India at home are always a formidable side and the key Test players stand up and deliver more often than not.
Here we take a look at how five of India’s big Test stars in the current squad have performed against SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries at home over the last five years (since 2016):
Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been the team’s batting mainstay for close to a decade across formats. His record at home over the last five years against SENA countries in Test matches reflects his dominance with the bat and is another reminder of just how prolific a run scorer he is.
The 32-year-old scored 317 runs in three Test matches he played against South Africa in 2019 including his career-best 254 not out. India also inflicted a 3-0 whitewash on the Proteas.
Having borne the brunt of criticism after a terrible tour of England in 2014, Kohli roared back against the English on their last tour to India in 2016. The right-handed batsman amassed 655 runs in the five-match series at a mind-boggling average of 109.16. He hit two centuries in that series. India clinched the 5-match series 4-0.
Kohli also played a crucial role in India’s 3-0 clean sweep against New Zealand in 2016-17, by scoring 309 runs at an average of 51.50.
But he endured a rare failure in 2017 against Australia as he managed to score just 46 runs in three matches at an average of 9.20. However, India ended up winning the series 2-1.
After Rahul Dravid’s retirement from Test cricket in 2012, India found another ‘Wall’ in Cheteshwar Pujara whose staunch defence has made him one of the grittiest Test batsmen in the world.
The 33-year-old Pujara’s consistent performances with the bat helped India get favourable results at home in the last five years. The Saurashtra batsman however had a mediocre outing against South Africa in 2019 in which he scored 145 runs in the three-match series.
Pujara shone against England on their last tour to India in 2016-17, scoring 401 runs with the help of two hundreds in the five-match series.
Pujara finished the three-match series against New Zealand in 2016 as the highest run-getter with 373 runs at an average of 74.60.
The four-match series against Australia at home in 2017 also turned out to be a good one for Pujara, where he scored 405 runs at an average of 57.85.
Despite having the potential to become one of the greats of Indian cricket, Ajinkya Rahane has been in and out of the team owing to rough patches in the past few years.
But the Mumbaikar rose to the occasion in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli as he led India to a historic 2-1 series-win in Australia recently. His hundred in the Melbourne Test proved to be a game changer after India’s 36 all out in the Adelaide Test.
When it comes to Rahane’s performances at home in the last five years, it shows why Rahane had to bear the brunt of criticism in the past.
He fared decently against South Africa in 2019, making 216 runs in the three-match series with an average of 72. But before that he had a forgettable outing against England in 2016 in which he just collected 63 runs in the three games of the five-match series.
Rahane was applauded for his performance against New Zealand in 2016-17 at home, scoring 347 runs in the three-match series including a career-best 188. He failed to impress against Australia with just 198 runs in the four-match series.
Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the most important Test players in the Indian ranks. He can win the team matches with both the bat and ball. His exploits with the ball make him the best off-spinner currently in the world.
Ashwin becomes almost unplayable on Indian pitches. His record at home speaks for itself – with 254 wickets in just 43 matches. His remaining 123 wickets so far were taken in 31 away Test matches.
Ashwin has dished out commanding performances over the last five years against SENA countries at home. He grabbed 15 wickets in the three-match series against South Africa in 2019-20.
Ashwin produced an all-round effort in the five-match series against England by taking 28 wickets and scoring 306 runs in 2016-17.
He made the Kiwis dance to his tune with 27 wickets in the three-match series including his career-best figures of 7/59 in 2016-17, finishing as the highest wicket-taker in the series.
The 34-year-old all-rounder also had 21 wickets to his name in the four-match series against Australia in 2016-17.
With 297 wickets at an average of 32.39, Indian pace spearhead Ishant Sharma is the sixth-highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket overall.
He is on the verge of becoming the first Indian pacer after Kapil Dev to play 100 Tests and take 300 wickets. The lanky fast bowler has made tremendous improvement in the longest format of the game in the past few years. As his records suggest, the Delhi pacer proved to be lethal in overseas conditions by taking 199 wickets in 60 matches.
But his performance has not been very impressive at home in the last five years given the conditions largely help the slow bowlers.
He managed to take just two wickets in as many games against South Africa in 2019-20.
He only played a single match in the five-match series against England in 2016-17 and took three wickets. The 32 year old who has played 97 Tests for India so far, also failed to make an impact against Australia in 2016-17, bagging three wickets in three matches.
After missing the Australia series with an injury, Ishant will be itching to make a lasting contribution in the upcoming series vs England.