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The Rediff Special
Dhoni celebrates Sourav's 100th Test
December 24, 2007
Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images], who made his debut under Sourav Ganguly [Images], speaks of the "fearless" leader he has known. Touring Australia is never easy; playing your 100th Test at the MCG is going to be tough -- but, says Dhoni, Ganguly will likely welcome the challenge, and look to round off the occasion with a century.
"In 2004 I was selected for the Indian team to play in Bangladesh. I always watched how the Indian team played under Sourav's leadership. Let me be honest to tell you that on the TV screen he looks different. He is a very warm person when you actually meet him. When I played with greats like Sachin and Sourav for the first time I was a bit nervous. As a captain Sourav came and talked to me, made me feel at home. His ability to give confidence to his players is just amazing.
Sourav will be playing his 100th Test match. I can very well imagine how difficult it is to play 100 Test matches. It requires a lot of hard work and consistency in performance. I also have some idea of how tough it is to lead any team. Sourav has successfully led Indian team for six years. Under his leadership the team made rapid strides in international cricket. I also loved his ways of captaining the side. He was a very aggressive captain on the field. I cannot forget that ODI match where Sourav asked me to bat at number 3. He believed that I have great potential as an attacking batsman. He just told me to play my natural game. The match was against arch-rivals Pakistan and fortunately I got a big hundred. I think that innings changed me as a player. I got the required confidence to bat at the highest level.
I have observed his determination to do well after he was included in the Indian team during the South African series. His successful comeback shows his true gutsy character. The Indian team is getting ready to play the first Test match at MCG. As a team this Australia tour is special for all of us. I am eager to do well on my first tour Down Under. Doing well in the MCG Boxing day Test match is our top priority. We want to make Sourav's 100 Test appearance very special."