Who would be next Captain, Ganguly or Dravid?

Published: Thursday, August 11, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Sourav Ganguly's future as India's cricket captain will be decided when the selectors announce their choice for the tour of Zimbabwe and possibly the rest of the season.

Ganguly, India's most successful Test captain with 19 wins was replaced by his long-time deputy Rahul Dravid for the recent tri-series in Sri Lanka as he served out an International Cricket Council (ICC) imposed ban for slow over-rates.

Under Dravid, India defeated the second-string West Indies twice but lost three straight matches to the hosts, including Tuesday's day-night final by 18 runs at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo.

With the ban behind him, Ganguly would have been considered a certainty to regain the captaincy for this month's Zimbabwe tour, which includes a tri-series also featuring New Zealand and two Tests against the lowly rated hosts.

But the left-hander's poor form with the bat, which has fetched him just 927 runs in the last 20 Test matches, has raised speculation that Dravid may get a longer term under new coach Greg Chappell.

Dravid, the reigning ICC cricketer of the year, is India's batting star with 2,082 runs in the last 20 Tests at an average of 74.35 which has lifted his team to number three in the ICC's Test rankings.

One of the five selectors said he was backing Ganguly.

"Sourav is a proven leader of men," the selector told AFP on condition of anonymity. "He was the captain before the ban and should get it back.

"But I am only speaking for myself. I don't know what the others think."

Both Ganguly, 33, and Dravid, 32, made spectacular Test debuts together against England at Lord's in 1996 with the left-hander stroking a fluent 131 and Dravid falling short of a century by five runs.

Ganguly was made captain in 2000, with Dravid as his deputy, when Sachin Tendulkar stepped down as skipper reportedly due to a tiff over team selection.

A tough and uncompromising captain, Ganguly provided Indian cricket with some of its finest moments like the come-from-behind 2-1 series win at home over world champions Australia in 2001, a place in the World Cup final in 2003 and maiden Test and one-day series wins in Pakistan in 2004.

His 144 against Australia in the first Test in Brisbane inspired India to a creditable 1-1 draw in the away series against Steve Waugh's champions in 2003-04.

That brilliant century, however, was Ganguly's last at the international level as his batting form deserted him and reduced the captain to a virtual passenger in the team.

Worse, he was hauled up by match referees for slow over-rates, which forced him to make way for Dravid in the last two one-dayers against Pakistan in April and the Sri Lankan tri-series.

Dravid had also led India in five Tests when Ganguly was injured, winning two and losing two while one was drawn.

Ganguly's One-day captaincy record is 73-63 in 141 matches with five no results. Dravid has 7-9 from 17 games with one no-result.

Ganguly has scored 4,949 runs in 82 Tests at an average of 40.90 with 11 centuries. In 274 one-dayers, he has 10,046 runs with 22 hundreds.

In contrast, Dravid aggregates 7,696 runs in 89 Tests at 57.86 with 20 centuries. In 257 one-dayers, he has 8,319 runs with 10 hundreds.

India's engagements till May include hosting Sri Lanka, South Africa and England and tours of Pakistan and the West Indies.

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