The last time a Test match was drawn in South Africa was three years ago; since then 17 Tests have produced results.
By Suresh Menon
The last time a Test match was drawn in
Australian captain Ricky Ponting says that he fears for the future of Test cricket because of the low percentage of decisive matches in the subcontinent. There are two messages here, the obvious one and the one implied, which is that the subcontinent, or more correctly
Only 29 of 47 matches in
But – and this is a point that Ponting has missed – it is not only the tracks that hold the key to a result. There is such a thing as temperament, and psychologically Indian captains play safe, ensuring first that at least a draw is assured before thinking about victory. No Indian captain – Tiger Pataudi, and possibly the early Sourav Ganguly were exceptions – would let go of a bird in hand for a speculative two in the bush. A defeat is such a national disgrace that few captains are willing to take a chance on losing in order to push for victory.
Rahul Dravid’s refusal to enforce the follow on despite a 300-plus lead in the Trent Bridge Test of 2007 or Sourav Ganguly’s similar response after India made 700-plus and restricted Australia to under 500 in the Sydney Test of 2004 are examples of captains who realize that the effigy-burners and editorial-writers are just waiting for a single mis-step to swing into action. It is worse at home where Indian captains are expected to win every time, and the unreal expectations bog them down.
Figures bear out the Indian approach. If it is 62 percent results at home, it is 65 overall for the decade.
Only around 73 percent of matches played in the subcontinent have produced results in this decade, a figure boosted by
In recent years, Indian cricket has not taken kindly to outsiders pointing out a home truth or two. Those like Geoff Boycott, who, knowing which side his bread is buttered on sing its praises indiscriminately, have been received warmly. If Ponting’s concern is not taken seriously, he might well finish as the last of the great Test players.