The magnificent five

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

PHASE 3 - November 2000 to September 2005

India P 54 W 23 L 15 D 16.

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

In the wake of the match-fixing scandal that threatened to destroy Indian cricket, Ganguly was made Indian captain. As it turned out, those murky days constituted the darkest hour before dawn. The first signs of a fresh, aggressive approach came immediately, during the ICC Champions Trophy in October 2000 (where India was a finalist). However, as a Test captain, it was only during the landmark India-Australia series of 2001 that this new Indian team established its credentials, after which there was no looking back. Ganguly brought out the best in his team – Dravid and Sehwag had the highest impact phase of their careers ever in this period. Tendulkar played an outstanding support role and Laxman produced some great performances. Sadly, it was Ganguly himself, whose batting fell away considerably. But his contribution as an aggressive, innovative captain made up for that to a great extent.

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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.

Dravid’s 5 Series-defining performances in a period of 5 years are the most any batsman has achieved in the history of Test cricket (not just Indian cricket). This is what made him an all-time great player in a very short time. All these performances re-wrote cricket history and took Indian cricket several steps forward.

Sehwag, a middle-order batsman in domestic cricket, established himself in this period as an opening batsman in spectacular fashion. The most interesting number in his columns is the last one – despite the popular assumption that he was (is) a flash player, his failure rate is the lowest along with Tendulkar’s – astonishing for an opening batsman in Tests (who usually have higher rates of failure for obvious reasons). 

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