first_imgSourav Ganguly, who as captain transformed the India team into a winning unit by backing a few handpicked talented youngsters, has put his money on two for the future – Suresh Raina and Cheteshwar Pujara. The former India captain picked the two for their excellent temperament and talent, which could see them representing India for long. While Raina made a sensational Test debut recently, Pujara has been selected for the upcoming home Test series against Australia.Asked about the future of Indian cricket once the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retire in a few years, Ganguly said that talent keeps popping up.”You might get quite a few Gangulys, maybe lesser number of Dravids, but you won’t get many Tendulkars. There is talent in India,” he said at the India Today Youth Summit here on Saturday.”You see Raina’s progress, though it’s still early days in Test cricket. He showed tremendous temperament in the two Test matches in Sri Lanka recently. He has got the ability and he played a tremendous knock in Champions League T20 semi-finals (for Chennai Super Kings in Durban on Friday). He’s got the ability but we will have to wait and see.” Ganguly said that no one imagined Tendulkar and Dravid would fill the gap following Sunil Gavaskar’s retirement in 1987.”These guys have excelled in Test cricket. For all cricketers, Test matches are the most important format and it’s important that recognised players do well in this format. I am sure India will keep producing players and, as I say, India always finds its way out of disasters,” he said.advertisementThe Bengal player also praised Pujara, who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders, captained by him. “No one is close to Tendulkar or Dravid. [But] I can say who can play for a longer time. Raina can, if he keeps improving. It’s important in sport that you keep performing every day. Pujara is one. I have seen him closely for the last two- three years for the Knight Riders,” he said.”He’s got a terrific attitude towards batting. He keeps batting all day, which is important as a batsman, if you enjoy batting. Raina and Pujara are two young players who I think have a great future.”Besides, Ganguly said there are “other young players who have got talent, but it is about what you do with your talent”. As India captain, Ganguly backed players several young players like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh who still form the nucleus of the team. He picked Sehwag as the most talented of the bunch and backed him to the hilt.”At a selection committee Former India captain says Pujara also has a good mix of temperament and talent meeting in Mumbai, I decided that Sehwag has to go [with the team] whatever happens.I told the chairman that this fellow needs to be on the team because I feel he is a terrific player, and one of the selectors got up and said ‘you must be mad’,” he recalled.”I said ‘why’. He said ‘ don’t do that, the short ball will kill him.Please send him with me to Hong Kong next month for a sixa- side tournament and I think he will be very useful there’. They thought he could never play the short ball, he didn’t have any footwork. And you see where Sehwag is today,” he said proudly.Ganguly underlined that Sehwag can play the short ball well. ” Geoffery Boycott, a technician, always spoke about his lack of feet movement. But India has produced a lot of great players – Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag, who have been absolutely comfortable against the short stuff. It’s how you deal with it because a lot of it is mental.It is a problem with Indian batsmen, but there have been batsmen who have overcome it and become greats,” he pointed out.Australian speedster Mitchell Johnson, however, said in Chandigarh that Sehwag was not “too confident” against the short pitched ball. Since Aussies are known for their mind games, his statement should be treated as part of a ploy before the Test series begins in Mohali on Friday.last_img