As India get ready to face West Indies in a two-Test series in the Caribbean – their first as part of the World Test Championship – we look at their performance in the format in the last few years, the players who have stood out and how India have fared overall as compared to the other major teams in Test cricket.
The Best Win-Loss Ratio in Test Cricket Since 2016
India has the best win-loss ratio and winning percentage in Test cricket since 2016. They won 23 and lost just 8 of the 38 Tests they have played in this period.
India also had the best win-loss ratio in terms of series winning 8 of the 10 they played in the period. Their domination in the series they won can be gauged from the series-scorelines – clean sweeps over New Zealand (3-0 in 2016) and West Indies (2-0 in 2018) at home, an away sweep in Sri Lanka in 2017 (3-0) and a 4-0 (five-Test series) annihilation of England at home in 2016.
Of course, their biggest achievement in this period was a historic maiden series victory in Australia (2-1) in 2018-19. Prior to this win, they had lost 8 and drawn 3 series in Australia.
Of the 10 series India played in this period (not including one-off Tests), they did not lose a single Test in as many 6. They won 14 Tests at home in this period and lost just one – to Australia in Pune in 2017.
The two series they lost were both away – 1-2 in South Africa and 1-4 in England. The series-scoreline could have been different in South Africa had India capitalized on their chances in Cape Town. They also had the upper hand at various stages in the opening Test in Birmingham and again in the fourth Test at Southampton.
The Best Batting Team in The World
India has been the best batting unit since 1st January, 2016 with a collective average of 37.61. The ability of their batsmen to score big runs stands out – India have scored 53 hundreds in this period – the second-best being Australia with 38.
Virat Kohli (3619 runs in 36 Tests) and Cheteshwar Pujara (3006 runs in 36 Tests) are the two standout Indian batsmen during this period. They are the second and third-highest run-getters in the world only after Joe Root (3700 in 47 Tests) in this time-frame.
Kohli’s average of 65.8 in this period is the second-highest only after Steven Smith in this period. Pujara is not far behind at number 4.
No batsman has scored more hundreds than Kohli in this period (14). He aggregated above 500 runs in three series in this period – against England at home in 2016, Sri Lanka at home in 2017 and in England in 2018.
No batsman has faced more deliveries in Test cricket than Pujara (6759) in this time-frame. In terms of balls faced per match, again, it is Pujara who tops the charts after Steven Smith (195 deliveries per match), facing, on an average, 188 deliveries per match.
Ajinkya Rahane saw a significant dip in his overall batting average in this period. From 44.95 till 2015 his average has dropped to 37.38 since 2016.
Ravindra Jadeja has been the surprise package with the bat. He has aggregated 1012 runs at an average of 42.16 including 9 fifties and a maiden hundred against the West Indies in Rajkot in 2018.
Fast Bowling Resurgence and Outstanding Bumrah
The combined bowling average and strike rate of the Indian pace attack since 2016 is 26.17 and 52.5. Only their South African counterparts have done better with an average and strike rate of 22.51 and 42.2.
Jasprit Bumrah has led the charge with 49 wickets from just 10 Tests at a brilliant average of 21.89 and strike rate of 49.3 – the best returns for an Indian bowler (in terms of average and strike rate) in this period.
Bumrah’s tally of 21 wickets in Australia was the second-highest for an Indian pacer in any series in Australia – after Kapil Dev’s 25 in 1991. His average of 17 and strike rate of 44.9 were also the best ever for an Indian pacer in Australia (min. 5 wickets in a series).
The performance by the Indian pace battery (in terms of average and strike rate) was the best ever for any pace attack to visit Australia from the subcontinent.
R Ashwin has been India’s highest wicket-taker in the period with 166 wickets from just 33 matches.
Jadeja has been amongst the wickets and has picked 124 from just 25 Tests at an average of 23.64 – the best for a spinner in Test cricket in this period.
Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami have also played a significant role in this period. Shami has picked 97 wickets at 26.34 a piece at an impressive strike rate of 50.3. Ishant has picked 66 wickets from 22 Tests at an average of 26.33.
Overall, India’s average and strike rate has been the best only after South Africa in this period.
India’s bowling strike rate in 2016, 2017 and 2018 has been amongst the best in any calendar year in their Test history (in top 7 years).
It does not come as a surprise that India are currently the number one ranked team in Test cricket according to the ICC Rankings.