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Friday, April 29, 2005

Ganguly's India in ODIs

This is the ODI analysis of Sourav, as compared to the test match one that I had done earlier. I am sure that Sourav is a better ODI player compared to a test-match player. Who can forget his run of 4 continous
MoM awards against Pakistan in Toronto. There was a time when Boycott had remarked that "Ganguly was GOD on the off-side". Or the match against SRL in the 1999 World Cup when he hit 183 with the help of Rahul Dravid. There was a time when he was really on-song, as they would call. This analysis is restricted only to the matches that he has captained in ODIs (the series result might have been different with another captain doing the rituals but we will concentrate on Sourav alone). The progressive scores of Sourav can be seen here.

Sourav started his captaincy stint after he had already played for India for more than 100 matches. There was a one-off match he captained India in Singapore Challenge Series that India lost.

Toronto Cricket Festival against WI in Toronto
- 2-1 for India - Winners.

1 fifty for Sourav in 3 innings

Vs SA in India - 3-2 for India - Winners.
1 hundred and 2 fifties in 5 innings

Coca-Cola Cup in Sharjah - lost to SA twice, 1-1 vs pak

4 low-scoring innings

Asia Cup in BAN - Lost to SL and Pak, Won against BAN
1 century (against BAN) in 3 innings

ICC KO in Nairobi - Beat Kenya, AUS, SAF and lost to NZ. Finalist*

1 fifty and 2 hundreds (against SAF in Semis and NZ in Finals)

Champions Trophy in Sharjah - Lost thrice to SL, defeated ZIM. Finalist*
The final of this trophy saw India skittled for 54!!!

1 fifty in 5 innings

Vs ZIM in India - 4-1 for India (3-1 under Ganguly) Winners.

* Note that Ganguly was banned from final match of series with Zimbabwe
1 hundred and 1 fifty in 4 innings

Vs AUS in India - 2-3 for India

1 fifty in 5 innings

Coca-Cola Cup in ZIM - 2-1 against WI, 2-0 against ZIM. Finalist*
2 fifties in 5 innings

Coca-Cola Cup in SL - Lost to SL, NZ twice, Beat SL, NZ once. Finalist*
2 fifties in 6 innings

Standard Bank in SA - 1-3 against SAF, 2-1 against Kenya. Finalist*

2 hundreds and 1 fifty in 6 innings

Vs ENG in India - 2-3 for India under Sourav. 3-3 tied series.
2 fifties in 5 innings

Vs ZIM in India - 3-2 for India Winners.
2 fifties in 5 innings

Vs WI in WI - 2-1 for India Winners.
1 fifty in 3 innings

NatWest Series in ENG - Winners. 2-1-1 against ENG, 3-0 vs SL*

1 fifty in 7 innings

ICC KO in SL - Tied winners with SL. Beat ZIM, ENG, SAF*

1 hundred in 3 innings

Vs WI in India - 2-3 for India

3 fifties in 5 innings

Vs NZ in NZ - 2-5 for India
Highest of 23 in 7 innings

World Cup in SAF - Beat NL, ZIM, NAM, ENG, PAK, KEN(2), SL, NZ. Lost twice to AUS. Finalist*

3 centuries (2 against KEN, 1 against NAM) in 11 innings

TVS Cup in BAN - Won against BAN, 1-1-1 against SAF. Tied Winners*

2 fifties in 4 innings

TVS Cup in India - Lost to AUS, Won vs NZ. Finalist*
70 runs in 2 completed innings.

VB Series in AUS - 1-5 against AUS, 3-0 vs ZIM. Finalist*

1 fifty in 9 innings

Vs Pak in Pak - 3-2 for India - Winners.

Highest of 45 in 5 innings

Asia Cup - Beat UAE, BAN. 1-2 vs SL, Lost to Pak. Finalist*

3 fifties (against UAE, BAN, SL) in 6 innings

Videocon Cup Vs Pak in NL - 0-1-1
25 in 1 innings

NatWest Challenge in ENG - 1-2 vs ENG (1-1 under Ganguly)

1 fifty in 3 innings

ICC KO in ENG - Beat KEN. Lost to PAK
1 fifty (against KEN) in 2 innings

BCCI Platinum Jubilee in India - Lost to PAK

48 in the only innings

Vs BAN in BAN - 2-1 for India - Winners.
1 fifty in 3 innings

Vs Pak in India - 2-4 for India (2-2 for India under Ganguly)
Highest of 18 in 4 innings

India won series
* against SAF in India once
* against ZIM in India twice, ZIM once
* against WI in WI once, in Toronto once
* against PAK IN PAK
* against BAN in BAN.

