Why Sourav Ganguly is one of India’s Greatest Test Batsman ever ?
Exclusive Article by: Ranajoy Chakrabarty
Before I write my article, I must mention, I have promised my friend that in this article, I will not write about Sourav Ganguly the Captain, to prove him as a Great Test Player, and will only write about his batting. The fact that he is India’s Greatest Test Captain ever is to be ignored just for this article.
Why, write this article? Go to any Sourav Ganguly fan & he/she will tell you that Ganguly is without doubt one of the greatest ever, he/she already knows that, so why this ? Well this is because, about a month back, I was listening to Pitch Invasion, an online cricket commentary +interactive platform started by Anupam Mukerji [The Fake IPL Player] & others, there a question was posted, to select your all time Test XI for India, and almost everybody had ignored Sourav Ganguly in that list, some even had MS.Dhoni in the Team, Some even went further making Dhoni the captain, but no-one picked Sourav Ganguly.
I realized right there, that most Indian’s think Sourav Ganguly was a good ODI player, but the likes of Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag are all better players than him in Test cricket. So this is my article, just to bring in front of you, Sourav Ganguly – The Test Batsman.
Do you know, Sourav Ganguly has been the most consistent Indian Test Cricketer in the last 15 years ? Yes, it’s not Mr. Dependable Rahul Dravid, but a certain Sourav Ganguly, and its not be but a certain set of stats that prove it. Sourav Ganguly is the only Indian Cricketer in the last 15years, to have a consistent test average of 40+ throughout his career. The great Rahul Dravid, had 5 such occasions, yes 5 when his test average was below 40.
Sourav Ganguly’s career test average is 42.17, certainly very good. And 41.07 in the famous No 6 position, which is still vacant, even after 3 years & 3 months of Ganguly’s retirement. But I will come to that part later. His best two averages came at No 4 & No 3 positions for India. At No 3 being his second best with 47 & at No 4 his average is 66, which is the best in the world. Yes even greater than the Legend Sachin Tendulkar, but we often forget to remember these facts. He was the captain, he was most successful in these positions, so if he really wanted, he could have batted there, especially at No 4, because he was even more successful than Sachin at that position, in fact the most successful player in the world. But he was a Team player, and he played for the Team. He knew he can do well batting in No 3, 4, 5 or 6. This makes him great, the fact that he could do it at any position, the fact that he sacrificed a greater part of his own career just to make sure the team does well.
Now, coming back to the famous No 6 position, whenever did Sourav Ganguly walked out to bat, in most occasions, either the team was at 30/4, hostile bowling conditions, most batsmen failing or at 300/4 – the team well set, with the fielding team opting for the new ball. No wonder, the Yuvraj’s, Kholi’s, Raina’s of this world find it so hard. Either the team is struggling with a major collapse, or the opposition is right at you with the second new ball. One needs to be very good technically & very sound mentally to consistently score runs in that position. And yes, just for that reason, it has been 3 years, 3 months, which will be more than 1200 days since Sourav Ganguly has retired and you don’t have his replacement. Well, as yet !
1200 days! Has there been any other cricketer in the world, whose replacement has been so hard to find. I’m not much of a cricket historian, but I can easily tell you the answer is NO. He has been that “Special” and he was that great of a Test cricketer, whose shoes are almost getting impossible to fill. Steve Waugh, someone with a much greater test record than Ganguly, was replaced with such ease, But why are we finding it so difficult to replace Ganguly?
And I am not even stating that he has an average of 65 in England, where we recently saw the Indian Batting collapse under 300 in every innings!
But the fact remains, Greatness is not just by the stats you have, Ganguly’s stats were 7212 runs in 113 tests at an average of 42.17, [well that is pretty good too isn’t it?] but the kind of impact the player had on the team. When a player has retired for 3 years & the team is still missing him in every match, just shows you how special the player was.
Yes, he may never have the stats Sachin or Dravid will end up with, but he will be the player who was so special that the team missed him for such a long time, with due respect to them, something Dravid or Sachin may never get. And that will be the greatness of the Batsman Ganguly.
PS -> Just for his Captaincy, Sourav Ganguly should get into any India Test XI of all time, cause without doubt he was the greatest Indian Captain ever, a captain who brought pride into the Indian Team, even we the ordinary Indians, were proud of our team, we were no more just a touring party in abroad tours, we started winning in every series under him. And how special & important those wins were, are proved today, when we see the present captain MS.Dhoni loosing 6 matches in a row. Test Captaincy, especially in abroad tours in not so easy my friend, and I’m glad these 2 series this year has again proved the Sourav Ganguly, is—was—and shall always remain India’s Greatest captain.
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