It might not be exactly right in saying that one man changed this depressing scenario. But that would be close to the truth.
Gavaskar's entry itself coincided with India's first-ever victory over West Indies, followed by a triumph in the series.
Gavaskar was mainly responsible for this, scoring 774 runs with four hundreds, including a century and a double century in the final Test of his debut series.
His deeds inspired the greater triumph that followed in England the same year. And so the saga continued till 1987.
And along the way, there were individual and team feats that none would have thought the Indian team and Indian cricketers were capable of.
Scoring 400 plus to win a Test, running up totals of 600 plus more than once, making bowlers sweat it out for more than a day to earn a wicket.
And inspired by the greater solidity in the batting, the bowlers have risen to the occasion and shaped numerous notable triumphs.
Before Gavaskar came on the scene, India had won only 15 of 117 Tests. In the next 129 Tests, till Gavaskar played his last game at Bangalore in 1987, India won 25.
As regards losses, India in the period 1932-1970 suffered 49 defeats, while in the period 1971-1987, India lost 35 Test matches.
Before 1971, India won five rubbers - three against New Zealand and one each against Pakistan and England.
From 1971 to 1987, India won ten rubbers, four times against England, twice against West Indies and one each against Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Before 1971, India had won only one series abroad "against a none-too-strong New Zealand side in 1967-68".
After Gavaskar came on the scene, India won rubbers in West Indies and England (twice).
Today's champion, Sachin Tendulkar would be the first to acknowledge the inspirational role that Gavaskar has played and the exalted status SMG enjoys in the history of Indian cricket.
And I know that there are many, who despite the greatness of Tendulkar, still swear by Gavaskar as India's No 1 batsman of all time.
After all, the pioneer, the man who shows the way, always has a special aura.
Image: Gavaskar hooks a boundary during his farewell innings of 188, for the Rest Of The World XI against the MCC in the Bicentenary Test at Lord's in August 1987.