‘Came 2-3 years late in the careers of icon players’, says Saba Karim on Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, and Laxman’s struggles in IPL

‘Came 2-3 years late in the careers of icon players’, says Saba Karim on Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, and Laxman’s struggles in IPL

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Rahul Dravid in action for Rajasthan Royals



While India’s greats Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly. and VVS Laxman had achieved everything in ODIs and Test cricket, their careers in T20s could never take off. Saba Karim believes that they would have benefitted if the Indian Premier League (IPL) had been formed earlier.

In 2007, when the Team India for the inaugural T20 World Cup was announced, the star-studded trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid went missing from the squad. All three had collectively decided that T20 cricket is a game for the youth and the team would be better off without them for the tournament held in South Africa. As it turned out a fitting decision, India, led by MS Dhoni, created history and won the World Cup, which in turn, triggered the birth of a T20 revolution in India known as the Indian Premier League (IPL).

While Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and VVS Laxman – the 'Fantastic Four' of Indian cricket – achieved everything in ODIs and Tests, their T20 careers did not go as they wished to. Among them, only Tendulkar played a sole T20I match for India. When the IPL debuted, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman were the marquee players for their franchises and was appointed as captains of Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers respectively.

Barring Tendulkar, the other three enjoyed little success in IPL or any T20 cricket. 

Former BCCI national selector and ex-India wicketkeeper Saba Karim feels the reason behind their struggles in T20 cricket was the timing of the entire T20 revolution in India. All four were in their early 30s and with T20 cricket considered a game of youth, Karim feels they just could not adjust to the taxing demands of the shortest format.

Speaking on the YouTube podcast 'Khelneeti', Karim said, “IPL came 2-3 years late in the careers of icon players. The track record of players like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly has been brilliant in white-ball cricket. So for them, it would have been easier for them to adjust to T20 cricket."

"I think they tried a lot, but since it was the last leg of their careers, it took time to adjust to T20s," he added.

Tendulkar enjoyed the most fruitful career in the IPL among the four players, aggregating 2,334 runs in 78 matches. Dravid, meanwhile, played 89 matches and had 2174 runs, while Ganguly recorded 1349 runs in 54 games. Laxman, however, enjoyed the least success, scoring just 282 runs in 20 IPL games.

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