हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

India's awesome threesome!

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2005, 13:00 [IST]
 
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What resounding wins against the visitors in the two ODIs! Virender Sehwag made the most of a costly first ball miss to slam a quickfire 74 and in the process showed why he is called the "Butcher of Delhi" in some circles.

He is swiftly catapulting into the number one spot in batting for India in both forms of the game. He is no longer the "poor man's Tendulkar" but has stamped an identity of his own. His wicket is prized at the same level as Dravid and Tendulkar's.

Rahul Dravid with his hundred secured a place in ODIs that I thought was long overdue for all his good work. He finally has a batting average of over 40 which is considered very good at ODI level. He has come a long way from his 'Dot'vid days and has shown that a steady innings is no misfit in ODIs. His carefully paced innings have always given a good backbone to the batsman who is doing the plundering at the other end.

If Sehwag is lightning, then Dravid is the thunder just a few paces behind. He still has a lot of Tests to play to overtake Allan Border for most consecutive Tests played but I believe he has it in him to do it.

For that to happen though would require that his double duty in ODIs (keeper as well as sheet anchor batsman) has to go or he'll be ground to a pulp. That brings us to Mahendra Dhoni. What an innings! Will he be the answer to the above query? He took a brilliant catch to see Abdul Razzaq off just when he threatened to swing the match Pakistan's way. Dravid chipped in with a valuable fifty and we may see a lot of good scores from these two men if the double duty mantra is given up.

Sachin Tendulkar got his second fiver in the series with Interestingly though, the last time he took a five-for (5 for 32) he only scored 4 runs but got the Man of the Match award. This time though, he scored 8 but not enough to overtake Sehwag's fireworks which truly was the dagger driver into the opposition. One can only hope that his tennis elbow holds up and heals to an appreciable level.

What do Azharuddin, Gavaskar, and Ganguly have in common? Well, Azhar and Sunny had captained India for 47 Tests before that tenure of theirs was ended. Ganguly sits on, believe it or not, 47 Tests at present! Hopefully this is not some predetermined number for the selectors as to the Test limit for an Indian cricket team captain.

Comparing their tenures, Gavaskar scored the most runs as captain, 3449 at an average of 50.72 with 11 centuries, 14 fifties, and 45 catches and a highest score of 205. Azhar is second with 2856 runs at 43.93 with 9 centuries, 9 fifties and 50 catches to complement a highest score of 192. Ganguly is third with 2444 runs at 37.03 per innings with 4 hundreds and 13 half-centuries, a highest score of 144, and 36 catches. We all know, however, that Ganguly is the winningest captain in Test cricket for India. Would that work in his favour to stay on? We know who'll have the final say on that one.

While Azhar was reportedly cast as being distant from his players, Ganguly has an "in your face" attitude that has commanded the respect albeit begrudgingly from the opposition.

At present, Ganguly has the record to show that he has done well as a captain considering the resources available to him. It was that first tour to Australia that really shook him and he never really fully recovered from that shock.

Dravid too did poorly on that tour, but rebounded and secured his place once again. One cannot say that Ganguly didn't try to work his kinks out because we read a lot of reports about him going for advice to former batting greats.

While there are many that think he should be dropped from the side and they have a valid point too. Even the great Gundappa Viswanath, who in some circles was touted to be better than Sunil Gavaskar, lost his place for good after the much famed "Imran's series" in 1982-83.

Here's wishing Shaun Pollock a speedy recovery. From the proceedings of their Test against the West Indies, it is apparent that he is being sorely missed. Congrats to Hinds and Chanderpaul for their double-hundreds. The West Indians don't seem to be missing Lara all that much as the Proteas are Pollock. Hats off to Kallis for another century, further solidifying his hold on the Test batsman ratings top place.

Sri Lanka also look quite a different outfit without Muralitharan. Hopefully he'll be back with a bang and get back to the race of the highest wicket taker in Test cricket.

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