In a series consisting of more than 2 teams, India
* won the NatWest series against ENG (also included SL in the series)
* were joint winners with SL in the ICC KO in SL (after beating ZIM,ENG and SAF)
* SAF in TVS Cup in BAN (BAN being the 3rd team).

India also were the finalists in
* ICC KO in Nairobi
* Champions Trophy in Sharjah against SL (ZIM was the 3rd team)
* CCC Series in SL against SL (NZ was the 3rd team)
* Standard Bank Series in SA against SA (KEN was the 3rd team)
* World Cup in SAF
* VB Series in AUS against AUS (ZIM was the 3rd team)
* Asia Cup against PAK (UAE, BAN and SL were the other teams)

Hence, India have done well against ZIM, WI, BAN consistently. They have also done well in tournaments having more than 3 teams and reached the finals (until recently). Other tournaments that they have reached
the finals (with 3 teams) are usually with a weak 3rd team (typically ZIM, BAN, KEN) and hence these tournament wins have not much significance.

The best strategy that was developed was using Rahul as the keeper-batsmen, thereby enabling the 7-batsmen policy. This ensured success in some of the matches but this was at best a short-term strategy. With the emergence of Dhoni, the team looks better balanced and Rahul is free from his wicket-keeping duties. Yuvraj and Kaif were the main highlights of the ODI squad with their fielding and batting at the death. Their emergence in the ODI squad can be attributed to Sourav's persistence.

Also, the usage of Sandy Gordon for important matches was another tactical move by Sourav, for which he has to be given credit to, alongwith John Wright.

The dropping of Laxman is just to ensure that he gets a slot in the team. I am sure Laxman is a better fielder than the captain, especially in the slips he is a real asset with his safe catching. Laxman's batting rate has also improved in recent times and the only reason he gets rested for the ODIs is to enable Sourav to get a slot in the team. Otherwise, with Rahul's reluctance to don the gloves and Dhoni's emergence, there is one position for Sourav or Laxman.

There has not been much of improvement to be seen in the ODI performance actually, if you compare with the performance of say Azharuddin (lets spare the match-fixing controversy in this instance, since its undecided anyway). The reason why the number of wins are more is because of the fact that there have been more matches with the weaker teams and obviously more wins. Here is a comparison study of both of them.

The statistic above clearly shows that India's performance under Sourav is almost the same when it was under Azhar. There is no doubts that as a test team, India has improved considerably. But, as an ODI team, we still have a long way to go. One significant fact that clouds this are the performances India has had in the last World Cup and the 2 ICC KO tournaments. Other than these, the performance is hardly different from
what it has been earlier also. There is no new strategy that has been developed of late. One should have seen the speed in which the new captain and vice-captain were named when Sourav was banned for 6 matches in the ODI series against PAK (Compare this earlier in the same season, when the Indians made a big hue and cry and ensured that Sourav played even though he was banned for 2 tests - which was eventually revoked) - This shows that even the selectors feel that Sourav is no longer contributing to the team.

Another factor that is something that we can guess from outside is the way he communicates to the rest of the team - there is hardly any communication that one can see on ground, except in situations where things are going terribly wrong for India (like the Afridi mayhem recently). Sachin/Kumble are hardly consulted at all.

Hence, Sourav, I feel, should go definitely from the ODI scene as a captain since there is hardly any imaginative thinking in his captaincy and his persistence to stick to one of the top-4 position, thereby
slowing down the scoring in different matches is also becoming a pain to the team. Ganguly's performance as a captain is almost the same as that of when he was a player. His overall average is 41 compared to an average of 39 as a captain. Ganguly's performance as a captain

Sourav, to regain his form, should come down the order so that he can play the spinners, get his feet moving and hit those big sixes, which he is capable of. That would only get him the runs required to bring back his confidence. Going up the order is not an option anymore for him.
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