Captaincy Records: Ganguly vs Dhoni vs Kohli
Being a great player and being a great leader is completely different. There was a period in the game when the best player in the playing XI was given the captaincy, but time has shown that many have failed to cope with the burden of captaincy despite having dominated the game with their unparalleled cricketing skills.
Leading a cricket team is not a cushy job, and that too in a country like India where cricket is celebrated as a religion. While a non-captain has only a role to play as per the specialization, the captain has to deal with personal differences, grievances, team selection, mental strengths, building a better team, and many minute details have to be looked after by the skipper.
India has seen 33 Test captains and 24 ODI captains in the history of the sport. All of them have carried the hopes of millions of Indians on their shoulders at some point of time. Each of them have molded Indian cricket in one way or other, be it a memorable victory or a rise from the ashes moment. Vijay Hazare led India to its first ever test victory, MAK Pataudi uplifted India's fighting spirit, Kapil Dev made Indians dream for the World Cup and achieved it, Mohammad Azharuddhin led India on more than 200 occasions, whereas Ganguly took India out of the match-fixing saga's misery and taught Indians to believe for an overseas victory. MS Dhoni won a number of titles as captain, while Virat Kohli will carry the dreams of millions of Indians to repeat their 2011 feat.
Since the 2008 Commonwealth Bank series, comparisons started between Ganguly and Dhoni's captaincy. The question arises that till date, who the better captain is for India, Dada or Dhoni?
Yet, in the past few years, Virat Kohli has avoided taking baby steps by taking giant leaps. He is just one victory away from equalling the record of most test wins by an Indian captain with 27 wins. All three of them have led India in different situations and here, we try to present some statistical comparisons between the three of them.
Sourav Ganguly- The Initiator
Match-fixing allegations on some of the most senior players shook the whole nation. The belief on the sanctity of the game was under question. The whole dressing room was grieving. With the golden boy, Sachin Tendulkar refusing to lead the team in such despair times, a Young lad from Kolkata was offered the role. He stepped up and endured a meteroic rise in form and leadership.
Ganguly's aggressive brand of leadership was what stood out. Under his leadership, India succeeded overseas and won games at Lords, Johannesburg and Adelaide. He conquered everywhere, every opposition. Be it making Steve Waugh wait for the toss or removing the t-shirt at 'The Mecca', he was not one to shy away from displaying his emotions. He became India's most successful skipper, until eight years later when a certain MS Dhoni took over the mantle.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni- The Conqueror
Losing against Bangladesh, Rahul Dravid's Indian team was thrown out of the league stages from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. The Indian team needed a new leader to take them through and in the inaugural T20 World Cup, Rahul Dravid and the senior cricketers decided to step back, giving youngsters an opportunity to make an early mark in their career.
The leadership role was still under concern. The board was to take a call if Sehwag or Yuvraj Singh were to lead the team. However, Sehwag's injury concerns made the selectors think otherwise. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, only a few matches old in the T20 tournament was promoted to the mantle. The 26-year-old Ranchi lad, with his cool mindset and gambling decisions, led India to conquer the World T20. Soon, he was ascdended to captaincy in all formats.
One of MS Dhoni's biggest achievements till date was the way he led the Indian team to the World Cup title in 2011, ending a 28-year drought. In 2013, he became the first captain in the game to win all three ICC trophies and when he transferred the baton to Kohli, he finished as one of the best ever Indian captains to play the game.
Virat Kohli- The Consistent
When the senior players from the national side were having low-key days, Virat Kohli led India to a victorious U-19 World Cup campaign in 2008. Soon, he was expected to be given a try at the national level with a world cup in sight. He did make his graceful impact with the bat.
After impressive shows with the bat, Kohli was soon given the responsibility of leading India in the longest format where Virat showed his abilities, his aggressive mindset, from the very first Test itself. He planted the 'Ruthless' attitude in Indian cricket, winning consistently. With another World Cup in sight, lack of personal batting forms and criticism, MS decided to pass on the burden to his junior pro in all formats. Since then, he has never failed to make any impacts as far as the Indian side is concerned.
He went on to lead India to the Champions Trophy final. Under him, India gave a tough fight to South Africa and England in the Tests at their home turf. He went on to become the first Asian skipper to win a Test series in Australia. He won the ODIs against South Africa by the margin of 5-1 and has also led India to become one of the most consistent teams of the current generation alongside England.
A Coincidence Enough? All three have the highest ODI score of 183. Dada's came against Sri Lanka in 1999 WC, MS hit it against the Lanka in 2005, while Virat scored it against Pakistan in 2012 Asia Cup.
