How has Ravi Shastri fared as the Indian coach in Tests compared to his predecessors

Ravi Shastri oversaw a stunning 2-1 series win in Australia.

Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble, Duncan Fletcher, and Gary Kirsten as a coach in Tests

Ravi Shastri as the Indian head coach in Tests

Ravi Shastri

Anil Kumble as the Indian head coach in Tests

Anil Kumble

Duncan Fletcher as the Indian head coach in Tests Duncan Fletcher

Duncan Fletcher

Gary Kirsten as the Indian head coach in Tests

Gary Kirsten

On 19 January 2021, Team India, under the tutelage of Ravi Shastri breached Australia‘s Fortress Gabba to win an enthralling series 2-1.

The triumph at the Gabba was all the more laudable, as it came in the absence of six first-team regulars. The team deserves the highest praise for their stunning win, but credit also goes to Ravi Shastri for his work behind the scenes.

It was India’s second Test series win in Australia under Ravi Shastri, with no other Indian coach managing even one. The likes of Gary Kirsten, Duncan Fletcher and Anil Kumble have helped the team scale new heights, but Ravi Shastri’s achievements help him soar above them all.

Nevertheless, let’s delve into the numbers for a statistical comparison of how Ravi Shastri fares against Gary Kirsten, Duncan Fletcher and Anil Kumble in Tests. 

Under the mentorship of Ravi Shastri, Team India have been on the winning side on 20 occasions in Tests – the most among the quartet of himself, Anil Kumble, Duncan Fletcher and Gary Kirsten.

Ravi Shastri assumed the role of the Indian head coach in 2017. Since then, Team India have played 34 Tests, winning 20, and have had a win-loss ratio of two.

India have toured six different nations under Ravi Shastri, which includes two triumphant tours of Australia.

Notably, India have only failed to win in New Zealand during this period, while notching up four victories in Australia, three in Sri Lanka, two in West Indies and one apiece in England and South Africa.

Former Indian captain – Anil Kumble – was appointed as the Indian head coach in June 2016.

In 17 Tests, Kumble won 12 Tests and lost only one for a staggering win-loss ratio of twelve.

However, during this period, India had only one tour – that of the West Indies for a four-match series – which the visitors won 2-0.

Duncan Fletcher replaced Gary Kirsten as the Indian head coach in 2011.

In 39 Tests under Fletcher, India won 13 Tests and lost 17, and had a win-loss ratio of 0.764.

India fared well at home under Duncan Fletcher, winning 11 of 15 Tests, while losing and drawing two apiece.

However, the team’s away record was particularly horrendous during this period. In 24 Tests, India were victorious on only two occasions while losing a whopping 15 times – seven in England, six in Australia and one apiece in New Zealand and South Africa.

Gary Kirsten was appointed the Indian head coach in March 2008.

Kirsten’s appointment changed the fortunes of the team, as India reached the number one spot in the ICC Test Rankings for the very first time.

Under the South African, India played 33 Tests, winning 16 of them for a win-loss ratio of 2.7.

The team also fared decently in away Test matches under Kirsten, winning six of 14 games and losing four. However, India did not tour Australia or England during this period.

Anil Kumble undoubtedly has the best win-loss ratio (12) among the quartet, but the team only had one overseas tour – a supposedly less daunting trip to the West Indies.

The team fared better under Gary Kirsten, especially overseas – where they won six Tests – but India did not tour Australia or England – arguably the two toughest tours in the game. However, under Kirsten, India won the 50-over World Cup in 2011, but that is a discussion for another day.

India played the most Tests (39) under Duncan Fletcher but also endured the most defeats (17) – with 15 of them coming away from home. Fletcher did oversee 13 Test wins for India, but 11 of them came at home.

Under Ravi Shastri, India have won 20 Tests – the most among the quartet. The record becomes even more impressive if one considers the fact that eleven of these wins have come away from home. The Mumbaikar has overseen Test wins in all four SENA countries except New Zealand.

Thus, it would be fair to surmise that Ravi Shastri is the most successful Indian head coach among the quartet.

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