Banner designed by © Neeraj Kathale
Banner designed by © Neeraj Kathale

The similarity is almost impossible to miss. Over the past couple of years, India have as good as gobbled up every team that have crossed their way in Pac-Man style. Starting January 2016, India have won 63 matches out 92 they have played across formats, which gave them a whopping win-loss ratio of 2.86. Under Virat Kohli, India have  won 45 out of 67 matches across formats during his tenure as full captain, and the win-loss ratio extends to 3.461. And from January 2016, India have won 40 out of 57 under Kohli, which takes the win-loss ratio to 3.636.

Under Kohli’s captaincy, India became No. 1 Test side. They emerged as runners-up in the Champions Trophy. Though these were remarkable achievements, India played only 24 matches outside home during the period, of which they won 17 (an impressive 1.411). Among their overseas assignments were series in West Indies, Sri Lanka and Champions Trophy in England.

India have reduced oppositions like New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, Australia and Sri Lanka to mere Pac-Dots over this period of time. Australia, England and New Zealand all gave it their all, but were thoroughly outplayed across formats. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were battered both at their home and in India.

Things, however, will get tougher now, as India will move overseas. Make no mistake: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde will all come at them, their eyes glowing across the arena in search of Pac-Man. Kohli’s India are yet to conquer Shadow, Speedy, Bashful and Pokey at their own den. A comparative study of the players outside India in the end of 2016 showed the members of the current squad have not been exceptional outside the subcontinent.

In the game, there are special boosters that give Pac-Man the power to digest the invincible as well. One wonders what equivalent boosters India will find along their way as they venture into their most difficult year since 2014.