At different stages of his career, Sourav Ganguly's every move has been probed. It's no different this time with the Knight Riders hanging on in a roller coaster ride.
Ganguly started opening from his team's fifth match this season and numbers show how effective he has been.
The average is excellent, strike rate not so, but whenever he has made a half-century, the Knights have won. Equally striking is the number of dot balls he has played.
The percentage of deliveries Ganguly has not scored from — especially in the first six overs when just two fielders are allowed outside the circle — is very high by T20 standards. Because of this, he has had to look for boundaries and forced to take risks like playing cut shots from the leg stump.
The gamble has come off so far, which gives him an admirable average and keeps the strike rate away from
Any other opener would have been expected to score faster and his team has the poorest run rate after the first six overs, but Ganguly is getting away with it because whenever he has posted a 50, the team has gone past 180 and the bowlers have defended successfully.
Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir says every dot ball creates pressure on the striker and non-striker and as a member of the fielding side, he prefers dot balls to wicket-taking deliveries.
Knight Riders' coach Dav Whatmore thinks differently. “If we expect our openers to do what other openers do, the results won't make us happy. It's unfair to compare them with others. They are the sort of players who will play a few dot balls and they have their strengths too,” Whatmore said, after Wednesday's win against the Daredevils.
Whatmore had a point and going by numbers, one can't point a finger at Ganguly yet. But it will be interesting to see how the dot ball factor comes into play when the Knights are chasing. Ganguly's strike rate is lesser than the openers of teams that have done better so far. Whether it becomes decisive will be known in the days to come.