Saturday, July 3, 2010


Wow! This feels good... this is my 200th post on this blog. And as CRIC - SIS celebrates its double century, I though I'll write something different today... something fun and unique!

And so I got this idea! I had read somewhere about the views of Sir Alex Fergusson... the celebrated manager of Manchester United Football Club. I read that he encourages his players to settle down in life and get married. He believes that players gain maturity and play with responsibility after their marriages! He even pointed out the case if Wayne Rooney to prove his point. So I thought lets see if his ideologies apply in cricket... or rather, Indian cricket!

Now since I am a little pre-occupied, I decided to restrict my research to India's top-5 batsmen of the last decade... Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag. However, I have excluded Sourav Ganguly from the common analysis because he presents a unique case.

Ganguly has two marriage dates. The first one (August 12, 1996) was when he eloped with his love, now his wife Dona Ganguly, and had his marriage registered in the government records. The second one (February 21, 1997) is the date when he reportedly celebrates his marriage anniversary as he was remarried to Dona Ganguly on that day with the consent of both their families. True Bollywood style, man! More on that later on this blog...

On another note, I am sorry bowlers... but if you want I'll do a similar research sometime later for you guys! This marriage series will continue as and when I get the time...

Sachin Tendulkar married in 1995, scored a record number of runs in 1996 World Cup and raised that form in 1998-99. He maintained his good form till 2003-04 before injuries finally caught up with him and had a toll on his body. So the lady luck supported him well for almost a decade before he faced major challenges that it could not counter!

Dravid married in the midst of his golden days. His marriage in 2003 was followed by his most memorable performance in India's tour of Australia 2003-04... the one series for which he will forever be remembered. He was soon handed the captaincy of the side and led India to Test series wins in England and West Indies. The interesting thing here is his strike rate. There was a good jump in his strike rate in both forms (particularly ODIs) after the marriage. In fact, it gave a boost to his 6-hitting capabilities. So his lady luck carried him to a captaincy stint with Team India and held him well for about 4 years till the disastrous World Cup 2007 campaign.

Viru married in 2004... just after hitting his 309. He followed it up with a couple of successful seasons before his form deserted him and he was dropped from the side. But he came back stronger after that... another 300... then almost another 300... and now he is indispensable to the team. What's unique here is that he is scoring much faster while taking lesser risks! His 6-hitting in Tests has reduced marginally... but the runs are coming faster than ever! The bowlers might start cursing the day when he got married. More than anyone else, Sir Alex Fergusson's theory fits Viru pretty well. Better results with lesser risks!

VVS Laxman is the only guy to whom marriage life has not been good (professionally, I mean)! It almost signalled the end of his ODI career... and has not done anything ti improve his Test performances. Maybe, the only positive is that he has atleast maintained his place in the Test side... which is no mean feat considering the policies of our selectors over the past few years with regard to our seniors.

Coming back to Ganguly, here are his stats:

Ganguly's marriage made his career. From a nobody... he became one of India's finest captains, had a glorious career and came to be regarded as one of the legends in Indian cricket. That is what you call Lady Luck! The Prince of Kolkata had it! His performances were wretched during the period of uncertainty over his family's acceptance of marriage... but once that was out of his way, there was not looking back for him!

So, I guess its time for guys like MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir to look at the option of marriage seriously. Who knows how it might transform their career (for the better)!

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