After winning the first two World Cups in the 1970s, the West Indies were a formidable ODI team. With their explosive batting line-up and blistering attack, in the 1980s the Caribbean team was more unbeatable at home than any other team in any other decade in the history of one-day international cricket, winning 89% of their matches at home. home. South Africa hit the ground running when it joined the 50-over format in 1991 and won 69% of the games it hosted in the 1990s. This century, Australia has consistently been the team to beat at home, and India and New Zealand have also improved their home record decade after decade.
But is it simply because of home field advantage or is a great team great wherever it is? When the West Indies were beating everyone in their backyard forty years ago, they were also ruining the summers of home fans wherever they went in the world, winning 71% of the time they were away from home; because they were a formidable team at that time and the place they were playing didn’t change the fact that they had a good chance of winning an ODI match.
As cricket has evolved, numerous aspects have come into play that could diminish the home advantage theory. For example, data, video analysis, live broadcast coverage, physiology training for different climates and altitudes; but putting all this theory-based knowledge aside, in more recent years, in the era of a rapidly expanding franchise cricket calendar, the best players are not only learning to play on different continents through cheat sheets. calculation and videos, but they are also experiencing the conditions. first-hand, playing cricket all over the world, all year round. Although in the shortest format, players continually adapt their batting and bowling skills in different conditions, both with and against the other best players in the world. The Indian Premier League (IPL) had led the way by offering players the opportunity to play in major stadiums in India for up to two months a year.
With the exponential growth of the T20 franchise program around the world, and with fewer “secrets” and surprises in the modern world of cricket about what a player or team will face away from home, there must come a time when the advantage of playing at home will be considerably diluted compared to when players would only experience a country’s conditions once every three or four years when touring the country. This Australia World Cup team alone has over 500 IPL appearances, with Warner, Maxwell and Smith playing over 100 IPL games each.
However, that theory doesn’t seem to have transferred to the over-50 game yet. The superiority of the home teams in the longest format remains very evident, and the last three World Cups have demonstrated this with the hosts lifting the trophy. So unlike the almost impenetrable West Indies team of the 1980s, the most dominant ODI teams of this century have been more comfortable playing at home. India, New Zealand and Australia have continued to improve their home ODI performances over time: the current World Cup hosts have won 19 of their last 25 ODI matches in India, while their away record has stagnated. or significantly decreased.
When it comes to this World Cup, there is only one host and with India being one of the most experienced countries in the tournament, many consider it the favourite. They will look to continue the recent pattern of emerging champions from the host country. However, once the 45-match group stage is over, anything can happen in the qualifiers, as India, which was eliminated in the semifinals of the last two World Cups, knows well.
New Zealand and Australia will be desperate to alter the script and have traveled to the World Cup with a talented and highly experienced squad, full of players who know how to win ODIs. England, despite their poor recent form in India (33% wins in the last decade) and the huge defeat in the opening match in Ahmedabad on Thursday, are the champions to be dethroned. South Africa should also be a team to watch, because despite their injury and replacement issues since announcing their original 15-man squad, they have the best winning percentage in the longest white-ball format of any visiting team. in India. in the last decade, winning 62% of the matches.