Sourav Ganguly led India in 49 Tests, winning 21 of them. His winning ratio is 42.85% while that of losing is 26.53%. Some of his memorable victories include stopping the mighty Aussies in 2001, snatching the Border-Gavaskar trophy, the 2001 Kolkata Test, Leeds in 2002, Adelaide in 2003, Pakistan series of 2004. He is also the only Indian skipper to win a Test series in Pakistan. He took charge when India was at number 8 in Test rankings, and left India second-ranked in test cricket, still a record for the biggest jump.
MS Dhoni is currently the most successful Indian Test skipper. He led India in 60 tests, winning 27 of them. His win ratio is 45% while that of losing is 30%. He led India to the number one rankings in Tests for the first time. Some of the memorable victories under him include Perth in 2008, Lord's in 2014 and 4-0 against Aussies at home in 2013.
Virat Kohli is the second most successful skipper in Test cricket. He has led India in 46 Tests, winning 26 of them. His win ratio is 56.52% while that of losing is 21.73%. He led India to some of the most memorable away performances and made India ruthless in test cricket. Some of the famous victories under him include Test Series in Sri Lanka, Test Series in Australia, Wanderers Test 2018, Trent Bridge 2018, home Wins against Proteas, Aussies, New Zealand and England. Under Kohli, India has occupied the No.1 spot in test rankings for a long time.
Away vs Home Records
Sourav Ganguly is mostly known for his overseas success. However, he couldn't replicate those at home. He led India in 11 Test victories away from home, out of the 28 matches. He is the most successful Indian Test skipper in overseas conditions.
MS Dhoni has been often criticized for his away records. The low-key of his captaincy career includes white-wash in Australia and England. He led India in 30 matches away from home, winning only 6 of them.
Virat Kohli is on the verge of becoming the most successful Indian skipper overseas. He has won 11 matches for India away from home. He is the skipper who has led India to victories at the home as well as away from home. Moreover, he also has the lowest losing ratio, adding emphasis on his effectivness as an away captain.
Batting records in tests
Ganguly scored 2561 runs from 49 matches and averaged 37.66 as a captain. However, his overall test record saw him average 42.17.
MS Dhoni scored 3454 from 60 matches and averaged 40.63 as a captain. This was a boost as he averaged slightly lesser overall in test cricket with an average of 38.09.
Virat Kohli is currently India's highest run scorer in test match cricket, as a captain. He has scored 4515 runs with 18 centuries from just 46 matches and averages a whopping 62.70 as skipper while overall, in test cricket, Kohli has 6613 runs from 77 matches at an average of 53.76.
One Day Internationals
Sourav Ganguly led India in 146 ODIs, winning 76 of them. His win ratio is 54%. He led India to the finals of 2000 Champions Trophy, won the 2002 Natwest Trophy, won the 2002 Champions trophy. He led India to 2003 Cricket World Cup finals when it was least expected.
MS Dhoni has led India in 200 ODIs, winning 110 of it (59%). He is known for his success in ODIs. He is also the second most successful ODI skipper ever, behind Ricky Ponting (165). He led India to its second World Cup victory, and the second Champions Trophy victory as well. For a short period, he took India to the number one position in world cricket and made India a force to reckon with in ODIs. He also led India to the CB series in 2008.
Virat Kohli is still young in limited overs captaincy. However, he has the fourth highest win percentage in ODIs, following Faf du Plessis' 78.12%, Clive Llyod's 77% and Ponting's 76%. He has led India in 68 ODIs, winning 49 of them with the win ratio of 74%. Famous victories under him include the clean sweeps against the Sri Lanka, The 5-1 against the Proteas, series against the New Zealand on their home turf. He also became the first Indian skipper to win a bilateral ODI series in Australia apart from leading the 'Men in Blue' to the finals of the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Away v Home records
Ganguly's performance as a skipper overseas has fared even in the ODIs. He led India to 58 victories out of the 111 matches while Dhoni's overseas records are better in the limited overs as compared to the Tests. He has led India to 67 victories of 117 matches. Virat Kohli's records are equally distributed in home and away conditions. He has led India in 40 away ODIs, winning 30 of them.
Ganguly scored 5082 runs as the skipper of the team and averaged 38.79 while overall in ODI cricket, Ganguly notched up 11221 runs while averaging 40.95. MS Dhoni, on the other hand, averages more as a captain, with 53.56 and overall, averages 50.72.
Virat Kohli's record as a captain is phenomenal. He has scored 4123 runs and has the highest batting average as an ODI skipper, with 80.84 from 68 matches.
Ganguly can be known as the initiator of the reform in Indian Cricket, Dhoni for establishing the reforms and conquering every ICC Trophy and Kohli for consistent ruthless victories. As a comparison, it is tough to compare the three since each of them have their own USPs as captain of the Indian team.
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