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Will Dhoni remain the most successful test captain for India ?

These days every one is into Dhoni-bashing and I being an ardent DADA-fan have felt an immediate need to join the bandwagon. But there is bad news in store for all dada fans.

DHONI  MIGHT  JUST  REMAIN  THE  MOST SUCCESSFUL INDIAN CAPTAIN  EVER  IN  RECORD  BOOKS  FOR  A  LONG  TIME  TO  COME . . . . . at least in terms of sheer numbers.  Here’s how

We all know Dhoni had a dream start to his captaincy winning almost everything, hardly even drawing a match. Most of these victories were in the subcontinent though. Whatever the case, Dhoni’s WIN/LOSS ratio and overall Win %age was always greater than dada. Then a time came when Dhoni started losing and started closing in on Dada’s rate. It had to be ADELAIDE then.

Currently Dhoni and Ganguly square off as follows-

Matches Won Lost Draw Win/Loss Win Rate
Ganguly

49

21

13

15

1.615385

42.85714

Dhoni

37

17

10

10

1.7

45.94595

A loss at ADELAIDE would have meant Dhoni reaching 1.54 in Win/Loss Ratio and I would have taken solace in the fact that Dhoni is below Ganguly at least for a short while. Although we all know how Dhoni would come back to India, play on dustbowls for next 2 years (YES, the buzz is India is not gonna visit England, SA, WI, Australia etc for a long time to come) and increase his winning rate.

But sadly enough, it is not gonna be so and Dhoni has been suspended for the Adelaide match.

It is clear now that he might never fall down below dada’s rate. Well, while comparing the two of them, it makes much more sense to compare away victories. By ‘away’, I mean strictly AWAY FROM THE SUBCONTINENT.

First let us compare what each of them achieved.

1)      Ganguly could salvage a drawn series in England in 2002 with at least 1 victory, which was the 1st match India won 16 years after 1986 when the team had achieved a 2-0 victory in England

2)      Again he could achieve a drawn series in Australia in 2004. India had almost won the series in Sydney when Steve Waugh stood between India and a series win. Ganguly himself contributed with the gritty century at Brisbane in the opening match. Prior to this a drawn series was achieved in 16 years earlier in 1985/86  a 0-0 . And a match was won in 1980/81, the series tied at 1-1.

3)      Ganguly lost a series in the Windies. But he could at least win a single match which was something that happened 27 years earlier in 1975/76.

4)      Ganguly also helped achieve the first series victory in Pakistan, though not outside the sub continent.

Let’s come to Dhoni.

1)      Dhoni could win a series in New Zealand which Ganguly could not even come close to. Dhoni had achieved this after a huge gap of 41 years.

2)      Dhoni could win a series in Windies 1-0 in 2011 but it was something even Dravid had achieved in 2006.

Now let’s have a look at what were the worst points in their careers.

Ganguly:-

Ganguly’s team suffered a white-wash just once against New Zealand. 2-0. Apart from that there were these instances of losing 2-1 to the Aussies at home in 2004.

As far as Dhoni is concerned, need I say anything? 4-0 whitewash at the hands of English men and the current series.  Let us have a look at their win loss record outside the sub-continent.

To give Dhoni, the benefit of the doubt, I am not including Ganguly’ record in Zimbabwe.

Matches Won Lost Draw Win/Loss Win Rate
Ganguly

17

3

7

7

0.428571

17.64706

Dhoni

15

3

8

4

0.375

20

So clearly, Dhoni is not doing that badly and the overall win loss ratio is justified in a way. The win rate, in fact is better than Ganguly owing to the lesser number of matches.

Still, the manner in which Dhoni is losing is quite demoralizing. Ganguly never had such a bad patch. No such white washes.  Ganguly had lost by an innings only once in Sri Lanka. Whereas here Dhoni has had 5 innings defeats already.

We all know for a fact that, Dhoni inherited from Ganguly more – or –less the same team. So with the same team if Ganguly could salvage so many draws and respectable performances, why does Dhoni find himself in troubled waters each time he steps out of the sub continent.

There could be many arguments. To start with – there should be a stroke of luck, a rub of green. Well, not many (including me) would buy that argument. Then there are other arguments like leadership qualities. (Motivating the team, leading from the front, etc). There is also a marked difference in the approach of the 2 captains. Ganguly had this aggressive approach unlike ‘Captain Cool’ and always believed in giving it back to the opposition. Ganguly liked to get under the skin of the opposition and would sometimes make greats like ‘Steve Waugh’ wait for the toss. Still Ganguly has been able to garner lot of respect from someone like Steve Waugh.  Let us look at the batting averages of some of the stars in the Indian batting line up  during Ganguly’s and Dhoni’s captaincy.

For the record, Ganguly’s average of 37.66 during his own captaincy was his worst comparing batting averages among all captains he has played for – under Dhoni he has an average of 62.8 ( 3 matches only). Dhoni’s has averaged 40.92 in his own captaincy which he has not achieved under any other captain.

Ganguly Dhoni
Dravid

73.31

51.12

Laxman

52.35

44.02

Sehwag

52.47

50

Sachin

62.8

61.64

We can see that Sachin and Sehwag have been batting the same way during both Ganguly’s reign as well as that of Dhoni but Dravid’s and Laxman’s performances have gone down by many a  number.

Here we can argue both ways:-

1)      Because of Dravid’s and Laxman’s performace going down, possibly Dhoni has started losing matches.

2)      It could also be seen the other way. You can’t get too many runs unless you are part of a winning team. Imagine, your bowlers have already given the opposition a huge lead. Agreed – it was Dravid and Laxman who helped us win in spite of a follow on. But you can’t repeat those feats  all the time.

I, for one feel, that apart from these factors there is another reason why Ganguly’s team could perform better. To know more about that, stay tuned!!!!

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Categories: Cricket
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  1. January 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm

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