More about M. S. Dhoni-how he stacked up against other Indian and foreign captains

In this concluding part of our statistical tribute to M. S.Dhoni, we take a closer look as to how he did compared to other Indian captains as well as keeper-captains from other countries.

We start with this table listing all Indian captains from 1932 to end-2014, in chronological order:

Indcap-1

It is, of course, more meaningful to arrange these in decreasing order of win/loss ratio and for those who captained in at least 10 Tests.

Indcap-3

We see that Dhoni has led India in a record 60 tests (next is Ganguly with 49), a record 27 wins (next is Ganguly with 21), 18 losses (second to Pataudi with 19) and a relatively low 15 draws in 4th place (Gavaskar leads with 30 followed by Kapil and Azharuddin). More importantly, his win/loss ratio of 1.50 is second only to Ganguly’s 1.61 and is followed by 1.33 by Dravid.

Finally, we look at his individual performance as a player in the Tests he captained in. Here we again consider those who captained in at least 10 Tests:

Indcap-5

These are arranged in order of batting average. One cannot compare him with any other Indian keeper-captain since there is none (remember, Dravid was never a designated keeper in Tests). But his batting average as captain is better than that of some pure batsmen.

Now we look at his performance as batsman and keeper while he was captain and non-captain, also home and away and combinations of these factors. These are all given here:

Cap vs noncap

We see that he did better both as a batsman and keeper when he was captain. His batting average was significantly lower outside India, although his keeping was better. To sum up, he did best as a batsman while captaining at home, and did best as a keeper while captaining abroad.

Lastly, we compare him with keeper-captains from other countries. (Remember that some like Stewart played a significant number of Tests as non-keepers. But here we are only considering Tests where the captains were designated keepers.) Even then, Zimbabwe’s keeper Taibu managed to do a little bowling while he was supposed to be keeping.

Raw

The above list was for all keeper-captains in descending order of Tests played in that role. Dhoni is the only Indian in this list and has played the most Tests. A more meaningful comparison is with those who played at least 10 Tests in this role, which we see here:

Ref

He has played in the most Tests (60) and the next in line (Mushfiqur) played only 19.

His batting average is the third highest after Andy Flower and Mushfiqur Rahim.

His dismissals per match is also in third place, after Stewart and Alexander.

So we are justified in saying that his performances as a batsman and keeper among the best among those who captained their Test sides. While questions can be raised about his captaincy in the later stages, he still has the second highest win/loss ratio among Indian captains who played sufficient Tests. This would not have been true if he was as incompetent as a captain as he is being made out to be now.

A statistical tribute to Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Test cricket

Now that Mahendra Singh Dhoni has retired from Test cricket, we look back at his career statistics and the numerous Indian wicketkeeping records he holds. Here we are taking statistics for fielding as a whole for all countries, so that we can see where he stands both in Indian and world cricket. His ODI figures are another matter, but that deserves a separate post when he retires from that format. First, the overall figures:

Dhoni-career

You can see that he is in 5th place overall. He is followed by Dravid (who was never a designated keeper in Tests) and Kirmani (who just fell short of 200 dismissals with 198). While on this topic, I wonder if one should follow the practice of the late Bill Frindall and some other statisticians who ignore the ICC v Aus Test of 2005-06 in their records. Fortunately Statsguru give you the means to ignore it if you want.

Next we look at fielding records in a match:

Dhoni-match

Here we see that the match record is 11 by Russell and de Villiers, followed by 10 by Bob Taylor and Gilchrist. Dhoni is one of many keepers to dismiss 9 in a match, and ironically he achieved this in his last Test at Melbourne. The previous record was 8 by himself (thrice) and Mongia (twice). Dhoni naturally shares the Indian record of 8 catches. For non-keepers, the record is 7 catches by several including Yajurvindra Singh.

Looking at innings figures:

Dhoni-innings

Here we see that the record is 7 dismissals by four other keepers, while Dhoni and Kirmani are the only Indian keepers with 6 dismissals. Dhoni has 6 catches to Kirmani’s 5. (Several non-keepers including Yajurvindra Singh, K. Srikkanth and M. Azharuddin have taken 5 catches). This brings us to the topic of stumpings. Here is the table for stumpings:

Dhoni-career st

Here Dhoni and Kirmani are jointly third with 38, after Oldfield and Evans. It is interesting to see that Boucher’s stumpings amounted to only 23 out of 555. Gilchrist had a somewhat better ratio at 37 out of 416.

Now for stumpings in a match:

Match-st

Neither Dhoni nor Kirmani feature here, but the world record is held by Kiran More with 6 (Hirwani’s match) followed by the little-known P. K. Sen with 5. He might be the only Indian Test player to be born in a place which is now in Bangladesh (Comilla). Also note V. Rajindernath who took 4 stumpings and no catches in his only Test. He did not get to bat either.

And finally, stumpings in an innings:

Innings-st

More again has the record with 5 in the same match dominated by Hirwani. Oldfield and Sen follow with 4, while Dhoni did not manage even 3.

Then we look at the ratio of dismissals per innings, which might have some logic such as batting averages and bowling averages. Here we consider only those who have fielded for 20 or more innings. Both keepers and non-keepers are considered:

Dis per innings

Here the list is headed by the lesser known C.O. Browne (WI) and S. J. Rhodes (Eng). Dhoni has the highest ratio for India with 1.771. No one else from India has exceeded 1.500.

Much has been said about Dhoni’s captaincy by other writers, so I am not getting into that. I will conclude with a summary of his batting career:

Dhoni-batting runs

With 4876 runs he stands 11th among Indian batsmen, far ahead of other wicketkeepers.

Comparing batting averages of Indians (minimum 20 innings batted) we get:

Dhoni-batting avg

Oddly, Kambli leads this list followed by his old classmate Tendulkar. Dhoni is quite far down, though again far ahead of other keepers. Also R. Ashwin has a better batting average than some better-known specialist batsmen.

We conclude with a study of his batting against different opponents, in different countries and in different continents besides home and away:

Dhoni-batting summary

Bangladesh and Pakistan have been his favourite opponents, while West Indies, England and South Africa have not seen his best. His lack of success against West Indies has been particularly puzzling as it generally was a weak team during his playing days.

Looking at venues, Bangladesh and Pakistan are again his favourites while he has done better in New Zealand than in India. Australia and West Indies (again?) have not been too favourable for him.

As you would expect, he has done best in Asia and worst in the Americas (i.e. West Indies) and Oceania.

To sum up, he holds most of the wicketkeeping records for India. While not among India’s top batsmen, he was certainly a better batsman than any other Indian wicketkeeper.