Friday, May 20, 2011

On The Martin Crowe Comeback (Seriously)

Cricket is like a Saharan trek without a water bottle these days. Its hard to find a thirst quencher, given that most of the cricketing news is drowned by the hot air of the IPL. It seems that television viewers and internet junkies alike are nearing the end of their patience for it, even I forgot to check out Cricinfo for half a day (horrors!). But, then something caught my eye, this headline:

"Crowe Announces Comeback at 48".

Come again? Russell Crowe making a comeback to Neighbors is more believable. Admittedly he is starting at club cricket level, with aspirations to make it to first class cricket. Seems he is 392 runs short of 20,000 first class runs. Well if he somehow manages to knock off those runs against guys half his age, then good on him, miracles do happen. But even all this is not what inspired me to write this article, here is the real kicker. Says Mr Crowe: 

"Hey! If Ganguly can do it, anyone can do it!" 

The cricketing equivalent to The Fonz. ©

Ah, the Crowe vs Ganguly debate once again. For those of you who aren't clued in, Ganguly led the team to a horrible defeat at the hands of New Zealand (well, mainly dodgy pitches) in 2002/2003. They lost the seven match ODI series 5-2, and the test series 2-0. During that time, the merry band of NZ commentators, led by Crowe, were ripping into Ganguly, singling him out as brash, arrogant and a liability for the team. 

Maybe he was cocky, fair game, but Crowe fails to realize that Ganguly's worst patch as a batsman was those years as captain. But despite that it was his alliance with John Wright that really turned Indian cricket around. It was Ganguly who backed the Harbhajan's and the Yuvraj's and got them through their golden 2003 world cup run, among famous overseas test victories. 

Well, mostly golden. © Neil Lane

Ganguly as a batsman achieved far more than almost all New Zealand batsman. His ODI stats in particular show off a whopping 22 centuries. 

Batting and fielding averages (Ganguly)

Crowe, who is widely regarded as one of NZ's best in history, has this record:

Batting and fielding averages (Crowe)

Roughly equal, Crowe a better test batsman, Ganguly a better ODI one. Belittling Ganguly is completely uncalled for, it was then and it still is now. I can even recall several occasions of him smashing the New Zealand bowlers around like it was a joke. 

Then again Crowe goes on to call Geoff Howarth's coaching 'a joke' and he apparently had issues with Lee Germon and John Wright over the years. In the New Zealand scale he can talk with a bit of authority. On the world scale he hardly measures up. A decent cricketer with a bucket load of excuses, the only legitimate one being a bad knee.

A comeback at 48. Who's arrogant now.


  1. You're a dick. Crowe was just making a joke. Plus, even though Ganguly was a great batsman, he was still a wanker.

  2. I'd agree with you, but Crowe really went after him during that tour of 2002/03 so I don't have much sympathy for him.

    To be honest both of them had real ego problems.

    1. They both had ego problems, I recall Crowe getting out for 299 once and behaving like a brat, blaming John Wright and the coach and (as reports go) hurled his bat like a petulant kid after getting out SHORT of 300.
      Bradman was out for a duck and never got to average 100 in Test Cricket...a far greater record but was a gentleman about it for the rest of his life!

  3. Wasim and Waquar rate Crowe as one of the best batsmen they have bowled to.Can't compare Crowe and Ganguly - they were from different eras. Stats don't always reveal the truth. Ganguly is good no doubt. Ganguly has scored more runs than Gavaskar in ODIs- does that mean Ganguly is better than Gavaskar? Calling Crowe a "decent batsman" is a pathetic joke.Definitely Crowe had gone overboard with his comments against Ganguly. But they both had egos...people who palyed cricket will know their worth. No need for us to judge who is better . Judging only by stats is not correct by any means.By the way I am a Bengali and I am from Kolkata.

    1. "Ganguly is better than Gavaskar? ", Yes Ganguly is a far more accomplished batsman than Gavaskar in the ODI format for sure. Ganguly too has faced and faced well, Walsh, Ambrose, Fraser, Mc Grath, Pollock, Donald, Bishop, Wasim, Waqar and who not?. BTW, if you are a bengali then why would you hide your name anyway?.