Is lady luck the game changer for Indian cricket?

By ZRG | Updated: Mar 13, 2013, 15:01 PM IST

Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group

What has contributed most to Indian cricket in last one decade to become a powerhouse in all three formats of the game? Is it a lot of hard work, sheer commitment, extraordinary talent or mere lady luck?

If statistics are any indication, in last decade, India’s cricketing story has among other factors indeed been blessed by lady luck.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s performance in the field imploded post his marriage plans. His first double hundred came post his engagement and the second one came about in one month of his marriage at Hyderabad during the second test match between ongoing India-Australia test match series. But have many other stars been as lucky?

A Zee Research Group (ZRG) sample study finds that many of contemporary cricket stars in India reached their full potential only after they got married. The study analyzed 13 cricketers for whom marriage emerged a significant game changer.

As per the analysis while eight out of 13 cricketers improved their performance post their marriage, the remaining five did not enjoy any such lady luck. The objective is not to blame marriage for decline in performance on the field but to point to the sheer coincidence of lady luck playing a huge factor in career enhancement.

For instance, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar is the best example of career taking the escalator post marriage. Tendulkar who made his Test playing debut at the tender age of 16, married Anjali on May, 24, 1995, and there has been no looking back.

Before his marriage, he played only 35 tests and 97 ODI matches with 12 international 100’s. However, after marrying Anjali, so far he has scored 88 hundreds in both formats. His most memorable cricketing moments have come after wedding.

Moreover, the wall, Rahul Dravid and captain cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni have both grown manifold in their profession after marriage. Dravid scored 22 tons before marriage and 26 international centuries after marriage. However, his ODI performance did not merit all that luck.

Similarly, Dhoni’s wedding proved out to be a boon for him in cricket as only after that he became the second Indian to lift the all important ODI World Cup.

Lady luck also smiled upon Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag. Pujara, who married less than a month ago, has displayed form, class and confidence. Sehwag, who has promised to return to limelight, earned the title of being among the most devastating cricketer in the world after his marriage. He scored 26 hundreds after his wedding in comparison to only 12 earlier.

Not only batsmen, bowlers too have risen to their full potential after getting hitched. India’s spin duo partners Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha have got much success after marriage. Ashwin took 44 wickets before marrying and has scalped 104 wickets in both Tests and ODIs after marriage. Similarly, slow left arm orthodox Ojha has taken 91 wickets in both formats in comparison to 22 he had in his kitty before wedding.

Opening fast bowler Praveen Kumar who has been temporarily banned by Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) after his disputed behavior on field got his first international Test match after marriage. Though, his ODI performance has not much improved after marrying.

However, there are some Indian cricketers who couldn’t continue the same momentum after marriage. Swing bowler, Ashish Nehra is one of them. Nehra who played 17 tests and 78 ODI’s before marriage couldn’t get a single chance in the white dress after marriage. However, he got a chance to play 42 ODIs after his marriage.

Similarly, wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel who played 19 tests before marriage could get a chance in only one more Test match after his marriage. Though, he played few more ODI matches later, but had nothing great to bring home.

Moreover, VVS Laxman, Dinesh Karthik and Gautam Gambhir too couldn’t grow their careers much after marriage. However, barring Laxman’s performances, Karthik and Gambhir witnessed a downfall in their performances after wedding.