India beat England in a home-series in 1993. It was their first series-sweep (series involving three Tests or more) in Test cricket. The series revolutionized Indian Test cricket history. It heralded a new era in which India was almost unbeatable at home.
Though they continued to be poor travelers till the turn of the millennium, they did not lose a single Test series at home in that entire decade – the only country to do so.
Anil Kumble, Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan had been the chief architects of the 1993 series win.
Kumble and Chauhan gave series-defining (
In that series, it was 3.88, 4.17 and 1.57.
Kumble and Chauhan, both, had a promising start to their Test careers. Kumble had failed in only one of his nine Tests since debut and was already being billed as India’s next great spinner.
Chauhan, of course, gave an
Raju had had mixed fortunes. He had spun India to victory in just his third Test – against Sri Lanka in Chandigarh in November, 1990 (where he picked up 8 wickets in the match including a magical 6-12 in 17.5 overs in the first innings), but was not consistent and had failed (
The story changed in the next five years.
It became 2.95, 1.44 and 2.35.
India played 10 Test series from February, 1993 to February, 1998.
While Kumble spearheaded the Indian attack and was India’s highest impact bowler in this period, his
Chauhan could not build on his debut performance and did not register any more SDs in the 14 Tests he played in this period. He also had a high failure rate of 57% which saw a sharp fall in his
Raju’s career followed an upward curve and his
And more surprisingly, if we do not account for
Raju reached the peak of his bowling prowess during the home-series against West Indies in 1994 where he was the leading wicket-taker (20 wickets in three Tests) and the highest impact Indian bowler, comfortably overshadowing Kumble.
But bizarrely he played just 10 of the 32 Tests India played in this period and was not a regular in the side. He shared the role of the second, and sometimes third, spinner with Chauhan, Hirwani, Sunil Joshi, Nilesh Kulkarni and Ashish Kapoor.
The home-series against Australia that followed in March 1998 sealed the fate of two of the spin trio. The second Test in Kolkata was Chauhan’s last for India.
Raju got an
Kumble not only registered an
It is interesting to note that Kumble, Raju and Chauhan played together in just 14 Tests but more significantly Indian won 10 and drew 4 of these.
One only wonders what Indian cricket could have achieved if they were given a longer rope together.
NOTE: Impact Index has undergone an upgradation in November 2015, and though 95% of its findings remain the same, there have been some minor shifts. This piece was updated post that, and is up-to-date as of August 2016.