What can Team India learn from English Tours of the Past?
Foreign shores have often proved to be the Indian Cricket Team’s Achilles heel and England has been no different, especially, when it comes to the longest format of the sport. In 193 Test Matches played outside Asia (barring Zimbabwe), India has won 26, drawn 75, and lost 92 matches- a win/loss ratio of 0.28! A combined 9 series wins, 3 of which have come in the West Indies in the last 12 years, in 55 attempts. At home, against the same opposition, they have won 75 Tests, drawn 82, and lost just 47. A win/loss ratio of 1.59, that is almost 6 times better.
An Indian side has made as many as 17 trips to Great Britain and returned victorious only thrice, drawing one Test series and losing 13. Each of these three victorious campaigns is at least 15 years apart, showing that in no era has an Indian team shown sustained quality in Engla. As the African Proverb goes, “You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win.” So what can Team India learn from the defeats of their countrymen in the years gone by?
India has toured England 4 times in this century. While the first two sojourns were successful- drawing the series 1-1 in 2002, and winning it 1-0 in 2007, the next two were disastrous- losing 0-4 in 2011, and 1-3 in 2014 after being 1-0 up. What was different?
In 2002, India played as many as 8 tour matches across formats against English counties and a West Indies A team. By the time the Test series came around, they had also competed in a Tri-series alongside England and Sri Lanka and won it. Remember Dada’s shirt-removing act at Lord’s? In 2007, they had played 5 ODIs in Ireland and Scotland against the likes of Ireland, Pakistan, and South Africa, and 5 other tour games.
Come 2011, there was no tour of Ireland, no ODI series, and just 1 tour match before the Test series got underway. In 2014, it was hardly any better with as many as 2 tour matches before the first Test. Put simply, India were undercooked and didn’t have enough time to acclimatize to the English conditions which, to be honest, are pretty foreign for us tropical creatures.
This time around India again play just a solitary tour game. However, they will be traveling to Ireland to play two T20Is and competing with England in a T20I as well as an ODI series before the Test series commences.