As the Champions Trophy meanders towards its business end, the talk here does not centre around India's opponent in the semifinals. Rather, it is around the lines of who will be lucky enough not to run into the Group B toppers in the knockout match.

That's the kind of form India are in at the moment. For captain MS Dhoni, that's a very positive frame of mind to be in.

His neatly cut hair and the accompanying stubble - growing whiter with each passing day - gives a fair idea of the kind of pressures India's most successful captain may be facing on and off the field, given the amount of cricket he plays and the recent spate of controversies surrounding his IPL team Chennai Super Kings.

A title win now for Team India, and especially for Dhoni, will be sweet compensation for the crisis they went through in the aftermath of the spot-fixing allegations.

It was the kind of scandal that struck Indian cricket almost 13 years ago, after which an ambitious Sourav Ganguly took charge.

There are other similarities between the Dhoni era and the Ganguly one. Fighting to have a team of his choice, backing his youngsters, putting immense trust in their abilities and not thinking twice in letting a player know if he's not in the scheme of things are aspects that allowed Ganguly to build Team India into quite a force. Dhoni has been swimming in similar waters for the past year.

Stories of Dhoni not wanting seniors around in the team, looking to get rid of players who aren't really good enough to save him 15 to 20 runs on the field, or ignoring those fighting ego-battles may remain unsubstantiated. But they aren't quite different to theories that constantly developed when Ganguly was at the helm.

These two captains have proved once again that it is perhaps success alone - for a cricket-starved country like ours - that matters.

Those who've followed Indian cricket closely in the last 12 years may know how Ganguly - enigmatic during his peak - was revered by his team and followers because of the manner in which he led.

It's the kind of enigma, bigger in proportions because of the success rate in winning trophies, which surrounds Dhoni at the moment.

It can be tough for any cricketer, especially low on technique, to form an impression in England. Cricket crowds in the UK - used to the charm of a Sachin Tendulkar or a Rahul Dravid or a Ricky Ponting - aren't easily pleased with the sight of a batsman who can't play 'by the book'.

Ganguly, despite his share of weaknesses, made batting look good. Dhoni, who doesn't quite leave connoisseurs weak-kneed with his style of batting, has still been effective. These captains - for their mindset and success-rate - have earned respect from their critics.

Like Ganguly, Dhoni too to have given his least possible followers no choice but to admire him.

The team that Ganguly built lasted well for close to 10 years, finally working its way to the top of the Test rankings and finishing with a World Cup win. The team Dhoni is building has potential to repeat that kind of performance.

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Keywords:Champions Trophy, MS Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings,Indian cricket , Sourav Ganguly , winning trophies, cricketer,Cricket crowds,Sachin Tendulkar or a Rahul Dravid ,Ricky Ponting,cricket news,sports news