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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dhoni is lucky.


Like every other Indian cricket watcher, I am way more passionate about cricket than is healthy. But I am glad I haven’t, in a fit of passion, written stupid articles like Biswajit Jha

Until now that is.

I am a Dhoni fan. Make that a proud Dhoni fan. Before that, I was a Ganguly fan, and before that, Mohammad Azzharuddin’s. Now, I am ok with the Dhoni bashing – as long as it is just a whine and meant to be a release of all the bottled-up frustrations. We lose a match and we have to blame someone – who other than the one who has the unenviable task of speaking/defending/answering at the presentation ceremony?

But, based on a couple of series, we end up calling him selfish, biased and short-sighted. On the other hand, all the team’s victories are because of his “luck”. We worry about India’s performance overseas and start doubting whether we deserved the world cup.

Invariably, anti-Dhonis are also pro-Ganguly. Now that IPL is coming, and Dhoni (and his team) will, without doubt, perform well, all this frothing will only increase. That’ll make me see red, so I want to put my views out there.

Let us first compare Saurav and Dhoni’s records:

I see what the hue and cry is about – it is the 26% winning chances Dhoni has when playing a test match outside India, as compared to the 39% guaranteed when captained by Ganguly. We are looking at three years (2009-2012) of Dhoni’s captaincy versus five years of Ganguly’s (2000-2005). Fair comparison? I think not, especially looking at the rest of the data – even if if we let Dhoni go easily on his “luck” on the home ground (66.67% versus Ganguly’s 47.6% in tests, and 65% versus Ganguly’s 50% in One-day Internationals), Dhoni still has won more International One-day matches outside India, as compared to Ganguly.

Just because he had a poor run in overseas tests, we cannot call him “just lucky” or a bad captain. That is terribly short-sighted.

Let us look at the averages:

So, if all the blaming is going on about Dhoni’s average of 37.32 versus Ganguly’s 42.17, I hope it is offset by Dhoni’s one-day averages (with a more prominent difference).

Finally, if Ganguly was indeed a better captain, Kolkatta Knight Riders would have won the IPL. If you just retorted that the team or the coach are to blame for a team’s loss, I rest my case.

As for Dhoni’s bias (in choosing Ashwin and Raina over Pathan and Tiwary) for CSk team members, please. In the match against Pakistan couple of days back, Ashwin managed 1/56, while Pathan managed a 1/69. Shall we write that off as “Ashwin got lucky?” The new guy, Dinda, managed a 2 for 47 – wonder who put him there, considering he is not in CSK. Ganguly?

Ashwin has a bowling average of 28.16 and a batting average of 19.6, while Pathan has that of 29.90 and 22.8 respectively. If we are talking about terming Pathan as an “all-rounder”, we can give that prestigious title to Ashwin as well.

Raina, the one who seems to be getting a lot of flak lately, has a batting average of 35.21, and Manoj Tiwary, who is seriously contested as Raina’s replacement, had an average of 33.0. Does making a “Maiden century” make Tiwary an obvious replacement?

Finally, the writer says that the Sehwag and Gambhir are out of the team (or not made captains) because they “spoke against” Dhoni. That one statement managed to insult Kohli’s outstanding performances and ignored Sehwag’s really long out-of-form stretch in one go.

Frankly, at the end of the day, as a country, we have no hope. We managed to term Sachin Tendulkar, one of our most accomplished and unselfish players, as selfish and slow. We demanded his resignation, terming it as a dignified thing to do. We blamed him for our loss against Bangladesh. So, Dhoni shouldn’t worry about us – If we can talk against Tendulkar, we, with the goldfish memory, the hypocritical and the sorry bunch of cricket watchers can do anything.


C Sharat said...

Archana, looks like you are really upset about Dhoni's criticism.Well cricket is definitely a team game and hence blaming him alone for the debacles post world cup is wrong, i completely agree with that.
Comparison about the batting averages between Ganguly and Dhoni might not be appropriate as Ganguly was a top order batsman (which means that on most of the occassions he would have got out by the end of the innings) whereas Dhoni is probably one of the best finishers (which means he would have less overs to face and on quite a few occassions he has been not out) in the limited overs cricket today. Look at other great finishers of the game like M.Hussey, Michael Bevan who come to my mind as i write this, all have averages around 50.
As far as Raina is concerned he is definitely an asset to any team he plays for however his vulnerability to short ball was exploited by England and Australian bowlers during the last two tours.this is one area where he would have to work upon and on the sub-continental pitches he is definitely a nightmare to the bowlers.
Probably you have left out another name which regularly appears in all the discussions - Rohit Sharma. An amazingly gifted player as compared to the likes of Raina, Kohli, Pathan and other names discussed in your article but again his body languaage suggests that he is laziness personified. Kohli has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and as he mentioned during his last interview that he has learned to add value to his wicket and is making hay when sun shines.
I think for the first time ive written so much in response to a blog :) No offence meant just wanted to share my views too.

Archana said...

Hi! Thanks Sharat - and what offense yaar? All your points are valid!

I have no opinion on Rohit Sharma actually! In the Pakistan match, when he started that slow, I kept praying that he would get out. Of course he hit fours and sixes in the end, but he does come as lazy and uninterested doesn't he? Kinda like Gambhir IMO.

