Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra(Twitter)
Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra(Twitter)

'Did Ganguly's team make it to top spot? What was Dhoni's win percentage?': Chopra explains captains legacy

  • Chopra did not name current India captain Virat Kohli but his words came in the backdrop of India’s defeat to New Zealand in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.
UPDATED ON JUN 26, 2021 09:35 PM IST

Former India opener Aakash Chopra gave the examples of India’s World Cup-winning captains Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni to state that the legacy of a captain is determined by the ICC trophies they won and not by the stay at the top of the rankings or win percentages.

Chopra did not name current India captain Virat Kohli but his words came in the backdrop of India’s defeat to New Zealand in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

“What was Kapil Dev's win percentage in ODI cricket as a captain? Did Sourav Ganguly's India team ever make it to the top spot in the ODI or Test rankings? If you think it did, for how long did it stay at that position? What was MS Dhoni's ODI win percentage compared to that of his predecessor, Rahul Dravid?

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“These are tough, somewhat nerdy questions, right? Let's make it easier. Who was the captain when India won their first World Cup? Who was the captain when India won the T20 World Cup in 2007, and the 50-over World Cup in 2011? You probably answered even before you read the questions fully. Of course it was Kapil Dev who led India to their first World Cup win in 1983, and Dhoni is the answer to the two other questions.

“This is how legacies are defined in cricket. As much as some of us might want it to be about the cold numbers, it will never be that way in sport,” Chopra wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.

The 2013 Champions Trophy was India’s last ICC title. Since then, Team India’s failure to win knockout matches has been thorn in the flesh for their billions of fans. India lost in the finals of 2014 T20 World Cup, they were knocked out of the semi-finals in the 2016 T20 World Cup and in the 2019 ODI World Cup. In between, in 2017, they lost the finals of the Champions Trophy and the latest was their defeat to New Zealand in the WTC final.

Virat Kohli was at the helm in India’s last three ICC tournaments.

While talking about India’s performance in the WTC final, Chopra said India’s planning and precision on the reserve day was questionable.

“Yes, the neutral venue was not really neutral, for it favoured New Zealand more than India. The preparation for both teams was also quite different, and that too favoured New Zealand more than it did India. But all that will be and should be forgotten. One thing that India might find tough to forget is the hour that cost them their name on the trophy.

“Was it lack of planning, or the wrong planning, or the lack of proper execution? Only the Indian dressing room will know the answer to these questions. This Indian team has stayed at the top of the Test rankings for five straight years, but unfortunately history will remember the one hour that India didn't plan. The legacy of teams and captains is defined by the trophies they win; it doesn't matter how many battles you win if you fail to win the war,” he added.

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