Praveen's Blog

An Eternal Quest for Incremental Improvement

An open letter to Ganguly

One of the forward that I received today. I strongly agree with this letter.

March 29, 2005

Dear Dada,

I have been and remain one of the greatest fans of your batting and more importantly your captaincy. Your captaincy has been one of the most important contributions to the current Indian team, and you and John Wright's coaching have transformed a country with talent to a country wanting to aggressively go for the victory. This in itself has been an invaluable contribution and the results for the most part have showed. Where the side would once upon a time have meekly given in to the opposition or sulked about past defeats, the team is willing to put the past behind and appears hungry for wins since you took over the helm. Unfortunately, this letter is not about that.

What has become increasingly disturbing over the past few seasons has been your precipitous decline as a batsman. I am not one to believe that good batting can be a fluke. There were truly hints of genius in your batting many years ago. And there was a reason why opposition bowlers feared you. That was not some fortuitous event, but the fact today is that you have truly slumped as a batsman.

You claimed in a recent interview that it is just a small bad patch, but I beg to differ. You have not scored runs in a very long time and your reaction in being dismissed in the second innings of the third test made it very clear that you are well aware of it. In case you have not seen the numbers already, I am attaching below your recent test scores. Next to it, are also Anil Kumble's.

As is plainly obvious, for the past two years (since the World Cup essentially), you have scored well below your usual average. The pertinent column is the one with the statistics without Bangladesh (for they truly cannot be considered a competitive Test playing team yet). Your average is only 80% of what is used to be and is no where near the 50 mark that a modern specialist batsman should have.

Ganguly Stats
Kumble Stats

By comparison, Kumble has performed more consistently and in fact scored twice as many runs as you did in the latest Pakistan series. You cumulatively scored less than what a batsman in your position should be easily scoring in an innings. This is a cause for concern. A batsman at your level is expected to be scoring a century every series or at least every other series, not one in two years.

More importantly however is the fact that you are currently taking up a spot in the playing eleven that could go to another batsman that could add to the team's total number of runs and help them develop as a batsman for the country.

Yuvraj Stats

Two names that immediately come to mind are Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif. They are very talented batsmen who are being made to sit out in the prime of their careers. That is unfortunate not only for them but for the millions of fans who follow their beloved team. As you can see from the table below, Yuvraj Singh deserves the place more.

In conclusion, your captaincy has been greatly appreciated and needed and there still is a role for you to play for the team. Unfortunately however, only eleven can be on the playing team and all of them must perform for the team to win. The third test called for a captain's innings and you failed to deliver, yet again.

Sir, there is something in all the boos that you got. It is the ardent appeal of a nation for you to recognize that something has gone terribly wrong and that you need to step down and come back to form. For the love of the team that you have helped shape, you must move away from international cricket and bring back the left-hand genius that you once were. For I can no longer afford to lose any more bets to my friends that the next innings will mark your return.

A True Fan, Sulabh Dhanuka