, and then we sent him to Kenya for the triangular series involving India A, Pakistan A and Kenya. MS scored about 600 runs and after that rest his history. So you need to give chances to a cricketer, who has something special in him, who looks like a match-winner. He had all the attributes. It was only a matter of time before all of them clicked together. We gambled on the right horse and it paid off. I gave credit to all of the members of that selection committee,” More said.