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'Dada made us believe we were match-winners'

Last updated on: April 7, 2012 11:49 IST

Ganguly, Bhajji in mutual admiration society

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Bikash Mohapatra

They took over as captains of their respective teams for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League and seem keen on forming a mutual admiration society.

- IPL: Pune Warriors upset Mumbai Indians by 28 runs

- Stats: Pune Warriors record 33 percent success rate

Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh were all praise for each other after they clashed on Friday.

On the eve of Pune Warriors' match against Mumbai Indians, at the Wankhede, Ganguly, who assumed the role of captain-cum-mentor of the Pune outfit, was the first to opine that his Mumbai counterpart has the ability to lead Team India.

The former Indian captain's view was based partly on Harbhajan's success in the Champions League T20, and partly on his leadership in the opening match of this IPL -- where Mumbai upset two-time defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

Ganguly preferred to ignore the fact that Harbhajan has been out of the national side for more than six months now owing to lack of form.

Image: Harbhajan Singh
Photographs: Yogen Shah / Getty Images

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'Dada best captain India ever had'

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A day later, Ganguly led his Pune team to a comprehensive 29-run win over Harbhajan's Mumbai thereby contradicting his own words to a considerable extent.

The veteran batsman read the wicket better and utilised his bowling resources accordingly to defend a low score.

On the other hand, Harbhajan's surprising decision to bowl first, after winning the toss, on a wicket that was a slow turner -- despite having a good spin attack -- as also running out of ideas after Mumbai lost a few early wickets, clearly indicated he is yet to master the nuances of the art that captaincy is.

He may have lost out on a victory, but the off-spinner was not at a loss of words when it came to complimenting his former captain following the match.

"Dada was obviously a very special captain for India and the way he led today he showed he was probably the best Indian captain ever," admitted Harbhajan.

Image: Sourav Ganguly
Photographs: Michael Steele / Getty Images

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'Dada made us believe we were match-winners'

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The 31-year-old went ahead to elaborate his point, and in doing so inadvertently (perhaps unintentionally) drew a parallel with MS Dhoni's captaincy.

"If you see, when he (Ganguly) led India, the team was not full of match-winners," he explained.

"He made us feel that we were the match-winners," continued Harbhajan, adding, "He gave us the confidence to go out and win games for India.

"He led the team for many years and that experience he brings with him wherever he goes. "He has great knowledge of the game and we need to learn a lot from him." 

No points for guessing who timed his admiration to perfection.

Image: Sourav Ganguly
Photographs: Michael Steele / Getty Images

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