Indian Cricket: pre and post Sunil Gavaskar

As the Perth test unfolds,  Indian team tries another attempt to have a new opening batting partnership that of Wasim Jaffer and Virender Sehwag. And as usual, it has not worked.

Since 1987, when Sunil Gavaskar retired India has had trouble with opening batsman. Numerous combinations have been tried- 2 specialist openers,  specialist opener with a middle order batsman, specialist opener with a wicketkeeper etc. But nothing has really worked except is short phases.

The problem has been acute especially when we travel overseas where ball swings and comes at a good pace. Hence, we have poor records overseas. The situation improved lately when our middle order sustained the pressure and Sehwag performed well at top.  But then, with the calibur of India’s middle order, we should have won or atleast drawn more matches.

Now, all this is pure hypothetical stuff based on viewing cricket for a long time. So I decided to check with facts. Here is the summary (Thanks to cricinfo for providing such a useful database):

Before Gavaskar

  % of played

Played

117

Won

15

12.8

Lost

49

41.9

Draw

53

45.3

During Gavaskar

Played

129

Won

25

19.4

Lost

35

27.1

Draw

68

52.7

Tie

1

0.8

After Gavaskar

Played

167

Won

52

31.1

Lost

49

29.3

Draw

66

39.5

My hypothesis is not really wrong and it shows that both number of draws and wins increased in Gavaskar’s time and since then things have detriorated quite a bit. This is actually not a bad thing at all. India did not have pace bowlers (except Kapil Dev, he bowled his heart out) and we needed batsman to save the tests. I don’t mean Gavaskar contributed entirely to the draws but in his time both the winning % and the number of draws increased.

The winning % has improved post Gavaskar but both % of draws and losses have increased. This is exactly what I mentioned above. Given the quality of our middle order, if not wins we should atleast see more draws. But that is not the case.

To win a test match you need to take 20 wickets and I would guess maximum contribution to the winning cause has been made by now Indian captain, Anil Kumble. This piece of statistic just proves my point. He has been an unsung hero for long and the day he retires the loss will be as big (if not less or more) than Gavaskar.

(I know most would be interested in comparing the home record with away record as well. Keep posted. I am working on it.)

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2 Responses to “Indian Cricket: pre and post Sunil Gavaskar”

  1. India’s test cricket record at home and away « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] test cricket record at home and away I had posteda while back over India’s performance in test cricket. The post basically looked at how Indian […]

  2. Economics lessons from Sports/Sportspersons « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] Sunil Gavaskar for his excellent concentration, focus and new ball skills […]

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