Top 10 batsmen against spin bowling in the last four decades
Among Shane Warne’s numerous idiosyncratic quotes, one stands out like a beacon – “Part of the art of bowling spin is to make the batsman think something special is happening when it is not.“
Au contraire, batsmen too need to impede a spinner’s thought-process by getting into his head and coercing judgmental errors. Unlike facing the much quicker men, there are numerous methods to tackle spin bowling as well as different quadrants of the field to target.
However, the flip side of having multiple options may be observed from the accompanying indecisiveness pertaining to footwork. As a consequence, the art of negotiating world-class slow bowlers on dusty and rapidly deteriorating pitches can only be learned through experience.
Let us go through a list of such accomplished batsmen who kept spinners at bay in Test cricket. The following criteria have been taken into account when comparing the contenders.
- Considering the different types of pitches across the globe, more importance is given to runs scored in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and UAE.
- Exploits versus illustrious spinners who have proven track records carry greater weight.
- A higher preference is accorded to batsmen who have match-winning or game-changing efforts to their names.
- Because spinners generally come into their own in the second innings, a batsman’s value rises under such circumstances.
- Since it is not feasible to balance their statistics, cricketers who plied their trade on uncovered or ‘sticky’ wickets are not included.
- Consistency and the ability to take on the best in their prime are extremely crucial as well.
#10 – Alastair Cook
Surprisingly for an English opener, Alastair Cook looks more at home when confronted with spin bowlers. Statistically, he has already cemented himself as the most prolific non-subcontinental batsman in Asian conditions (as of July 14, 2016).
India certainly bore the brunt of his appetite for run-making during the famous 2012 series. Taking over the captaincy duties, he led from the front with three tons in consecutive matches and left Ravichandran Ashwin bewildered by unfurling the sweep shot as England took the series 2-1.
Another notable knock which came against the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan saw Cook resist the Sri Lankan wizard in a rearguard effort on a typical Galle surface.