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Thursday, June 23, 2005

John Versus Greg

There have been several discussions going on in the cricket world about who would be a better coach for Indian cricket. But, in this article I am going to focus on the statistics on John Wright and Greg Chappell and get a comparison between them. Agree that a good cricketer deosnt make a good coach always. But, this comparison will have an effect on the expertise that is present between the 2 players. Arguably, Greg is the more experienced of the two, but what do the stats say? This is being done only from the perspective of test matches. Let us see.

Greg played his test matches during the period 1970/71 - 1983/84 whereas John played from 1977/78 to 1992/93. Both of them have played test matches beyond their personal age of 35 (38 for John). This would be a critical factor since most of the Indian team batsmen (Sachin, Sourav, Rahul, Laxman) is now around 32. So, Greg knows what to expect from these stalwarts and how farther he can push them to perform. As per present indications, I am sure the Golden Four can continue for another 2-3 years, provided they maintain their form.

Overall, both of them have played similar number of tests (87 for Greg Vs 82 for John) whereas the averages and other stats show a major plus for Greg. Greg is also one of the few players who have scored centuries in their first and last test match.

Deciding Factor - Greg - John
#Runs - 7110 - 5334
Average* - 54 - 38
Centuries - 24 - 12
Fifties - 31 - 23
Average against WI* - 56 - 30 (Taking this as a basis since WI was the most challenging opposition during their terms)
Matches in which team won - 38 - 21
Matches in which team lost - 19 - 23

Greg has appeared in more test match wins for his country as compared to John. So, obviously he knows how to win and keep the run continued. John has played in more drawn matches than Greg and hence I feel we can see India appearing in more matches having a result than draws.

Greg Chappell has not played a SINGLE TEST MATCH IN INDIA!!! He has played 3 test matches in Pakistan, though. Greg has played only 24 tests outside Australia/NZ continent whereas John has played 26 outside. So, in terms of their hands-on experience on Sub-continent, both of them are on a weak wicket.

Greg's difference of averages from home and away is only 1 run (54 home and 53 away) whereas John had a bias for home grounds (42 home and 33 away). I think Greg has to try and imbibe in his current team the idea of having a very similar average both home and away - in short, be consistent wherever you play so that the results will come even outside the sub-continent. If he can achieve this, that will be the greatest feat of his coaching career.

As captain, Greg has averaged 3 more than occasions where he was not. John, in this regard, used to average 13 runs more!!! But inspite of this, Sourav's figures as a captain is not good!!!

Greg has appeared in only 2 test matches when his team was asked to follow-on, whereas the number is 8 for John. This is one area where Greg has to ensure that the team doesnt get to this situation at all.

So, overall, looks like India are in a good wicket with respect to the pedigree of the coach ;) There will not be any doubts on the minds of the Indian team members about the credentials of Greg as a player. That in itself, I feel is half the job done. In such a situation, it is more likely that the team will benefit from each other and not get into arguments or disputes that were mentioned had happened during the last few days of John's tenure.

Its all upto Greg and the team to take off on what John has achieved. ALL THE BEST INDIA!!!

*All averages are rounded off
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