February 10, 2010

Nightmares on the road

The worst and best performances by touring sides

When Australia beat the World Twenty20 champions by two runs at the MCG last week, it brought to an end an excruciating tour for Pakistan.

They arrived in Australia in the third week of December and had a satisfactory draw in the tour game against Tasmania. It was all downhill from there on. Pakistan were beaten 3-0 in the Tests (though they came within 36 runs of winning in Sydney), whitewashed 5-0 in the ODIs only for the second time in history, and succumbed in the Twenty20 as well. Their 0-9 report card in Australia was the worst ever for a team on a tour, which is what we've looked at this week, with the inclusion of World Cups and other multi-team tournaments.

Bangladesh were the previous team to suffer the Worst Tour Ever, on their trip to Pakistan in 2003. They lost all three Tests, although they were a wicket away from winning in Multan, before Inzamam-ul-Haq's determination to avoid humiliation denied them. Then followed five one-day internationals, all of which Pakistan won with ease, leaving Bangladesh with eight defeats from eight games.

All internationals lost on tour (host country by season)
Team Host Country Opposition Season Total Tests ODIs T20Is Won Draw Tied NR Lost
Pakistan Australia Aus 2009/10 9 3 5 1 0 0 0 0 9
Bangladesh Pakistan Pak 2003 8 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 8
West Indies New Zealand NZ 1999/00 7 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 7
Zimbabwe India Aus,India,NZ 1987/88 6 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 6
New Zealand Pakistan Pak 1990/91 6 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 6
Sri Lanka United Arab Emirates Aus,NZ,Pak,WI 1993/94 6 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 6
South Africa Pakistan Aus,Pak 1994/95 6 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 6
Australia India India,SA 1996/97 6 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 6
West Indies Pakistan Pak,SA,SL 1997/98 6 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 6
Zimbabwe West Indies Pak,WI 1999/00 6 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 6
Zimbabwe Bangladesh Ban 2006/07 6 0 5 1 0 0 0 0 6
Bangladesh Sri Lanka SL 2007 6 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 6
Bangladesh Pakistan Pak 2007/08 6 0 5 1 0 0 0 0 6

The ongoing West Indies tour of Australia will not feature in the table above because they drew one Test and lost the other two. But, having lost their first two ODIs, it will appear in the table below should they fail to win any of the remaining games - three ODIs and two Twenty20s. A net result of nine defeats, one draw and no wins could rival their awful visit to New Zealand in 1999-2000 as their most forgettable. Two established West Indian greats were on that tour, but one of them, Brian Lara, was in mediocre form - three half-centuries in nine innings - and Courtney Walsh averaged over 75 with the ball. West Indies suffered heavy defeats in both Tests and lost all five ODIs.

Bangladesh's journey to South Africa during the 2002-03 season could have resulted in 11 out of 11 defeats if not for one washout. They went there first in October that season for three ODIs and lost all - the smallest margin of defeat was seven wickets - after which they suffered two innings defeats in the Tests, before they returned home to prepare for the World Cup. The opening game of their campaign - against Canada - was Bangladesh's best chance to notch up a win but they failed to chase 180 and lost by 60 runs. Then they lost to Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and Kenya, and were 32 for 2 chasing 244 against West Indies when rain forced an abandonment.

No wins in all internationals on tour (host country by season)
Team Host Country Opposition Season Total Tests ODIs T20Is Won Draw Tied NR Lost
Bangladesh South Africa (6 teams) 2002/03 11 2 9 0 0 0 0 1 10
Zimbabwe Australia Aus,India 2003/04 10 2 8 0 0 0 0 1 9
New Zealand West Indies WI 1984/85 9 4 5 0 0 2 0 0 7
India West Indies WI 1988/89 9 4 5 0 0 1 0 0 8
New Zealand South Africa SA 2000/01 9 3 6 0 0 1 0 1 7
Pakistan Australia Aus 2009/10 9 3 5 1 0 0 0 0 9
Bangladesh Pakistan Pak 2003 8 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 8
India England Eng,NZ,SL,WI 1979 7 4 3 0 0 3 0 0 4
Pakistan New Zealand NZ 1984/85 7 3 4 0 0 1 0 1 5
Sri Lanka Pakistan Pak 1985/86 7 3 4 0 0 1 0 0 6
India Pakistan Pak 1989/90 7 4 3 0 0 4 0 1 2
West Indies New Zealand NZ 1999/00 7 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 7
South Africa Sri Lanka SL 2004 7 2 5 0 0 1 0 0 6
England India India 2008/09 7 2 5 0 0 1 0 0 6

Time to look at brighter tours, ones on which teams never lost a game, or won everything. West Indies came to India in 1983-84 still smarting from one of the game's great upsets - losing the 1983 World Cup final to Kapil Dev's team. The six Tests were interspersed with five ODIs and Clive Lloyd's team didn't lose a game, claiming the Tests 3-0 and the sweeping the one-dayers. That Test series was part of a 31-Test winless streak that India endured. West Indies played three tour games as well. They beat East Zone and might have Central and South as well if not for rain.

