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Wright reveals Ganguly wanted Dhoni in India squad for 2004 Pakistan tour

Ganguly Dhoni
by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

John Wright, the former India coach, has recalled the time India’s captain Sourav Ganguly wanted an uncapped MS Dhoni to be included in the squad for their 2004 tour to Pakistan.

India ultimately went in with Parthiv Patel for the three-Test series, which they won 2-1, while Rahul Dravid was the designated wicketkeeper in the preceding five-ODI series.

Dhoni eventually made his India debut later that year, against Bangladesh at Chattogram, and went on to receive his Test cap the following year, in Chennai, in the first of the three-match series against Sri Lanka.

“Dhoni nearly toured with us to Pakistan [in 2004],” Wright, who coached the Indian team from November 2000 to April 20005, told IANS. “Sourav was very keen to have him in the squad. He was on the borderline, and it was one of those decisions that could have gone either way. As it turned out, we selected a successful Test team, and he didn’t make it.

“That was obviously when Dhoni had started to come into discussions at the national level. Sourav had very good things to say about him and always encouraged youngsters who came into the set-up. But you never know how things would have worked out [for Dhoni had he been picked for the Pakistan tour]. That’s when I first started to hear about him.”

Wright also revealed how the wicketkeeper-batsman, who retired from international cricket in August after a glorious 15-year career, was an observant youngster who “didn’t say much” during his early days in the India set-up.

“It was obvious that Dhoni was not only a very gifted cricketer but also an extremely intelligent one,” he said. “He was a very good listener who didn’t say much in his first series [under me] but was observing and learning all the time. I thought at the time that he had a big future in front of him.”

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