NEW DELHI: Current Indian team’s back-to-back Test series wins in Australia led to its comparison with world-conquering West Indian and Australian teams of the past, even though Virat Kohli’s men are yet to prove themselves consistently dominant on foreign soil.
Apart from the fact that they are yet to win a Test series in South Africa, New Zealand and England, where they suffered humiliating series loss in 2018, India won the closely-contested series in Australia in 2018-19 and 2020-21. But those wins were not like the one-sided victories registered by the West Indies of the 1980s and Australia of the 1990s and 2000s.
While West Indies swept two series against England 5-0, in England in 1984 and in the Caribbean in 1985-86, they remained unbeaten between 1980 and 1985-86 in 10 out of 11 Test series with the 1981-82 series in Australia as the only draw (1-1).
“I am not too sure they (India) will be able to dominate like the West Indies did. They were winning all five Test matches, even Australian were, winning four out of five,” said batting legend and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on ‘The Cricket Analyst Show’ on YouTube.
“I am not too sure if this Indian team can do that because of the fact that while they are actually a supremely talented team, there are at times inconsistencies that you see.”
During their unbeaten run from 1980 to 1985, the West Indies also hammered Australia twice, 3-0 win in 1983-84 at home and 3-1 win away from home in 1985-86. They also won a Test series 3-1 in Australia in 1988-89.
During the decade of 1979-80 to 1988-89, West Indies played 20 series, winning 14 and drawing five. Their only series loss came in New Zealand in 1979-80.
Earlier, in the 1970s, they won seven out of the 14 series they played during the decade (1970-71 to 1979-80) and drew three series.
Gavaskar felt that the current Indian team can become unbeatable if it weeds out inconsistencies.
“That (inconsistency overseas) is the only thing that makes me hold my breath a little bit. But as far as the potential of this team is concerned, I think sky is the limit,” Gavaskar said.
The Aussies of the 1990s and early 2000s were dominant too. In the 1990s, though, Australia failed to score series wins in India. They were otherwise winning almost everywhere. Out of the 31 Tests series they played from 1989-90 to 1999-00, the Aussies won 20, including a few overseas.
In the 2000s (2000-01 to 2009-10), Australia played 35 series, winning 28 in what is termed as one of the most dominant phases of any team in the history of Test cricket.