5 Reasons why Team India’s No. 1 position in Tests doesn’t appeal
Published - Oct 6, 2016 10:14 am | Updated - Oct 8, 2016 8:51 am
Reaching the No. 1 spot in Test cricket has become a game of musical chair of sort in the current year. While India took over from South Africa in January after the Proteas were beaten 1-2 by the English team at home; in February, it was Australia who bagged the position after beating their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand 2-0. But their disastrous 0-3 loss to Sri Lanka in the latter’s den recently dislodged them from the throne.
India then shot to fame again but their failure to win the fourth Test against the West Indies in the Caribbeans, thanks to the unfavourable weather, helped Pakistan, who drew 2-2 with England in England, snatch the position. Now, India have reclaimed the position after beating a visiting New Zealand in a series.
If Virat Kohli’s men even draw the remaining game with the Kiwis starting at Indore on October 8, then Pakistan won’t be able to repeat their August feat despite beating the Caribbeans 3-0 in their upcoming series in the UAE.
Now that India have become the No. 1 Test team again in the same year, all Indians will be naturally happy. Particularly, when the sentiments have been injured in other fields, dislodging arch-rivals Pakistan to win back the top position is all the more sweet.
But strictly asking from the cricket’s point of view, does India really deserve to be No. 1 in Tests? Here are some ways to look at things:
1. Pakistan has been playing all Tests ‘abroad’ now:
Pakistan, who have been playing in the UAE as their home since that dastardly terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in their actual home in 2009, have not lost in a Test series since 2014/15. In fact, Pakistan haven’t lost a single series in the UAE so far – even against top teams like England (beaten twice), Australia (beaten once) and South Africa (drawn twice) and are looking favourites to beat the Windies in the upcoming series as well. The last time Misbah-ul-Haq’s men had lost a Test series was against Sri Lanka in the island nation in 2014.
India, on the other hand, have won four series on the trot no doubt, but three of those victories have come against low-ranked teams like Sri Lanka, West Indies and New Zealand. In the case of Pakistan, it must be taken into account that they are eventually playing all their games abroad. The wickets may be similar in Pakistan and the UAE but the fact that Pakistani players have been staying away from their families for most part of the year to play ‘home’ games gives them an edge.