Indian team: Best of the worst?
India is the number one ranked Test team in the world that too by some distance. In spite of their number one ranking, India has struggled overseas, which makes one wonder about the ranking system. Experts have raised questions every now and then about the utility of rankings.
It is true that India has struggled outside the sub-continent, but, then it is true for every modern Test team. Australia is struggling with their Test eleven, especially with their batting. England have lost Test matches at home to teams like New Zealand, West Indies and Pakistan, forget about winning abroad. South Africa recently lost badly to an ordinary Sri-Lankan side in Sri Lanka. Their batsmen literally surrendered in front of Sri Lankan spin bowlers.
Tailor made or doctored pitches are considered to be the primary reason for this home dominance. It is true that pitches are made to suit home team's strengths, but, that was always there. Even, during 80's and 90's- England had pitches that aided swing, Australian pitches aided bounce & seam and sub-continental pitches aided spinners. Perhaps, it boils down to the quality of teams.
Almost every Test side is struggling outside their comfort zone. Gone are the days when there were some great teams, who used to dominate on their travels abroad. They used to win everywhere in the world, Australian team of late 1990's and early 2000's comes to mind. They won everywhere including India, which they called last frontier. West Indies of the 80's was another great side which won across the globe with the help of their pace battery and swashbuckling batsmen. Nowadays there are no great teams, there are only good teams.
Coming back to the present Indian team, perhaps it's fair to say that they are best amongst the worst, as none of the current teams is good enough to win Test matches outside their native conditions. You can be as good or as bad as your competition is.
With a decent pace attack at its disposal, Indian team is striving for overseas glory which has eluded them so far. Ongoing English series and upcoming Australian series are perfect opportunities for this Indian team to put away 'Lions at Home' tag. With a fiery character like Virat Kohli at the helm, this might be dawn of a new era for the Indian team and world cricket.