India are currently on a streak of 11 unbeaten matches in Tests, something that equals the national team’s sixth best run of form over all formats and in all time. New captain Virat Kohli has started his campaign on an imperious note, and is in line to beat all previously standing records in this 2016/17 home season that is currently underway.
Apart from the five great captains who find place in this article, there has only been one instance when India have gone on a run of more than 10 matches without losing – an instance that deserves special mention also because of the time in which it was achieved.
From January 1953 to January 1956, India did not lose a single Test, drawing 11 and winning 2. There was no single captain for the span of these three years, however – Vijay Hazare led a brave Indian team in West Indies, Vinoo Mankad’s team showed similar mettle in Pakistan, and Polly Umrigar’s side beat the touring New Zealand side 2-0. Having started playing the game barely 20 years ago, India had finally marked their arrival in international cricket.
However, it was to be more than twenty years till another similar run of form came about again.
# 5 – MS Dhoni (11 matches)
Like Kohli, his predecessor MS Dhoni also started his reign of captaincy with a golden touch, proving unbeatable in his first eleven matches in charge. He took over from Anil Kumble in the middle of a home series against Australia in November 2008, winning his first match and clinching the series 2-0. In December that year, Dhoni’s India trounced the visiting English side 1-0.
In March the following year, India travelled to New Zealand, for what was expected to be a tough series. However, it turned out to be an unexpectedly easy 1-0 series win for the visitors, buoyed by Sachin Tendulkar’s 160 in the first Test. India hosted Sri Lanka for a 2-0 series win after this success, following that up with a 2-0 series win in Bangladesh. Dhoni’s India was already among the most successful of all time – his record read 8 wins, 3 draws, 0 losses.
Unbeaten from November 2008 to February 2010 – 8 wins, 3 draws