An Away Venue – Team India's New Favourite Hunting Ground

18 out of 56, that is, a third of India's away wins in their 89-year Test history, have come in the last six years.

4 min read
Hindi Female
Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

A victory is a victory and must be celebrated, but what makes it sweeter is when a team goes to a foreign land, battles it out in unfamiliar territory, and manages to come out on top.

On Thursday, 30 December, India did precisely that and added another feather to their cap when they beat South Africa by 113 runs to win their first-ever match in Centurion and their fourth match overall (out of 21) in the country.

Over the years, this Indian team, more often than not, have managed to produce many such results, making fans forget the days when foreign tours meant utter humiliation for the team and the country, when expectations were low and people would be content with a brilliant one-off performance. A victory would often come as a shock or a sweet surprise, with many having to pinch themselves to make sure that it wasn't a dream after all.


A Third of India's Overall Away Test Wins Have Come in the Last Six Years

Their improved performance can also be seen through some fascinating numbers.

India has played 558 Test matches since making their debut on the world stage in 1932. Of these, they have won 166 matches, lost 171, and drawn 220.

Out of the 558, 280 matches were held at an away venue. India have only won 56 of those, lost 118, and drawn 106.

This is where things get interesting. Out of those 56 away wins, 18 have come since 2015. In other words, nearly a third of their away wins (32.14 percent) have come in the last six years in their 89-year Test history. Yep, you read that right.

Since 1 January 2015, India have played 38 Test matches at away or neutral venues, winning 18 of those, losing 13, and drawing seven. In doing so, India won Test series in Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Australia twice.

While Sri Lanka and West Indies may not be the teams they once used to be, the feat is no less in itself, considering the last time India won a series in Sri Lanka before 2015 was in 1993. Meanwhile, India also won their very first series in Australia in 2018.

India was also leading the Pataudi Trophy against England 2-1 earlier this year before the fifth Test match was postponed due to COVID-19. If they win that match next year, they will win their first series in the country in 14 years.

18 out of 56, that is, a third of India's away wins in their 89-year Test history, have come in the last six years.

South Africa captain Dean Elgar watches on as India bowler Mohammed Siraj and teammates appeal during the fourth day of the Test Cricket match between South Africa and India at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday, 29 December.

(Photo: PTI)

What Has Changed for Team India?

So what has changed? For one, self-belief. The team believes they can win from any situation, and their never-say-never and fight-till-the-end spirit has produced many memorable victories.

Their confidence has also rubbed off on the fans, who now have expectations and experience the feeling of shock only when the team loses or performs poorly. India really have come a long way!

Team India no longer depends on one or two players to produce a miracle or turn things around. Instead, they play like a unit, with everyone being aware of their specific roles and pitching in with crucial performances.

Remember the famous victory at Lord's in August this year? Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, all contributed to the victory, with the latter two, known for their bowling, even chipping in with the bat and sharing that impressive 89-run ninth-wicket partnership, which dented the confidence of the opposition.

The above example highlights another crucial reason for India's success – our bowlers! Having produced some world-class batsmen and being spoken about for their batting for most of our history, this Indian team now has some world-class bowlers, on whose shoulders rest the hopes of a billion people.

Gone are the days of reading the cliched headline: 'It's India's Batsmen vs the Opposition's Bowlers'.

Who would have thought that one day the team management would have to face a problem of plenty when it came to picking bowlers in the playing XI? At last, the dilemma is whom to pick and whom to leave out.


Perfect Opportunity for India to Win Their First Series in South Africa

Now, with India leading 1-0 in the three-match series against South Africa, it is yet another opportunity for them to create another record and win their first-ever series in South Africa.

What might work in India's favour is that the hosts have only beaten Sri Lanka and West Indies in the last two years. Also, their batting line-up hasn't exactly set the stage on fire in 2021, as could be seen in the first Test match, where only skipper Dean Elgar and batsman Temba Bavuma put up a fight.

The current South African team is also not like the ones India faced earlier on their previous tours to the country.

The Proteas are yet to find replacements for the likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, and Faf du Plessis, who have retired in recent years.

What makes matters worse for the hosts is their wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock's sudden announcement to retire from Test cricket late on Thursday night. Other than being a huge loss for the team, it could also play on the South African players' minds. From India's perspective, however, the news could not have come at a better time.

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