The English love their Tests and the Indians love their ODIs. This shows in their overall performance. England has never ever won an ODI World Cup and India has never won a Test series on Australian soil, considered the ultimate triumph by many English players.
The balance had tilted a bit in before 2011. India beat England in Tests in 2007 and went on to become No. 1 in the ICC Test rankings, while England won the T20 World Cup in 2010. It may be noted that maximum criticism of the IPL and the effect of T20 on Tests comes from Englishmen.
Recently England great and former all-rounder Ian Botham blasted IPL and called for it to be scrapped.
But from 2011, there has been a course correction and India has crashed in Tests and England in ODIs. From 1996-2011, England didn’t win a single Test series against India, while India didn’t win an ODI World Cup from 1983-2007.
From 2011-14, India and England have faced off in 13 Tests and England have thrashed us 9-2.
In the same period, the two teams have played ODIs and it is India which leads 12-6. Combining the two in international matches our win-loss record is a much more competitive 14-15.
In this period India have won the ODI World Cup in 2011, the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 and were runners up in the T20 World Cup in 2014.
England on the other hand has won two Ashes which seem to be more precious than the World Cup for Indian fans.
While England has won three Test series in a row versus India, India has won three ODI series in a row and also beat them in the ICC Champions Trophy final.
Of course there have been some exceptions in Tests. During this time period, India whitewashed Australia 4-0 and Australia whitewashed England 5-0. (England also whitewashed India 4-0 to complete a circle)
Of course the Indian fan is lamenting because from 2007-2011, he had it all. We were at some point No. 1 in the ICC rankings in Tests, ODIs and T20s. Apart from T20 and ODI World Cups; we were also competitive in Tests abroad.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom as it is made out to be. Indian cricket is definitely not dead. Indian Test cricket is not dead too. We are doing well in ODIs and T20s and even home Tests. On home soil MS Dhoni has an amazing 21-3 win-loss record. Nobody comes close.
Maybe that’s why the BCCI is still persisting with Dhoni. He is on his way to becoming the all-time greatest captain of the world in the shorter formats of the game and the greatest Indian Test captain at home.
His only chink is away Tests and maybe the BCCI is ready to let that go by. Interestingly despite that, Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly share the record for the most overseas Test wins against the Top 8 nations, with 5 apiece.
That means even if he manages to win one Test in Australia, he will have the most wins.
Interestingly Dhoni’s overall win-loss Test record from 2011 stands at a decent 13-14, which is still far better than certain dismal phases that Indian cricket has seen. Maybe that’s why the BCCI is not pressing the panic buttons yet.
However time is running out. We are visiting Australia in December and another 0-4 Test whitewash would simply have to see the BCCI bringing about wholesale changes in how we play Test cricket.
Of course one person who had it all was the legendary Sunil Gavaskar who was the envy of all at his time. He began his career with a Test series win against World Champions West Indies on their home ground in 1971.
We are yet to match that feat. We haven’t beaten subsequent Test champions Australia and South Africa on their turf.
Gavaskar was present in the exciting 1978 Australia series where we were tied 2-2 into the fifth Test. Chasing a stiff 493, we fell short with a fighting 445 all down. He was part of the 1983 ODI World Cup winning squads and subsequent triumphs at Sharjah.
He captained a victorious India in the 1985 mini World Cup in Australia. Before retirement, he was part of the squad that beat England 2-0 in the Test series. He was the first batsman to go past Don Bradman’s record 29 centuries and the first to make 10,000 Test runs.
Interestingly a lot of 0-4s and 0-5s took place in the pre-Gavaskar era. A 0-4 took place after he retired and two took place recently. However there was not a single 0-4 and above in the Gavaskar era. This despite the fact that he played many 5 and 6-Test series!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/