November 19, 2008

Lucky leaders

Captains who started with the most consecutive victories
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India have won all three of their Tests under Mahendra Singh Dhoni so far © AFP
 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has led India in three Tests so far - two as stop-gap captain and one after Anil Kumble retired - and he has won all of them. The first was against South Africa in Kanpur earlier this year, the next two were against Australia in Mohali and Nagpur during the recent series. If Dhoni can lead his team to a 2-0 victory in the upcoming Tests against England, he will leap leapfrog 12 other captains on the list of leaders with most consecutive victories after taking charge of a team.

The record for most wins in a row from captaincy debut belongs to Percy Chapman who was nine Tests old when he led England in 1926. His first assignment was the final Ashes Test at The Oval, a timeless match that England won by 289 runs to clinch the series 1-0. That victory was the first of nine in a row for England under Chapman. The streak included a hat-trick of innings victories against West Indies and the first four Ashes Tests in Australia in 1928-29. Chapman captained England in 17 Tests, of which they lost only two.

The mark Chapman passed was that of Warwick Armstrong, who led Australia to eight successive victories against England in 1920-21. His run was broken during the 1921 Ashes in England, the last two three-day Tests of which were drawn. Armstrong's captaincy record read: eight wins, two draws and no defeats.

Most consecutive Test wins from captaincy debut
Player Mat Start Match Opposition Scorecard End Match Opposition Scorecard
APF Chapman 9 Aug 14, 1926 v Australia Test 167 Jun 13, 1930 v Australia Test 194
WW Armstrong 8 Dec 17, 1920 v England Test 135 Jul 2, 1921 v England Test 142
WG Grace 4 Aug 13, 1888 v Australia Test 29 Aug 11, 1890 v Australia Test 34
Lord Hawke 4 Mar 2, 1896 v South Africa Test 48 Apr 1, 1899 v South Africa Test 59
DB Close 4 Aug 18, 1966 v West Indies Test 609 Jul 13, 1967 v India Test 620
A Bacher 4 Jan 22, 1970 v Australia Test 670 Mar 5, 1970 v Australia Test 673
AG Steel 3 Jul 5, 1886 v Australia Test 22 Aug 12, 1886 v Australia Test 24
JM Blackham 3 Mar 14, 1885 v England Test 20 Jan 29, 1892 v England Test 36
PW Sherwell 3 Jan 2, 1906 v England Test 88 Mar 10, 1906 v England Test 90
AER Gilligan 3 Jun 14, 1924 v South Africa Test 153 Jul 12, 1924 v South Africa Test 155
AL Hassett 3 Dec 24, 1949 v South Africa Test 318 Jan 20, 1950 v South Africa Test 320
L Hutton 3 Jun 5, 1952 v India Test 351 Jul 17, 1952 v India Test 353
WM Lawry 3 Jan 19, 1968 v India Test 626 Jun 6, 1968 v England Test 637
RT Ponting 3 Mar 8, 2004 v Sri Lanka Test 1685 Mar 24, 2004 v Sri Lanka Test 1691
MS Dhoni 3 Apr 11, 2008 v South Africa Test 1873 Nov 6, 2008 v Australia Test 1892

India did not lose any of Sunil Gavaskar's first 18 Tests as captain - the second longest such streak. Gavaskar's first defeat was against Australia in Sydney in 1981, nearly five years after his captaincy debut. His win percentage during that period, however, was only 33 - India drew 12 out of those 18 Tests - though four of the six wins contributed to series victories at home against West Indies, Australia and Pakistan.

Most consecutive Tests without a loss from captaincy debut
Player Mat Start Match Opposition Scorecard End Match Opposition Scorecard
R Illingworth 19 Jun 12, 1969 v West Indies Test 653 Aug 5, 1971 v India Test 691
SM Gavaskar 18 Jan 24, 1976 v New Zealand Test 769 Jan 15, 1980 v Pakistan Test 869
JM Brearley 15 Jun 16, 1977 v Australia Test 804 Dec 15, 1978 v Australia Test 836
MJK Smith 14 Jan 10, 1964 v India Test 551 Jul 22, 1965 v South Africa Test 594
IVA Richards 11 Aug 7, 1980 v England Test 884 Apr 11, 1986 v England Test 1045
WW Armstrong 10 Dec 17, 1920 v England Test 135 Aug 13, 1921 v England Test 144
MC Cowdrey 10 Jul 23, 1959 v India Test 477 Jun 8, 1961 v Australia Test 507
NJ Contractor 10 Dec 2, 1960 v Pakistan Test 497 Jan 10, 1962 v England Test 520
APF Chapman 9 Aug 14, 1926 v Australia Test 167 Jun 13, 1930 v Australia Test 194
AL Hassett 9 Dec 24, 1949 v South Africa Test 318 Feb 2, 1951 v England Test 330
L Hutton 9 Jun 5, 1952 v India Test 351 Aug 15, 1953 v Australia Test 376
R Benaud 9 Dec 5, 1958 v England Test 460 Dec 12, 1959 v India Test 482
Hanif Mohammad 9 Oct 24, 1964 v Australia Test 569 Jul 27, 1967 v England Test 621
AL Wadekar 8 Feb 18, 1971 v West Indies Test 680 Aug 19, 1971 v England Test 692

Kapil Dev, who was Gavaskar's long-term successor as Indian captain didn't have as successful a start. India did not win any of Kapil's first 20 Tests as captain, losing six and drawing 14. Only in June 1986 did they savour victory for the first time under him. And the win was a momentous one - India's first ever success at Lord's. Fittingly, Kapil, who was named Player of the Match hit the winning runs.

Most consecutive Tests without a win from captaincy debut
Player Mat Start Match Opposition Scorecard End Match Opposition Scorecard
N Kapil Dev 20 Feb 23, 1983 v West Indies Test 949 Jan 2, 1986 v Australia Test 1034
ADR Campbell 14 Sep 11, 1996 v Sri Lanka Test 1333 Mar 21, 1998 v Pakistan Test 1412
BE Congdon 13 Mar 23, 1972 v West Indies Test 695 Mar 1, 1974 v Australia Test 733
IT Botham 12 Jun 5, 1980 v West Indies Test 880 Jul 2, 1981 v Australia Test 904
Khaled Mashud 12 Dec 18, 2001 v New Zealand Test 1577 Oct 26, 2004 v New Zealand Test 1717
A Melville 10 Dec 24, 1938 v England Test 267 Aug 16, 1947 v England Test 289
L Amarnath 10 Nov 28, 1947 v Australia Test 290 Feb 4, 1949 v West Indies Test 311
AD Nourse 10 Dec 16, 1948 v England Test 306 Mar 3, 1950 v Australia Test 322
Intikhab Alam 10 Oct 24, 1969 v New Zealand Test 662 Feb 2, 1973 v New Zealand Test 710
DI Gower 10 Aug 12, 1982 v Pakistan Test 932 Nov 28, 1984 v India Test 1001
A Ranatunga 10 Dec 8, 1989 v Australia Test 1131 Nov 27, 1992 v New Zealand Test 1203
T Taibu 10 May 6, 2004 v Sri Lanka Test 1698 Sep 20, 2005 v India Test 1767
HB Cave 9 Oct 13, 1955 v Pakistan Test 413 Feb 3, 1956 v West Indies Test 421
MAK Pataudi 9 Mar 23, 1962 v West Indies Test 527 Oct 2, 1964 v Australia Test 566
MD Crowe 9 Oct 10, 1990 v Pakistan Test 1151 Nov 1, 1992 v Zimbabwe Test 1198
Khaled Mahmud 9 Apr 24, 2003 v South Africa Test 1640 Oct 29, 2003 v England Test 1667
Mohammad Ashraful 9 Jun 25, 2007 v Sri Lanka Test 1837 Oct 25, 2008 v New Zealand Test 1890

The top three captains with the largest number of consecutive defeats after captaincy debut are all from Bangladesh. The two Khaleds, Mashud and Mahmud, are the leaders with 12 and nine defeats respectively. Mohammad Ashraful could have been in contention to equal Mahmud had rain not forced a draw in the recent Test against New Zealand in Mirpur and ended his streak on eight losses.

Most consecutive Test losses from captaincy debut
Player Mat Start Match Opposition Scorecard End Match Opposition Scorecard
Khaled Mashud 12 Dec 18, 2001 v New Zealand Test 1577 Oct 26, 2004 v New Zealand Test 1717
Khaled Mahmud 9 Apr 24, 2003 v South Africa Test 1640 Oct 29, 2003 v England Test 1667
Mohammad Ashraful 8 Jun 25, 2007 v Sri Lanka Test 1837 Oct 17, 2008 v New Zealand Test 1888
KR Rutherford 5 Jan 2, 1993 v Pakistan Test 1207 Feb 17, 1994 v Pakistan Test 1249
Naimur Rahman 5 Nov 10, 2000 v India Test 1512 Sep 6, 2001 v Sri Lanka Test 1561
J Ryder 4 Nov 30, 1928 v England Test 176 Feb 1, 1929 v England Test 179
GC Grant 4 Dec 12, 1930 v Australia Test 199 Feb 13, 1931 v Australia Test 205
DK Gaekwad 4 Jun 4, 1959 v England Test 474 Aug 20, 1959 v England Test 478

In one-day internationals, Inzamam-ul-Haq's streak of nine matches is the longest for a captain before a maiden defeat. He was the stop-gap option when the incumbent, Waqar Younis, was rested for the final two ODIs of the tour of Zimbabwe in 2002. Pakistan won both those matches and Inzamam was appointed captain after Waqar presided over a disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa. Under Inzamam, Pakistan swept aside Bangladesh 5-0 at home and beat South Africa twice in Lahore before losing to them in Rawalpindi. The future captain most likely to beat Inzamam's streak is Michael Clarke. Australia have won all five of the ODIs in which Clarke has stood in for Ricky Ponting.

