It’s time for the start of another home season of Test matches for the Indian cricket team. Virat Kohli and his men will play a total of five Tests at home this season, with South Africa featuring in three of those matches [starting October 2] and Bangladesh in two.
The Indian team is going to play a five-day game at home after a lengthy period of time. Since the start of 2018, India have played 14 away Tests – with tours to South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies – and just three at home [one against Afghanistan and two versus the Windies].
With another home season of Test cricket upon us, now is, perhaps, a good time to look at how the Indian team has grown into a formidable force when playing in their own den in the longest format.
Overseas players often speak about how challenging a tour of the subcontinent can be. A major part of that challenge, of course, is the Indian team and its dominance in home conditions. South African players may be in a positive frame of mind as we head into the upcoming Test series but they, especially without the likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, will need to so something special to emerge victorious.
India’s dominance in home conditions has increased tremendously this decade. In fact, only the West Indies team of the 1980s and the Australia team of the 2000s have a better win-loss ratio in home Tests than what India has in the last ten years.
However, India haven’t always enjoyed such a golden run in Test matches at home. Despite having some of the greatest players of the game over the past five decades, India never came close to achieving the consistency of this current team.
All time record of teams in home Tests
As one can see in the table above, India’s all time win-loss ratio in Test matches at home isn’t the best nor is it the worst. This, of course, has a lot do with their record in the first few decades of their introduction to international cricket.
To get a better understanding of how India have grown into a formidable force in home Tests, let’s look at how all the teams fared in each decade starting from the 1970s.
Jan 1, 1970, to Dec 31, 1979
This was the time when India started to find their feet in international cricket. With the likes of Sunil Gavaskar bursting onto the stage, the team won Test series’ in England and West Indies for the first time. But as one can see in the table above, India’s win-loss ratio wasn’t too high. This was largely due to the team’s propensity to play for draws.
Jan 1, 1980, to Dec 31, 1989
The 1980s is India’s worst period over the past five decades in terms of Test matches at home. They may have played fearlessly and won the World Cup under Kapil Dev in 1983, but the timid approach in the longest format was still very much prevalent. India had more losses than wins in this period and they played out an astonishing 24 draws in 42 matches.
Jan 1, 1990, to Dec 31, 1999
The 1990s saw India establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Tests at home. Remember them being called ‘Home Tigers’? Under Mohammad Azharuddin’s captaincy, for the most part, India distanced themselves from the safety-first approach they opted for earlier. The introduction of Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and the likes meant India became a solid outfit all-round.
Jan 1, 2000, to Dec 31, 2009
The start of this millennium saw Indian cricket entering uncharted territories. The 2000s were when Sourav Ganguly had the reins of the team and his aggressive approach led India to many memorable victories at home and away. This was the decade in which Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were all at their peak. The team’s win-loss ratio in home Tests was among the best in international cricket in that period, but it was still lesser that what it was in the decade before that.
Jan 1, 2010, to Sep 30, 2019
Finally, the current decade has seen India establish themselves as giants at home. Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the first half and Virat Kohli in the second, India has become an incredibly difficult team to beat in home Tests. The fact that only the West Indies team of the 1980s and the Australian team of the 2000s – two sides that are widely regarded as the greatest the sport has ever seen – have a better win-loss ratio in the above decade-wise comparison shows just how dominant this current Indian team is.