Former England captain Nasser Hussain said India transformed into a tougher side under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly.

Hussain claimed Ganguly picked cricketers who played an aggressive brand of cricket and said he always found it tough playing against such an Indian team.

“I have always said, and this is a generalisation, but I have always said about Ganguly, that he made India a tougher side,” Hussain is quoted as saying on Star Sports’ chat show ‘Cricket Connected’.

“Before Ganguly, they [India] were a very talented side, but you felt they were also a nice side – very down to earth, would meet you with morning greetings, it was a very pleasant experience. Playing against a Ganguly side, you knew you were in a battle, you knew that Ganguly understood the passion of Indian cricket fans and it wasn’t just a game of cricket.

“It was more important than a game of cricket. He was feisty and he picked feisty cricketers whether it would be Harbhajan or Yuvraj or whoever – feisty in-your-face cricketers – that when you met him away from the game, were lovely, nice. Sourav’s like that.”

The 52-year-old said he hated playing against the former India captain but also mentioned he always shared a good rapport with the current Board of Control for Cricket in India president off the field.

“When I played against Sourav, I hated him, he used to make me wait for the toss every single time and I’ll be like, Ganguly, its 10.30, we have to toss,” he said.

“But now I work with him for the last decade on commentary, he’s such a nice, calm [man]; he’s still late for his commentary stints, but he is a lovely bloke. And that’s the way cricketers should be. When you play with him or against him, you don’t like him and when you meet up with him later in life, they’re nice people.”

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