The magnificent five

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


By Jaideep Varma & Jatin Thakkar

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It is now clear that the Golden era of Indian cricket is coming to an end. Or more likely, it ended in 2011 itself; it has just taken us this long to confirm it.

By all accounts, that period began during the early days of Ganguly’s captaincy and ended last year in South Africa – under Dhoni’s leadership, with India still the official No. 1 Test side. The World Cup victory that immediately followed was the last hurrah.

Besides bowlers like Kumble, Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan, batsmen like Gambhir and wicketkeeper/captain Dhoni, the five people most responsible for this were the members of the famed batting line-up – Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag.

Impact Index does a Test cricket analysis here to determine who contributed the most, in which period, how they combined with each other and what it all really means at the end of it. We examine certain truisms, identify some myths and confirm some facts.

We divide the entire analysis into 5 phases –

1)    November 1989 to June 1996: when Tendulkar began and gradually became India’s most important batsman.

2)    June 1996 to November 2000: when Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid played alongside in the early days under Azharuddin’s and Tendulkar’s captaincy.

3)    November 2000 to September 2005: India under Ganguly’s leadership.

4)    September 2005 to October 2008: India under Dravid and Kumble.

5)    October 2008 to January 2012: India under Dhoni.

The Golden Age constitutes all of phases 3 and 4, and a good part of phase 5. But what came before it, and a little bit of what happened after, helps in understanding the contributions much better. Listing the 5 highest impact batting performances from each phase sharpens the picture even more.

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