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Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

Last updated on: February 19, 2014 15:05 IST

Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

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Rajneesh Gupta and Harish Kotian

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is perhaps the best captain to lead India in the limited overs format, having won two World Cups (T20 and 50-overs) and guided the team to many memorable victories.

The same can't be said about his record as Test captain. Dhoni seems to lack the vision to inspire the team in Test matches, especially away from home.

Rajneesh Gupta and Harish Kotian present a statistical analysis of Dhoni's performance while leading the Indian team overseas.

Is Mahendra Singh Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

The 40-run defeat in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland was his 11th defeat in overseas Tests, the most by any Indian captain. The fact that the second Test at the Basin Reserve ended in a draw, despite India looking favourites to win after the first two days, meant Dhoni's win-less run on foreign soil continued.

Mansur Ali Khan 'Tiger' Pataudi, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly previously held the dubious record, with 10 defeats each.

However, Pataudi and Ganguly are credited with giving India some of its finest moments overseas.

Pataudi led India to its first Test win overseas by beating New Zealand in 1968, while Ganguly's counter-attacking century in Brisbane in 2003 saw India draw the Test series against Steve Waugh's 'Invincibles' Australians 1-1.

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Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Photographs: Reuters

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Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

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Rajneesh Gupta and Harish Kotian

With Dhoni at the helm, Indian cricket fans have hardly any noteworthy moments to cherish by way of Test victories.

India suffered two consecutive whitewashes in England and Australia, losing eight straight Tests in the 2011-2012 season.

Even tailor-made spinning tracks at home didn't help and England shocked India 2-1 in a four-Test series in 2012-2013.

India whitewashed Australia 4-0 at home last year, but that triumph confirmed the policy (of playing on slow tracks) impacted performances overseas. That they were mauled in South Africa in December proved it.

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Image: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads his team back to the dressing room after losing the first Test to New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday, February 9, 2014.
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters

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Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

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Rajneesh Gupta and Harish Kotian

Ganguly inspired India to perform well overseas in the early 2000s and is regarded as one of the finest skippers this country has had.

His successors, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, also believed the only way forward for Indian cricket was improving its overseas record. In fact, in his brief reign as captain Dravid had series wins in West Indies and England to boast of.

Dhoni appears content with lacklustre victories on spin-friendly pitches at home.

Indian captains with most defeats in overseas Tests

LossesTestsCaptainLoss%
1123Mahendra Singh Dhoni50.00
1013Tiger Pataudi76.92
1027Mohammad Azharuddin37.03
1028Sourav Ganguly35.71
814Bishen Singh Bedi57.14

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Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a terrific skipper in the shorter format.
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

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Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

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Rajneesh Gupta and Harish Kotian

Dhoni has failed to register a single win in his last 13 Tests as captain, with India suffering nine losses and drawing four matches.

His record was better in his first 10 Tests, with five victories and two losses, for a win percentage of 50. However, those wins came against the lower-ranked teams.

Dhoni as captain in overseas Tests

 WonLostDrawnWin%
First 10 Tests52350.00
Next 13 Tests0940.00

Under Dhoni's leadership India dominated at home, but the record is the opposite in foreign conditions.

He has an amazing record at home, winning 21 out of 30 Tests, with a success percentage of 70.

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Image: The Indian cricket team celebrates the fall of a wicket
Photographs: Getty Images

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Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

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Rajneesh Gupta and Harish Kotian

Abroad, India, under Dhoni's captaincy, has won just five out of 23 Tests, which include a victory each in Bangladesh, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa.

Dhoni's boys are yet to register a Test victory in Australia and England.

India's record in Test cricket under Dhoni against different nations

 MtsWonLostDrawnWin%
in India30213670.00
in Australia30300.00
in Bangladesh1100100.00
in England40400.00
in New Zealand411233.33
in South Africa512220.00
in Sri Lanka311133.33
in West Indies310233.33
Abroad overall23511722.72
TOTAL5326141350.00

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Image: Will Virat Kohli, right, be Dhoni's successor as Test skipper?
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

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Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

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Rajneesh Gupta and Harish Kotian

A detailed analysis of the performances of all the teams in their last 10 overseas Tests reveals some interesting facts.

South Africa proved it deserves to be the No 1 ranked team in Tests, having won five out of 10 matches away from home, with just one loss.

England and Australia won the respective Ashes series at home, but were thrashed in the away series, having registered just one victory in their last 10 games.

India's record is the worst of the lot -- even worse than minnows Bangladesh -- failing to win a single Test in 10 attempts and suffering nine defeats.

Performance of all the teams in the last 10 overseas Tests:

 WonLostDrawnWin%Loss%
South Africa51450.0010.00
Pakistan35230.0050.00
Sri Lanka35230.0050.00
Bangladesh36130.0060.00
West Indies26220.0060.00
Australia17210.0070.00
England15410.0050.00
New Zealand17210.0070.00
India0920.0090.00

Despite his poor Test record, Dhoni has the backing of India's selectors and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, whose President Narayanswami Srinivasan also owns the Chennai Super Kings which Dhoni captains in the Indian Premier League.

Should Dhoni be axed as Test captain?

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Image: If India lose the second Test against New Zealand, will Dhoni stay captain?
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

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