One of the very common term used in the Cricket world is the home advantage. It is one of the biggest factor that plays a role in a team’s performance. Indian sub-continental teams depend heavily on spinner friendly humid conditions that can also provide reverse swing to their pace bowlers later on. The damp, cold, swinging and overcast conditions in UK and the hard bouncy wickets with hot climate in Australia are well known. The green wickets in South Africa and the rough outfields in West indies sum up the different types of home conditions of each team.
In the last 5 years though, the things aren’t as simple as they look. The IPL has made the foreign players adaptable to Indian conditions. Which we could clearly see in the ODI series that India played against South Africa and the likes of De Villiers, Du Plessis and De Kock thrashed the Indian bowlers at home. The Australian Big Bash league and England’s county tournaments also provide a chance for other international players to play in that country and gain experience. The rising contracts in Bangladesh Premier League, Carribean Cricket League and Pakistan Super League would benefit the same. So where does the home advantage lye?
To the greatest extent, except the South Africans and Australians, none of the full fledged team takes part in this tournament. The England players are highly ignored. The West Indian players who play these leagues are selected mostly for the limited formats or they play these leagues after quarreling with the West Indies Cricket board. The Bangladeshi players frequently feature in the playing XI of the sides keeping apart Bangladesh Premier League and also Mustafizur Rehman and Shakib Al Hasan. The Pakistani cricketers live around an all different political and social mismanagement. Indians, under the BCCI never get a chance in playing in such leagues after the all so important IPL season except for some players who join the English County which are very rare cases. Thus, even after so much exposure available, the home teams often dominate in their backyard, especially in Tests. May it be England’s recent wins over Srilanka or India’s 3-0 victory against South Africa or Australia’s dominance on India down under.
The ODI and T20 records of touring nations has improved drastically, as the players playing these leagues are quite often the part of the squad, but in Tests, the home advantage still plays the lead role. Almost for every team, except may be West Indies, whose Head Coach Phil Simmons, just before their triangular series against Australia and South Africa stated that West Indies have hardly played any matches in their own country in recent past. He also stated that hence Australia start favourite in the tournament as there is nothing like home advantage for this newly building West Indian team.
Whether the home advantage is fair or not, is the debate going across decades. But we love it when Indian spinners make the foreign batsmen dance and then win the test series easily and we hate when Indians are unable to play swing and seam in England and South Africa. Oh We Indians!!