Cricket is riddled with myths that fans do believe. These myths pass from generation to generation when fans discuss historical cricket moments. Such myths often fog the fame of veteran cricketers. Cricket fans also believe in certain conspiracy theories to define something they believe happened. Let us dig deeper to demystify these myths and find the truth. In fact, their tendency to believe in such myths often influences the match prediction.
There is a common myth in cricket that Indian batsmen struggle facing fast bowling, despite their mastery against spin bowlers. However, this belief is not entirely accurate. Players like Sehwag, Dravid, Sachin, and Laxman displayed exceptional skills against quality pacers. In fact, from 2002 to 2010, India had an outstanding record against fast bowlers. In the 1970s and 1980s, legends such as Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, and Mohinder Amarnath were equally skilled at handling spin and pace. India has always developed exceptional methods to tackle fast pacers and score well on the field.
Yuvraj Singh, one of India’s most prolific limited-overs batsmen, made his mark in international cricket during the ICC KnockOut Trophy 2000 held in Nairobi. While many remember his brilliant innings of 84 against Australia in that tournament, few know it was not his debut game. Yuvraj made his debut against Kenya in the same tournament. However, in the match against Kenya, Yuvraj was not required to bat as the Indian top order comfortably chased down the target of 209. Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid both scored half-centuries in that game. Yuvraj contributed with his bowling, scoring four overs and conceding 16 runs without taking any wickets.
Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Cricket, has faced immense criticism regarding the number of matches India lost when he scored a century. However, a closer look at the statistics busts this myth. Out of the 463 ODIs Tendulkar played India could not win 200 matches. In those 200 matches, Tendulkar scored 14 centuries, with his highest being 175 against Australia in Hyderabad in 2009. On the other hand, in the ODIs that India won, Tendulkar scored 33 centuries at an impressive average of 56.63. He also holds the record for the highest number of Man of the Match and Man of the Series awards in ODIs (62 and 15, respectively), which speaks to his significant contributions to India’s victories. In Tests, he scored 20 centuries, highlighting his impact across formats. We can clearly understand how this legend was the prime pillar behind India’s wins in all the cricket formats.
Sourav Ganguly, one of India’s finest captains, led the team to several memorable Test victories outside India. However, fans believed India did not win any Test series under Ganguly’s captaincy outside the subcontinent, except for a triumph against Zimbabwe in 2005. While it is true that India did not secure any Test series victories outside the subcontinent under Ganguly, it is essential to acknowledge his contribution to laying the foundation for future success. Under his leadership, India won one Test against England and Australia at Leeds and Adelaide, respectively, resulting in drawn series. Under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, India finally won a Test series in England after 21 years. They also achieved another historic victory in the West Indies, ending a 35-year drought. Later, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, India won a Test series against New Zealand in 2009. While Ganguly’s overseas Test series wins may not be as extensive as some other captains, it was his role in shaping a team that achieved remarkable success in the future.
Anil Kumble’s success was limited to turning tracks at home, or so it was believed. However, during the 2003-04 period, he proved his mettle by taking 36 wickets in 6 Tests combined in Australia and Pakistan. Additionally, he had outstanding tours of England in 2002 and 2007. Contrary to popular belief, Kumble excelled abroad, especially after turning 30, making him a versatile asset for the Indian team.
The Test match at Eden Gardens in 2001 between India and Australia saw India’s stunning comeback after being forced to follow on led to this myth. It is often associated with the belief that Australia stopped enforcing the follow-on after that match. However, there is no factual basis for this belief. After the Test at Eden Gardens, Australian captain Steve Waugh enforced the follow-on in seven subsequent opportunities and won all seven matches. In fact, soon after the Kolkata Test, Waugh had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on against England in the Ashes series and saw his team secure a resounding victory. His successor, Ricky Ponting, also enforced the follow-on on four occasions out of 13 opportunities.
Seeing is believing! Cricket fans must keep their facts right to make proper predictions. Keeping an eye on the performance of the top players in the squad will give an extra advantage in winning contests. These myths will come and go, but cricket and its fandom will remain. Demystify myths with facts. Don’t believe what all are saying, and understand how cricketers strive to give their best on the field. Remember, your knowledge will lead to proper analysis of upcoming matches. It is then you can make better predictions based on facts.