5 Biggest home-track bullies in Test cricket currently
There have been a plethora of cricketers who looked like a juggernaut in home conditions, but as soon as they step out overseas, they look like a fish out of water.
Updated - Mar 17, 2020 11:04 am
There is a reason why Test cricket is called the ultimate reflection of life. That is because it challenges you like no other form of the game can. It tests your patience, character, perseverance, tenacity and above all, it tests your ability to adjust in different conditions. In short, it tests your versatility to the core.
Every condition throws up a different challenge to not only the batsmen but also the bowler. And, there is a reason why not everyone is able to elevate their performance in every condition. That is because, apart from the skill-level, one of the important things required to counter adversity is immense self-belief and the insatiable desire to prove oneself in all conditions.
And, as we have seen throughout the course of the history, there have been a plethora of cricketers who looked like a juggernaut in home conditions, but as soon as they step out overseas, they look like a fish out of water.
Here’s a list of five home track bullies in Test cricket currently
5. Yasir Shah
Yasir Shah has been the bedrock of the Pakistan spin department in the past decade. The 33-year-old was one of the major reasons why Pakistan were able to make the placid pitches of Dubai and Abu Dhabi- their home away from home. Shah, in fact, is the proud holder of the record for being the fastest bowler to 200 Test wickets- a record that was previously held by leg spinner, Clarrie Grimmett who claimed the feat in his 36th Test.
Yasir did that in a mere 33 Tests during the 2018 series against New Zealand in the UAE. But, since then, Shah has struggled for wickets. And, while his fitness has been one of the reasons behind his struggle, it is equally true that Pakistan playing in overseas conditions since that rubber- where Shah has usually struggled- has also played its part.
Shah has played 20 overseas Tests in which he has claimed 91 wickets at an average of 37.19, whereas his average in the UAE is around 24.56 [116 wickets in 17 Tests]. Shah has struggled the most- as most overseas spinners do- in Australia where he averages 89.50 in 5 Tests [12 wickets]. He has done slightly better in England as compared to his exploits Down Under- 19 wickets in 4 Tests at an average of 40.73.
South African conditions are usually the toughest for any spinner and that reflects in Shah’s numbers. The right-armer averages 123.00 in two matches after managing just a single wicket. Shah’s best returns have come in somewhat familiar conditions of the Caribbean where he has taken 25 wickets in three Tests at an average of 21.96.