Bengaluru: Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar hailed Sourav Ganguly as a “great leader” and said the ex-India captain becoming the president of the BCCI was “very good news”.

Ganguly is set to become the new president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Several former cricketers have praised the “Prince of Calcutta” for beginning a new innings in the Indian cricket board.

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On his Youtube channel, 44-year-old Akhtar heaped praise on Ganguly for “changing the shape of Indian cricket” when he was the skipper.

“Ganguly becoming the BCCI president is very good news. Ganguly was exceptional in changing the shape of Indian cricket when he became the captain. When he became the captain, I saw him bringing in new faces like (Virender) Sehwag, Yuvraj (Singh), Zaheer (Khan). He created an exceptional setup,” Akhtar, who played in 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, said.

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Akhtar said Ganguly was treated “unfairly” when former Australian batsman Greg Chappell became the coach of the Indian team.

“Ganguly has an eye for scouting talent. He set the benchmark really high after becoming the captain. But he had to suffer unfortunate circumstances in his career as well. When Gregg Chappell became the coach, he was treated unfairly,” Akhtar, who is known as “Rawalpindi Express”, opined.

The former paceman recalled the days when he played under Ganguly for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and also spoke about his on-field battles with him in international cricket.

"He was fearless. Ganguly and I had many battles on the field. He was always said that if I do not go out to face Shoaib, how will I ask my teammates to face him. He is a great leader and he is very honest in picking the talent. He has great cricketing knowledge. Ganguly and I have good memories in playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League," he said.

Akhtar said Ganguly can make a difference to world cricket. “I want to see international cricket flourish. India has strong power when it comes to cricket, ICC always values India's word. I want to see Test cricket saved by a cricketer who thrived in playing the longest format of the game. I want to see relaxation for fast bowlers, I want the return of bodyline bowling. There is too much of cricket, I want it to be checked. This is a new era of world cricket. Sourav can make a difference.”