Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stop Abusing Laxman and Dravid

I know it is time for all and sundry to throw brickbats and worse at our star batsmen after the double debacle, first a 4-0 whitewash in England and then a repeat 4-0 whitewash in Australia. The second one is even more shocking because betting syndicates as well as former Australian players had put money on India winning the series. The world of tweets, blogs and the net is awash with scorn and abuse for V.V. S Laxman and Rahul Dravid and muted scorn for Sachin Tendulkar. Dhoni, of course is suddenly transformed from an all conquering hero and India's best captain ever to a fool. And Virender Sehwag, he was always irresponsible and casual anyway, isn't it? The less said about the BCCI the better. But most of the abuse seems to be reserved for the golden trio of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. It seems they have become public enemies of India. This is a peculiar habit we Indians have, reflected in all it's glory in the Indian media: praise a bunch of sky highs when they do well and destroy them when they do badly.

Come on guys, by angrily abusing these batsmen, please do not forget the fact they are-along with Saurav Ganguly- arguably the four best batsmen to have ever played for India in recent memory. I am not talking about subjective judgements; my contention is based on facts and statistics. The worst of the lot is Ganguly who has a test average of about 43. He is followed by Laxman with an average of about 46; in fact, take out these two disastrous series and his batting average is close to 50. Dravid has an average of about 52 and Tendulkar has an average of about 55. All have played more than 100 test matches. If you think you cannot be world class and yet maintain such averages over such a long period of time, you must be either ignorant or hopelessly prejudiced or both. Of the players gone by before them, only Sunil Gavaskar has an average of over 50. Dilip Vengsakar too played more than 100 matches and averages about 42. We all very fondly remember G.R Vishwanath for his wrists stroke play and genius. He averages just about 42. Even the doughty and never say die fighter Moninder Amarnath averages about 42. And Ravi Shastri, who spouts such wisdom from the commentary box has an a erase of about 35. The only batsman who has done better than Ganguly is Azzharuddin who averages about 45 in 99 test matches. He couldn't play 100 test matches because he was sacked for alleged match fixing.

Today, you are abusing such great batsmen because of two failures in two away series. Let's go back to 1983 when India won the World Cup. Soon after that, an Indian test team comprising of the likes of Gavaskar, Amarnath, Shastri, Kapil and Vengsarkar was whitewashed 5-0 in a test series in India. Yes, in India. The West Indies team was followed by an England team that comfortably beat India. In fact, before India under Azzaruddin beat England 3-0 at home in 1993, a victory for the Indian team even in Indian soil and 'favourable' home conditions was a rare, rare thing.

And even as you are abusing, do look at Ricky Ponting. Before this series, he looked totally down and out, having failed to score a century in more than 2 years. For three years, he averaged well below 30. And yet the punter was backed by sensible Australians and how he has come roaring back. Okay, even if you think that the best years of our batsmen are over, at least say he and thank you for all the entertainment and joy you provided us over the years. And let's say it with grace. Surely Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar deserve at least that much, if not much more?


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