The magnificent five - II

Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Ganguly – who contributed the most during India’s Golden run in Test cricket

By Jaideep Varma & Jatin Thakkar

Part 2 of 2 | Read Part 1

Continuing the story of the great contemporary Indian batsmen through the five phases of their glorious careers, through the singular prism of Impact Index.

PHASE 4 - September 2005 to October 2008

India P 35 W 11 L 9 D 15.

Notably beat West Indies and England away and Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia at home. Lost to Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Pakistan away. Drew with England and South Africa at home.

Ganguly’s angst-ridden exit as captain and the strange period of cloak-and-dagger politics that followed (with Greg Chappell as coach) saw India dip somewhat from their previous highs. Despite overseas series victories under Dravid in England and West Indies, this side did not have the all-conquering air the previous phase had seen. Dravid’s decline as a player began in 2007, and he gave up the captaincy later that year. Under Kumble (who perhaps got the captaincy too late), the team was effective but not a world-beater.

All IMPACT numbers on a scale of 0 to 5.

Batting IMPACT – The average impact his batting had on matches he played in, on a scale of 0 to 5.
SDs – Series-defining performances. The most important legacy of a cricketer, or at least, what should be.
Failure% - The percentage in this period the player could not achieve an IMPACT of even 1 in the matches he played.

Tendulkar, Laxman and Sehwag were nowhere near their best – which played a significant part in what appeared to be the beginning of a decline. Conversely, Ganguly clawed his way back into the team and performed at his peak – he even produced the sole series-defining performance of his career during this phase (against a rampant South Africa) – perhaps an indication of the player India may have missed due to the rigours of captaincy.


1. R Dravid – 81 & 68 v West Indies, Jamaica 2006 - Batting IMPACT 6.47
(Series defining performance)

2. SC Ganguly – 87 & 13 not out v South Africa, Kanpur 2008 – Batting IMPACT 5.16
(Series defining performance)

3. SC Ganguly – 239 & 91 v Pakistan, Bangalore 2007 - Batting IMPACT 5.98

4. MS Dhoni – 0 & 76 not out v England, Lord’s 2007 – Batting IMPACT 5.75

5. V Sehwag – 201 & 50 v Sri Lanka, Galle 2008 – Batting IMPACT 5.57

Dravid’s last truly memorable match performance brought his team the first Indian Test series win in West Indies in 3 decades. Ganguly makes it on this list for the first time in his career, and that too twice. Dhoni’s finest Test innings also makes it here – it saved the first Test and eventually played a big part in India winning its first series in England after 21 years. Sehwag’s awe-inspiring innings a few months after his comeback sadly had no impact on the series result eventually. So, just 2 series-defining performances in this phase after all 5 in the previous one – quite a drop, not an encouraging sign.


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