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Luck and the art of captaining India

September 1, 2008

Causality. The relating of causes to the effects they produce. The human brain is programmed to find these patterns that help us make sense of why things happen. Most often though, the identified pattern is also the most self-serving in terms of what we really need.


When India was thrashed into oblivion in the world cup (the original one with a history, not the IPL promo event) and a pall of gloom settled over the legion of fans, everyone looked desperately for a saviour of Indian cricket. The answer was ‘youth’. Young blood would do the trick and when the newly put together won the 20-20 shindig, the prophecy had come true. “Get more youngsters” was the call, “Out with the geriatrics!” Leave aside the fact that there is a difference between agricultural swings top edged to the thirdman boundary and building an innings.


India’s record in ODIs in Australia has historically been abysmal. So, when India’s ‘new-look’ ODI team won the Commonwealth Bank Series, it was all about Dhoni, his youngsters and their self-belief. There was not much interest in the fact that the majority of the runs scored were by the surviving veterans and that the ‘young guns’ had single-figure averages for the most part.


And so it is now. Every cricket writer is marveling at captain cool and his band of self-believing brothers. How he coolly ‘dismantled’ the threat that is A Mendis and how he destroyed the juggernaut that was Sri Lanka. His innings of 70-odd being touted as masterpieces of batsmanship that won India the series. A certain Badrinath’s innings of some 30 odd being spoken about as if almost Bradmanesque.


If we pause long enough to change gears and back the effing truck up, we’ll remember that India haven’t been underdogs to Sri Lanka in ODIs since the 2003 world cup. That Sri Lanka’s low, slow, crumbling turners are not that different from those found in Motera and the Green Park. That Sri Lanka played some singularly bad cricket to lose those games. That the Premadasa stadium has a record of 71% wins in favour of the team winning the toss and batting first.


Dhoni’s only real achievement was to manage to call correctly on 4 occasions in a 5-match series in conditions that significantly favour the winners of the toss.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2008 4:45 am

    Once again we find our opinion so different from general consensus.
    Dhoni received the ICC ODI player of the year.
    In that context I would like to publish this on SP – with acknowledgement and linkback as always.


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