I believe an opener can have a lower strike rate, but should definitely have a better average than somone who comes 4-5 positions down. At the risk of simplifying it, an opener has the easiest job - staying at the crease and making runs. A finisher (Dhoni does not order the middle order to collapse.He is a finisher by compulsion, not by choice) has to make sure we win.

Will totally agree with you on the Raina part and his poor performance recently. But I dont think we should try replacing him based on 2 serie along - if that was the case, Ganguly and Tendulkar would have been out of the team long time back.

Nice to see you read my blog btw!

Srivats said...

Archana - Initially, I did not want to respond to the so-called blog that is nothing more than what I call an 'Intellectual Diarrhea'. The first word of your blog precisely sums up the content that was to follow !

Could not resist the ridiculous comparison between India's Best captain and India's most over-rated captain ! The logic behind considering 'Batting Average' as the sole measure of a cricketer is horrendous. Add to that the idiotic substantiation that an opener should have a higher average than a finisher ! And what a wonderful trade-off - poor Test average offset by a skewed ODI average. I agree with Sharat's observation that Dhoni's is a finisher in ODI who gets to an unbeaten 30s and 40s on the solid platform laid by top order.

If one drills deeper at his Test stats, average of 96 in Bangladesh, 60 in Pakistan and 43 in India aside, the over-rated captain has an unenviable overseas average of 32 ! With just 5 away 50s since 2010, Dhoni is the weakest list in our Test line up and deserved to be sacked. Strange that people have selective amnesia and call for Sehwag's axe for his poor ODI run.

Agreed - Dhoni played his part in India's world cup triumph after a gap of 28 years. No one will contest on my point that it was Sachin, Yuvi and Gambhir's solid foundation right through the tournament that took us till the last lap.

The 'Intellectual' blogger has conveniently forgotten the circumstances - composition and attitude of the team - before and after Ganguly's era. Natwest Series triumph gave our cricketers an assurance that 300+ targets are achievable. But for the aggressive leadership of Ganguly, we would have been confines to the 'strongest batting line up on paper' syndrome. I would confidently say that Dhoni's success at helm is primarily due to the strong base built during Ganguly and Dravid's era. Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Harbhajan,Zaheer have been identified by Ganguly. I am sure Dhoni can also boast of unearthing a rare gem - Ravindra Jadeja. Long Live Dhoni's bigoted fans!

Archana said...

Better an intellectual diarrhoea than an unintellectual one, what say?
"The logic behind considering 'Batting Average' as the sole measure of a cricketer is horrendous."
An average of 32 for a person who comes when India is 5 down is not unenviable at all! Dhoni, in fact, is the middle order's strongest link - we haven't had a good top order for a long time (before Kohli started coming in form) - it has always been up to Dhoni to try and "save" the match - he is not just a finisher.
Some intellectual diarrhoea here: Michael Bevan, definitely one of Australia's stongest middle order batsman, has a test average of 29.07 and ODI average of 53.58. David Hussey has an ODI average of 37.58. Do you want to take out all of Ganguly's good performances and provide a lowered average and say "he has an unenviable average" - would that make it a justified measure of a cricketer? If you said yes, during Ganguly's worst phase, he had an average of 30.5 in 2004 and 16.1 in 2005.
For the record, i did not call for Sehwag's axe either - but saying that he was sacked because he spoke against Dhoni is laughable. The only reason people will notice Sehwag's poor form is because he is the first one on crease, just like Ganguly's poor form was more visible - since it affects the team more.
Someone like Dhoni has to come and "finish the match", which in other words, is save the match.

I have been a Ganguly-fan ever since he started playing, and made his maiden century. His "give-a-damn" attitude and his introduction to "the huddle" made us a united team - this post is not for belittling one of our best captains. This post is an answer for anyone who says "Dhon is bad while Ganguly was amazing" and "Dhoni is only lucky". No, he is not "just" lucky". No winner is, and definitely no leader is.

Talk about selective amnesia.. if Dhoni introduced Jadeja, he also introduced Kohli, Ashwin, ROhit Sharma, Praveen Kumar - and the rest of the youngsters.

And for the record, it is very difficult to write an intellectual reply to someone, whose knowledge of statistics seems, at best, primitive.

Chandan Patralekh said...

You can't be lucky at a stretch for so many months. So saying that Dhoni is lucky is something I never did.
I do remember one of my colleagues saying "This match is fixed" when ever India would win. I mean to say people would be unreasonable in choosing words but wise ones always think before they speak.

As for who has to be in and who needs to dropped, I never loose my sleep over it as I watch cricket for the beauty of it.

As far as the articles from Jha and Archana goes, the only thing I have to say is, Good articles and I enjoyed them. Sorry I can't take a side here but Archana you sound very knowledgeable and passionate about cricket.

Archana said...

Hi Chandan,
Thanks a lot for your comments!

Archana Chari said...

Promise to come back, read and comment. For now, you have been given a teeny blog award. Check my page:)

Adrian D'Souza said...

Ganguly was the best captain of the Indian cricket team, whereas Dhoni is the captain of the best Indian Team..

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