No losses in internationals on tour (host country by season)
Team Host Country Opposition Season Total Tests ODIs T20Is Won Draw Tied NR Lost
West Indies India India 1983/84 11 6 5 0 8 3 0 0 0
Australia West Indies (9 teams) 2006/07 11 0 11 0 11 0 0 0 0
Australia South Africa (8 teams) 2002/03 10 0 10 0 10 0 0 0 0
Australia New Zealand NZ 2004/05 9 3 5 1 8 1 0 0 0
South Africa West Indies WI 2004/05 9 4 5 0 7 2 0 0 0
West Indies England Eng 1976 8 5 3 0 6 2 0 0 0
Pakistan United Arab Emirates Aus,India,NZ,SL,WI 1989/90 8 0 8 0 8 0 0 0 0
Pakistan Zimbabwe Zim 2002/03 8 2 6 0 7 0 0 1 0
West Indies Pakistan Pak 1980/81 7 4 3 0 4 3 0 0 0
South Africa Pakistan Pak,SL,WI 1997/98 7 3 4 0 5 2 0 0 0
Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zim 2004 7 2 5 0 7 0 0 0 0
Zimbabwe Kenya Ban,Kenya 1997/98 6 0 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
Australia Pakistan Pak 1998/99 6 3 3 0 4 2 0 0 0

Australia's two immaculate World Cup campaigns in 2003 and 2007 are on top of the table of tours during which the visiting team won every match they played. In South Africa they were in serious danger of losing to New Zealand and England but recovered to win 11 out of 11 games. There were no hiccups in West Indies, where their smallest margin of victory in 11 games - 53 runs - was in the final.

One of the surprises in the table below is India's 100% win record in Australia in 1984-85. They won all their five games during the World Championship of Cricket, beating the hosts, England, New Zealand and Pakistan, twice. The best India have managed since is a 50% win record, on their trips there in 2003-04 and 2007-08.

All internationals won on tour (host country by season)
Team Host Country Opposition Season Total Tests ODIs T20Is Won Draw Tied NR Lost
Australia West Indies (9 teams) 2006/07 11 0 11 0 11 0 0 0 0
Australia South Africa (8 teams) 2002/03 10 0 10 0 10 0 0 0 0
Pakistan United Arab Emirates Aus,India,NZ,SL,WI 1989/90 8 0 8 0 8 0 0 0 0
Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zim 2004 7 2 5 0 7 0 0 0 0
Zimbabwe Kenya Ban,Kenya 1997/98 6 0 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
West Indies England Aus,NZ,Pak,SL 1975 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0 0
India Australia Aus,Eng,NZ,Pak 1984/85 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0 0
South Africa United Arab Emirates India,Pak 1995/96 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0 0
England Zimbabwe Zim 2001/02 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0 0
Pakistan Bangladesh Ban 2001/02 5 2 3 0 5 0 0 0 0
England Bangladesh Ban 2003/04 5 2 3 0 5 0 0 0 0
New Zealand Bangladesh Ban 2004/05 5 2 3 0 5 0 0 0 0
Australia Bangladesh Ban 2005/06 5 2 3 0 5 0 0 0 0
South Africa Bangladesh Ban 2007/08 5 2 3 0 5 0 0 0 0
Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zim 2008/09 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0 0
West Indies England Eng,India,NZ,Pak 1979 4 0 4 0 4 0 0 0 0
England United Arab Emirates India,Pak,WI 1997/98 4 0 4 0 4 0 0 0 0
Australia Zimbabwe Zim 1999/00 4 1 3 0 4 0 0 0 0
Pakistan Bangladesh Ban,India,SL 2000 4 0 4 0 4 0 0 0 0
England Zimbabwe Zim 2004/05 4 0 4 0 4 0 0 0 0

If there's a particular List you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo