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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.