Day 5 of IPL 2012 saw both the matches resulting into 22-run victory. The coincidence was noteworthy as they winning team, registering second consecutive wins, share the top spot at Points table. Ironically, both the underdog teams have proven Indian Old War Horses, Dravid and Ganguly at helm.
Dravid is trying to fit in the shoes of Shane Warne, leading the Rajasthan Royals, who have been always termed as underdogs despite winning the inaugural IPL edition of 2008. While Warne’s leadership has magical touch where the team full of Indian youngsters and low profile international players joined hands to become one of the most challenging team, Dravid is known for straight-forward cricketing style.
Ultimately, the result matters. The team owners and fans would judge a captain by victories they register. With 2 matches played in the current edition, Dravid has led his team to comfortable victories. 4 more victories would make him fit replacement of Warne, as 6 victories in a season (except 2008) was the average performance under Warne. Any victory beyond that would not only get Royals to a sniffing distance to the semifinal spot, but also prove Rahul’s detractor wrong.
Ganguly, on the other hand, is lucky to be playing the IPL. Probably, more than the favor his protege Yuvraj did to him by recommending his name for captain as his replacement, the credit goes to Sahara Shri Subrato Roy. Being an ardent fan of Indian sports and sportsperson, Subrato Roy was the only person to back up Ganguly, when even his home team Kolkata Knight Riders made him untouchable.
KKR doomed under Ganguly’s reign and during his involvement of 3 years. But, his performance was not that bad when compared to other players. Even while being in the team, the coach and management, for some reasons, made him untouchable. Even the owner Sharukh Khan, despite having words of praise for him in media, could not shower him with complete trust.
Subrato Roy, Pune Warriors owner, gave the complete reign of his team in Ganguly’s hand, knowing him very well in the past. The result was immediately visible. Ganguly made sure that despite the rebuff received by his team during IPL auction, he forms a strong team. As a result Samuels and Clarke were roped in, besides other local team members.
Pune warriors have been a good bowling side in last IPL team also, but could register only 4 wins. This year, the underdogs have already registered two victories in two matches. Both the victories were the result of exceptional captaincy. The team looks strong enough to register more victories this season. A semifinal entry does not appear an impossible target now.
Ganguly and Dravid have given immense contribution to the Indian cricket. Yet, in their later years, they were mistreated by the management, the media and also some of the team members, who probably wanted them out of team to fulfill their dreams, without showing the talent.
Indian Premier League 2012 is now gearing up for the real competition. Although in effect victories for both old horses does not impact Indian Cricket, still BCCI may like to change its way of working with senior players.
Ironically, the strong teams of current Indian captain Dhoni, future prospect Gambhir and Sehwag are struggling to get a good start to the season. Even Harbhajan is proving to be a good captain, and for the first time in 5 seasons, Mumbai Indians are playing aggressive cricket.
Ganguly with full freedom is doing what Warne did to his weak Rajasthan Royals team. Dravid with management backup is showing what he is good at, if he is left to worry only about cricketing stuff, and if uselss politicking does not come on his way.
Whether their teams enter the semifinal race is still too early to conclude, considering they do not have as strong team as many others team can boast off, still a better performance by their teams is a guarantee in the current season. With both the teams having already swallowed one biggie (Warriors def MI, Royals def KKR), and defeating 2008 semifinalists, but now another underdog, Kings XI Punjab, they are set to a historical path in 2012. The credit goes to the captains – Ganguly and Dravid.
While arrival of Watson may again make Dravid’s team a force to reckon with, if they happen to fail in remaining matches, Ganguly as captain is enough to deter any opponent.