Let’s take a look at the records of some popular Test captains and their dubious records in an away country
Particularly in the last decade or so, Test Cricket is becoming slowly a format that favors the home side more often than not. In the earlier times, teams like West Indies and Australia used to tour countries and win convincingly overseas as well but unfortunately, that is not the case anymore. To put things into a proper perspective, even Bangladesh is a tough team to beat at home and we have seen teams struggle to achieve that feat in the last few years.
Winning and losing is a part and parcel of the game but some of the top captains in the world Cricket have failed to conquer one particular country even after making several attempts at that. Let’s take a look at few such captains and their most difficult country to tour as a captain.
Michael Vaughan – Sri Lanka – 6 Tests:
Michael Vaughan is one of the most successful of England captains who have an excellent record as the skipper of England but Sri Lanka is one country where he failed to win even a single Test match even after 6 such attempts.
Sri Lanka has been a dominant team at home and even the strongest of the touring teams in the world have struggled to beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. The presence of stalwarts like Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Chaminda Vass used to make life difficult for the visitors.
The Michael Vaughan led England team found out how difficult it was to beat Sri Lanka in their backyards the hard way. Vaughan led England in Lanka in 6 Test matches in two different tours. England held on to draw in the first two Test matches in 2003 but Sri Lanka beat them in the final test match by an innings to win the series. The series in 2007 was no different either wherein Sri Lanka beat England by 88-runs in Kandy and bad weather conditions forced the nest matches to be ended as draws.
Ricky Ponting – India – 7 Tests:
Former Australian captain, Ricky Ponting has hurt the Indian team and their Cricket-crazy fans on numerous occasions with his stupendous batting performances but as a captain, he enjoys a captaincy record that others can only dream of. But the story was not the same for skipper Ricky Ponting while leading the Australian team on Indian soil. Ponting led the Australian team on 7 occasions against India in India but unfortunately, he failed to taste success even on one occasion.
Ponting was actually a part of the touring Australian team in 2004 for a 3-match Test series which Australia was leading 2-0 after the end of the 2nd Test match but Ponting was not playing those matches due to a broken thumb and Adam Gilchrist was in charge of the team. Ponting returned for the 3rd Test in Mumbai as the captain but Australia failed to chase a 4th inning target of 107 in that match. Australia again toured India in 2008 under the captaincy of Ricky Ponting but lost the series 0-2 and during Ponting’s final tour to India in 2010, India again won the series 2-0. Ponting played a total of 14 tests in India but Australia could win taste success only on 2 occasions. Ponting’s record in India doesn’t speak volumes of his high standards that he normally enjoyed everywhere else. In 25 completed Test innings, Ponting has scored 662 runs at a poor average of 26.48.
Sunil Gavaskar – Pakistan – 8 Tests:
In the last 2 decades or so, India has been enjoying supremacy over Pakistan in the longer version of the game but things were not so earlier as Pakistan used to dominate India in Tests, and many of the contests used to be one-sided especially when India was touring Pakistan. Sunil Gavaskar knows how difficult a task it was to beat Pakistan on their own home soil as he led India in a total of 8 Test matches on 2 separate tours to Pakistan but India failed to win even a single match.
Gavaskar, the captain might have succeeded but Gavaskar, the batsman has an awesome record against Pakistan in Pakistan. The Little Master has scored 1001 Test runs at a healthy average of 58.88 with the assistance of three Test centuries under his belt.
Stephen Fleming – Australia – 8 Tests:
Nez Zealand has always played their best Cricket when pitted against their neighboring country but even their best was proven to be not best enough against the mighty Australian team. Many of the Test matches played between the two neighboring nations were one-sided just like the recent 3-match series in the 2019-2020 season where Australia whitewashed New Zealand.
Even an astute captain like Stephen Fleming couldn’t change the fortune of the New Zealand team when it comes to beating Australia in their backyards. Fleming led the Blackcaps in eight Test matches across three series but failed to win even a single match there.
Brain Lara – South Africa – 9 Tests:
Brian Lara was the first captain from West Indies to have gone on a tour of South Africa and by the end of that tour, eventually became the first captain of West Indies to have faced the humiliation of being whitewashed by any team. West Indies lost the series in 1998 5-0.
West Indies toured South Africa again in 2003-04 under the leadership of Lara for a four-match Test series but the story didn’t change as West Indies failed to beat the Proteas in any of those four matches, although they put an end to South Africa’s winning streak by holding on to a draw in the third Test match at Cape Town.
Brian Lara as a cricketer holds many records in the cricketing book but the record of being the captain to have lost most Test matches in an away country, he wouldn’t have liked this record for sure. Brian Lara, the batsman has tried his best to change the fortune of West Indies in South Africa by scoring 841 runs at an average of 46.72 with two centuries that also includes a double ton, but even his best wasn’t good enough to beat South Africa on their own turf.