Kohli-Shastri: An overseas series win still a distant dream

Indian coach Ravi Shastri, prior to the fifth Test against England had claimed that this was the strongest Indian team in the last 15-20 years. But is it? Sportstar analyses.

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri during a training session at Adelaide in Australia in 2014.   -  Getty Images

India's capitulation within four days of the fourth Test in Southampton resulted in yet another away series defeat for captain Virat Kohli and his men.

The defeat came close on the heels of a 1-2 series defeat against South Africa in its own backyard. Contrary to the popular perception of India being a poor travelling side, head coach Ravi Shastri -- prior to the fifth Test -- had hailed this Indian team as the best touring side in the last 15 years.

“I can’t see any other Indian team in the last 15-20 years that has had the same run in such a short time, and you have had some great players playing in those series,” Shastri had remarked.

While Kohli has racked up nine Test wins (5 in SL, 2 in WI, 1 each in SA & Eng) overseas (42.86 per cent), lost eight times and had four draws, seven of those nine victories have come against lower-ranked Sri Lanka and West Indies in conditions better suited to India's strengths.

And while Kohli boasts of solitary wins in South Africa (Johannesburg) and England (Nottingham) respectively, those haven't translated into series wins, his loss % in away Tests is worse than his predecessors Sourav Ganguly, and Rahul Dravid - two captains credited with some of India's watershed wins outside the subcontinent.


Top five away records of Indian captains in Tests (minimum five tests)   -  RAJNEESH GUPTA


Similar anomaly

Shastri's stint as India's head coach —3 wins in SL, 1 each in SA & Eng —  has been blighted by a similar anomaly. The only away series win Shastri tasted as coach was against Sri Lanka — ranked No 7 at the time.

Under Shastri, who became the head coach in 2017 after Kumble's resignation, India has played 11 overseas Tests, winning five while losing six. And while his win percentage (45.45%) is markedly better than his predecessors, the wins -- save against Sri Lanka -- are isolated wins and didn't result in series victories.


Overall away records of recent Indian coaches   -  Rajneesh Gupta


Away wins under the other coaches (a breakdown country wise)

John Wright- 2 each in Pakistan & Bangladesh, 1 each in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka,  West Indies, England & Australia
Greg Chappell- 2 in Zimbabwe, 1 each in West Indies & South Africa
Gary Kirsten- 2 in Sri Lanka, 2 in Bangladesh, 1 each in New Zealand & South Africa
Duncan Fletcher - 1 each in West Indies & England
Anil Kumble- 2 in West Indies


On the contrary, in 2002 in Headingley in the Sourav Ganguly-John Wright period, India levelled the series 1-1 in England for the first time in 16 years.

The following year, India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, drawing the series 1-1 against a tough Australia side led by Steve Waugh.

The Ganguly-Wright duo also oversaw India's first Test series triumph in Pakistan in 2004 and it came on the heels of its maiden One-Day International series victory (3-2) and first Test win — at Multan — in the neighbouring country.

Away wins under the remaining captains (a breakdown country wise)

Ganguly - 3 in Ban, 3 in Zim, 1 each in SL, WI, Eng, Aus & Pak
Dravid - 1 each in Pak, WI, SA, Ban & Eng
Kumble- 1 each in Aus & SL
Dhoni- 1 each in NZ, Ban, SL, SA, WI & Eng

Then in 2007, Rahul Dravid became the first Indian skipper to win a series in England after 1986. The team travelled without a coach after the resignation of Greg Chappell, with Shastri serving as the team manager.

In 2009, M.S. Dhoni became only the second Indian captain in 41 years to win a Test series in New Zealand.


Away records of recent Indian coaches in England, South Africa and Australia   -  Rajneesh Gupta


Among all the recent Indian coaches, Chappell and Kirsten have the numbers to flaunt — a win percentage of 33.33 in top 3 Test playing nations England, South Africa and Australia; followed by Wright who comes second with winning percentage of 20. Duncan Fletcher has the worst numbers, having overseen 14 losses in the aforementioned countries (5.26 winning%).

(Stats Credit: Rajneesh Gupta)