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Ganguly's decision: Masterstroke or folly?

Rajneesh Gupta | January 05, 2004 22:45 IST

Sourav Ganguly's decision to not enforce the follow-on in the Sydney Test despite being in a position to do so has started a debate in cricketing circles. Some experts have already questioned Ganguly's wisdom and the debate will surely fire up if India fail to win the Test on the final day.

But Ganguly is not the first captain to not enforce a follow-on. He, in fact, provided the thirtieth such instance in Test cricket and statistics reveal that though this decision may seem strange to some, it has brought laurels for the captains concerned on most occasions.

Out of the 29 such instances in the past, the teams not enforcing the follow-on have won on as many as 22 occasions, drawn the match on six occasions, and lost just once.

The only team to have lost a Test after not enforcing the follow-on is South Africa. Captain Dudley Nourse's decision backfired in the Test against Australia at Durban in 1949-50.

Ganguly is only the second Indian captain to not impose a follow-on upon his opponent. Sachin Tendulkar was the first to do so when he decided to give his bowlers a rest rather than the opportunity to have another go at the New Zealanders in the Ahmedabad Test of 1999-00. Tendulkar was later ridiculed by all and sundry for his decision.

Let's wait and watch how Ganguly's decision will be seen: as a masterstroke or an act of stupidity.

Details of instances where Test captains did not enforce the follow-on:
LeadForInns1Inns2OpponentInns1Inns2Result (Winner)VenueSeasonCaptain
399England521342-8dAustralia12266EnglandBrisbane1928-29A P F Chapman
326West Indies471290England145327West IndiesGeorgetown1929-30M P Fernandes
563England849279-9dWest Indies286408-5DrawnKingston1929-30F S G Calthorpe
380Australia701327England321145AustraliaThe Oval1934W M Woodfull
214South Africa530481England316654-5DrawnDurban1938-39A Melville
236South Africa31199Australia75336-5AustraliaDurban1949-50A D Nourse
247West Indies417209-6dEngland170316West IndiesKingston1953-54J B Stollmeyer
202West Indies383181England181313West IndiesBridgetown1953-54J B Stollmeyer
278West Indies500168-5dIndia222151West IndiesMadras 1958-59F C M Alexander
282England490265-8dIndia208376EnglandManchester1959P B H May
270England382230-9dWest Indies11244EnglandPort-of-Spain1959-60F M M Worrell
223West Indies397229England174231West IndiesLeeds1963F M M Worrell
206England298203India92277EnglandBirmingham1967D B Close
340Australia619394-8dWest Indies279352AustraliaSydney1968-69W M Lawry
218South Africa382232Australia164280South AfricaCape Town1969-70A Bacher
235England470233-4dAustralia235328-3DrawnAdelaide1970-71R Illingworth
206West Indies368-9d194New Zealand162253-7DrawnPort-of-Spain1971-72G S Sobers
252West Indies687-8d182-0England435203West IndiesThe Oval1976C H Lloyd
236Australia505256India269445AustraliaAdelaide1977-78R B Simpson
213England420297New Zealand207345EnglandNottingham1983R G D Willis
259Australia426248-8dEngland167323AustraliaBrisbane1994-95M A Taylor
230South Africa460259-7dPakistan230165South AfricaJo'burg1994-95W J Cronje
202Australia479217-6dWest Indies277296AustraliaBrisbane1996-97M A Taylor
275India583-7d148-5dNew Zealand308252-2DrawnAhmedabad1999-00S R Tendulkar
204South Africa420140-7dSri Lanka216149-6DrawnDurban2000-01S M Pollock
208Pakistan472225-5dWest Indies264189PakistanSharjah2001-02Waqar Younis
230New Zealand337243West Indies107269New ZealandBridgetown2002S P Fleming
266England487301-6dIndia221397EnglandLord's2002N Hussain
209Sri Lanka373263-2dBangladesh164184Sri LankaColombo SSC2002-03S T Jayasuriya
231India705-7d211-2dAustralia474??????Sydney2003-04S C Ganguly

Summary of instances of captains not enforcing the follow-on:
West Indies76-1
South Africa5212
New Zealand11--
Vvv Sri Lanka11--

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Number of User Comments: 43

Sub: Ganguly's decesion: masterstroke or folly?

I don't think the decesion as such was a folly. Thinking about the time the bowlers had bowled, I guess they must have been tired. ...

Posted by Vidhata

Sub: masterstoke or folly

Ganguly should have given followon to Australian team as they were under tremendous pressure to save this match for two reason 1)Waugh was playing his ...

Posted by Nainesh Patel

Sub: watch your mouth Rajneesh Gupta !!!

i was shocked to read an article in one of india's premier websites like with such cheap use of language. I was infuriated by ...

Posted by hemanth

Sub: Exemplary decision by ganguly

In my perspective, its a brilliant move by ganguly to not provide the follow on

Posted by Ramesh

Sub: Step by step skipper Saurav Ganguly is leading Team India to the pinnacle of cricketing glory !

With the retirement of the peerless Steve Waugh our Saurav Ganguly is emerging as the shrewdest strategist in international cricket. Saurav needs to be congratulated ...

Posted by Dr. Cajetan Coelho


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