Most consecutive ODI wins from captaincy debut
Player Mat Start Match Opposition Scorecard End Match Opposition Scorecard
Inzamam-ul-Haq 9 Nov 30, 2002 v Zimbabwe ODI 1906 Oct 5, 2003 v South Africa ODI 2047
AC Gilchrist 6 Jan 14, 2001 v West Indies ODI 1670 Feb 1, 2004 v India ODI 2093
CH Lloyd 5 Jun 7, 1975 v Sri Lanka ODI 22 Jun 21, 1975 v Australia ODI 33
RGD Willis 5 May 26, 1978 v Pakistan ODI 51 Jul 19, 1982 v Pakistan ODI 155
AJ Hollioake 5 Dec 11, 1997 v India ODI 1259 Mar 29, 1998 v West Indies ODI 1299
JH Kallis 5 Sep 15, 2006 v Zimbabwe ODI 2415 Jun 26, 2007 v India ODI 2592
MJ Clarke 5 Jul 4, 2008 v West Indies ODI 2734 Sep 6, 2008 v Bangladesh ODI 2762
CG Greenidge 4 Mar 15, 1988 v Pakistan ODI 507 Mar 30, 1988 v Pakistan ODI 515
GA Gooch 4 Sep 4, 1988 v Sri Lanka ODI 521 Oct 22, 1989 v Pakistan ODI 579
Wasim Akram 4 Feb 1, 1993 v Zimbabwe ODI 796 Feb 9, 1993 v South Africa ODI 800
Moin Khan 4 Apr 7, 1995 v India ODI 995 Oct 19, 1999 v West Indies ODI 1517
DPMD Jayawardene 4 Apr 27, 2004 v Zimbabwe ODI 2123 Aug 31, 2004 v South Africa ODI 2163
N Kapil Dev 3 Sep 12, 1982 v Sri Lanka ODI 156 Sep 26, 1982 v Sri Lanka ODI 159
JG Wright 3 Mar 19, 1983 v Sri Lanka ODI 189 Apr 5, 1986 v Sri Lanka ODI 378
SV Carlisle 3 Nov 23, 2001 v Bangladesh ODI 1773 Nov 26, 2001 v Bangladesh ODI 1775
R Dravid 3 Dec 14, 2000 v Zimbabwe ODI 1660 Nov 21, 2002 v West Indies ODI 1898
DL Vettori 3 Nov 2, 2004 v Bangladesh ODI 2189 Nov 7, 2004 v Bangladesh ODI 2191
J Botha 3 Oct 31, 2008 v Kenya ODI 2769 Nov 7, 2008 v Bangladesh ODI 2771

Zimbabwe's 17 consecutive defeats under Tatenda Taibu is the worst beginning for a captain in ODIs. Mashud is in third place with 14 but he actually went 26 matches in a row without a victory as Bangladesh captain. That streak included 24 defeats but it was interrupted by two washouts against West Indies.

Most consecutive ODI losses from captaincy debut
Player Mat Start Match Opposition Scorecard End Match Opposition Scorecard
T Taibu 17 Apr 20, 2004 v Sri Lanka ODI 2119 Dec 5, 2004 v England ODI 2197
Khaled Mahmud 15 Apr 11, 2003 v India ODI 2001 Nov 12, 2003 v England ODI 2060
Khaled Mashud 14 Nov 23, 2001 v Zimbabwe ODI 1773 Oct 9, 2002 v South Africa ODI 1892
Akram Khan 12 Apr 5, 1995 v India ODI 993 Jan 12, 1998 v Pakistan ODI 1274
S Chanderpaul 10 May 7, 2005 v South Africa ODI 2241 Aug 2, 2005 v Sri Lanka ODI 2264
Mohammad Ashraful 9 Jul 20, 2007 v Sri Lanka ODI 2605 Mar 14, 2008 v South Africa ODI 2692
Aminul Islam 8 May 14, 1998 v India ODI 1328 May 21, 1999 v West Indies ODI 1454
RP Lefebvre 8 Feb 26, 1996 v Pakistan ODI 1062 Feb 28, 2003 v Zimbabwe ODI 1972
JM Davison 8 May 16, 2006 v Zimbabwe ODI 2374 Jan 23, 2007 v Scotland ODI 2483
Gazi Ashraf 7 Mar 31, 1986 v Pakistan ODI 375 Apr 30, 1990 v Australia ODI 628
DL Houghton 7 Feb 23, 1992 v Sri Lanka ODI 716 Mar 14, 1992 v Australia ODI 743
AJ Traicos 6 Oct 10, 1987 v New Zealand ODI 454 Oct 30, 1987 v Australia ODI 471
MD Crowe 6 Mar 4, 1990 v Australia ODI 615 Nov 29, 1990 v Australia ODI 642
Sultan Zarawani 6 Apr 13, 1994 v India ODI 904 Feb 27, 1996 v New Zealand ODI 1064
ADR Campbell 6 Aug 26, 1996 v Australia ODI 1105 Nov 3, 1996 v Pakistan ODI 1136
DB Kotze 6 Feb 10, 2003 v Zimbabwe ODI 1943 Mar 3, 2003 v Netherlands ODI 1978
A Flintoff 6 Mar 28, 2006 v India ODI 2357 Oct 21, 2006 v Australia ODI 2434

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George Binoy is a staff writer at Cricinfo