Analyzing Test captaincies – 5

Today we look at captains whose tenure included:

Only wins

Only losses

Only draws.

Only wins (complete list):

16 instances here. Bacher and Lord Hawke had the best stretches of 4 wins out of 4. In the former case all 4 wins came in a single series against Australia. In the latter case they were part of 5 wins out of 5 in his Test career, although he was a specialist (?) batsman with a single-figure batting average.

Those with 2 wins out of 2 are mainly stand-ins (Rahane and Jacobs) in recent times. Similarly for those who won their only Tests as captain (eg Shastri, Harvey, WA Brown).

Rahane is the most recent player here.

Only losses (2 or more):

Headed by the Bangladeshi duo of Khaled Mashud (12) and Khaled Mahmud (9) in their team’s early years.

However, there is also KC Brathwaite (5) from WI in recent years along with Porterfield who has led Ireland in all 3 of its Tests. DK Gaekwad, now India’s oldest living player, has 4 losses. (In that series Pankaj Roy captained for 1 Test, which was also lost).

Some other well-known players found here are AJ Lamb, AR Morris, JE Emburey and RS Madugalle.

And FL Reifer, captaining the WI third XI against Bangladesh at home. When he talked of winning the series, local journalists asked “Are you smoking something # which sounds like your name?”

# Reefer, a term for marijuana or ganja

Only draws (complete list):

The list of 21 is headed by Srikkanth (all 4 in a single series against Pakistan in Pakistan). Majid and Saeed also drew all 3 Tests in a single series.

There is no one here since BA Murphy (1 Test in 2001). Well-known players not mentioned so far include DL Murray, G Kirsten, GA Headley, MA Butcher, RR Lindwall and TW Graveney. Practically all of the 1 or 2-Test captains were stand-ins.

Srikkanth and Adhikari are the only ones from India. This did not help Srikkanth much as he was promptly replaced by Azharuddin. And Adhikari stopped a sequence of 3 heavy losses with a draw where his team narrowly escaped defeat.

Losing all their Tests

We have earlier seen that only 4 players have played 5 or more Tests and seen their teams winning all of them. As you may guess, the number of players who saw only defeats is somewhat higher.

In the former list, the “topper” had played in 10 Tests. Here the figure is 17 Tests, with 18 players who played in 5 or more Tests.

As you may guess, the first few are from Bangladesh (though there are none from Zimbabwe here). There are also several from other “major” Test sides including Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and England.

The “topper”, Alok Kapali, was a bits-and-piece player with a top score of 85 and best of 3-3:

That 3-3 icluded Bangladesh’s first hat-trick. It also earned him a place in the trivia question “Who was the first Hindu to take a Test hat-trick?”. Note that India’s hat-tricks were by Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan and more recently Jasprit Bumrah (who might be a Sikh, though this is unclear).

Next in line is the lesser-known Mohammad Sharif with 10 luckless Tests:

From England, there is JG Dewes who made his debut in the 5th Test at the Oval in 1948. He made only 1 and 10, but that would not have attracted much attention along with Bradman’s duck in his last Test.

We can extend this a little further to all those who saw defeats in 90% or more of their Tests:

Here we get 25 names. The last 7 are from Bangladesh, apart from one from Zimbabwe.

The current players here are headed by PVD Chameera (8 Tests) and DT Tiripamo (9 losses and 1 win in 10 Tests). There is still no one from India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.

While India and New Zealand took a long time to register their first Test victories, they were able to draw more regularly than Bangladesh.