Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stats,stats on the wall; who's the best Indian Cricket Captain of all?

(Click the picture above to see "stats" in Large font.)

M.S Dhoni, in his second test match as the stand-in skipper to the injured Anil Kumble,once again registered a win. This time by 320 runs against the mighty Australians at Mohali. Dhoni, once again proved that "Winning is Everything" by getting the entire team to play their respective roles while bagging the Man of the match award himself . Dhoni's recent successes as captain at the T20 world cup, ODI series in Australia & ODI series in Sri Lanka had already strengthened his claim to be the Indian captain in all forms of the game.

In order to check the claim of analysts , who think that Dhoni will become the best Indian captain , I thought of digging some statistics to compare the performances of 6 Indian captains since 1990s in all forms of the game (combined ODI, Tests, T20 internationals). Azhar, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble & Dhoni. Here are some key inferences.

  1. Which player has been in the winning side more often ? - Dhoni has been a team member in 51% of his matches when India has won, followed by Tendulkar in 45% of his matches. Azhar, Ganguly, Dravid & Kumble have been equally in the wining & losing team in their lifetime . It appears that Dhoni & Tendulkar have been positive influences to the Indian team . The presence of Azhar, Ganguly, Dravid & Kumble have made no difference to India winning or losing a match.

  2. How have the players performed their respective roles as batsman, bowler, allrounder in their lifetime? Tendulkar, with a career batting average of 48 stands apart & Kumble boasts an excellent bowling average of 30. But for Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid & Kumble the average drops by more than 30% whenever India loose implying that failure to perform their respective roles could have contributed to India's loss. As a complete contrast, Dhoni's average shoots up by 46% whenever India wins implying that whenever Dhoni fires with the bat , India has a decent chance of winning.

  3. Finally, what has been the role of each of the above as Captain?
  • Sachin Tendulkar
    : Disastrous record as Captain , losing 53% of matches although has probably won only when he has fired with the bat. His batting average shoots up by 47% for the matches he has won. Overall captaincy affected his batting , pulling his average down by 5 runs. Tendulkar's bowling performances show a decline during India's win implying that he did not make good use of himself as a bowler when he was the captain. Overall, a captain's resource as a good allrounder but not a good captain himself. Rating : D
  • Md. Azharuddin: Consistent batting average of 40 even as a Captain and a good win record of 47%. Captained India for 51% of his matches. Rating : B
  • Sourav Ganguly : Again captained almost half his matches( 46%) but in the process knocked his batting & bowling averages down by 3 runs. However, both his averages shoot up when India has won (49% of times) implying that he used himself well as an allrounder. More often than not, his batting & bowling both clicked when India won the matches under his captaincy. Other Indian captains do not seemed to have used Sourav well as a bowler as his career bowling average drops by 48% whenever India has lost. His record as a Captain is better than Azhar. Rating : B+
  • Rahul Dravid: An excellent record as a captain with a 10% points difference between his winning & losing matches eclipsing Azhar's 6% & Sourav's 9%. And Rahul has just been a captain only 23% of his matches. Has a consistent & higher batting average of 43-45, second only to Tendulkar. If Dravid had not batted poorly( average dropping by 31%) in the matches India has lost under him, his average could have been much higher. Rating : A.
  • Anil Kumble : Has captained only 3% of his matches with a poor win record of 29% and a drastic fall in bowling average by 9 runs. Ignored,for most of his lifetime, Kumble was made the Captain last year after Dravid resigned. Rating : C
  • MS Dhoni: Captaincy seems to have improved Dhoni's batting as his average shoots up by 11 runs. Has a fantastic win record of 55% with a 21% difference between winning & losing matches.Dhoni's batting average as a captain go up by 40% when India wins & go down by 40% when India looses.When Dhoni's strokes get going , India coasts to a win. A key player, MS Dhoni's absence in the team can lead to India's loss. Truly, Dhoni is India's Captain courageous. Rating : A++
After Dhoni's win at the Mohali test yesterday as a captain, the selectors would do well to appoint him immediately as the Captain of the Indian test team. That will help keep the winning momentum going for India.

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