January 19, 2014

What's wrong with being a bully at home?

Hassan Cheema
Mohammad Yousuf averages 54.33 in England but that number is explained away as a one-series wonder  © Associated Press

At a recent wedding in Lahore, the talk turned to cricket - because there are only a handful of subjects that Pakistanis of a certain age, class and gender can discuss at a formal gathering, and cricket tops that list (society, or rather the messed-up state of the nation as shown by anecdotal evidence, is a clear runner-up in such a list).

The subject at hand was Sharjeel Khan, who had made his international debut in December. The almost unanimous verdict was that Sharjeel just wasn't good enough for international cricket, as his technique wasn't up to scratch. Later, watching him in an ODI against Sri Lanka, I wondered whether that accepted verdict, which I fully endorsed, was unkind to him. So what if he didn't seem technically adept and would eventually be "found out"? Why does that matter? With Pakistan playing nearly all of their bilateral cricket over the next three years in familiar environs, wouldn't they be better off with a flat-track bully than waiting around for a technically perfect player who may not exist?

It is a point of view that anyone who has encountered the Asian fan (particularly on Twitter) will be aware of: the Asian player, particularly a batsman, is not any good until he scores runs in Australia, New Zealand, England or South Africa. Why the Asian player has to go beyond the call of duty to be appreciated is a little confusing.

The examples are endless. Mahela Jayawardene is considered a bully at home and Mohammad Yousuf seemingly makes runs only on flat tracks (despite what he did in 2006). The Indian youngsters and greats have been "exposed" (always the appropriate word, it seems) repeatedly in foreign conditions. And when Cheteshwar Pujara scores heavily in South Africa, or Yousuf dominates in England then it was because the conditions in those series weren't "truly foreign"; because if they had been truly foreign these batsmen would have failed and been exposed.

The opposite equivalent is rarely acknowledged, though. The fact that Ricky Ponting averaged 26 in India is cast aside as an aberration rather than a mental or technical failing. If the roles were reversed and the best Indian batsman since the war had failed to perform in Australia, such a stat might be trotted out more. Similarly, the fact that the likes of Sehwag, Jayawardene, Misbah and Jayasuriya are and were near-invincible at home but average under 35 in Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa put together is accepted as proof of their inadequacies, but rare is it to find a list that has players with sub-35 averages in Asia - a list that includes the likes of Mark Waugh, Justin Langer, Alec Stewart and Desmond Haynes. Quite simply, while it's a requirement for an Asian batsman, the non-Asian doesn't seem to have to go above and beyond the call of duty to be fully appreciated.

This would all be easier to understand if these parameters were applied across the board. If we are to assume that it's just easier to bat in Asian conditions then bowlers who are successful in Asia should be praised to the skies. Much is made of Shane Warne's poor record in India (averaging 43) but the same isn't done of Australia's quicks for that reason, I assume. Each of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Rodney Hogg, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson averaged over 40 in Asia - although in some cases the sample size is rather small. Basically, with the exception of Craig McDermott, who averages 37, the assembly line of scary, oft-'tached Australian howitzers is filled with bowlers who rarely succeeded in Asia. (Merv Hughes never played a Test in Asia.)

If one is to disparage Asian batsmen for being good only in familiar conditions, surely the same should be done to these Australians? And it's not as if fast bowlers don't succeed in unfamiliar conditions. Allan Donald and Dale Steyn average under 25 in Asia. Imran Khan averaged under 30 everywhere he played. Wasim Akram averaged 39 in two Tests in South Africa and under 29 everywhere else. Malcolm Marshall averaged 32 in New Zealand in one series and under 25 everywhere else. And Joel Garner averaged under 26 wherever he played. It's almost as if Australian fast bowlers who dig it in short on a consistent basis require conditions suited to home, where bowling it short is a successful strategy, mollycoddled by an environment where adaptability isn't a necessity - as it would be for bowling on dustbowls in Pakistan. Of course, no one questions whether they need to revamp their system to create more adaptable bowlers, as they would do with Asian batsmen. But I digress.

The blame for these double standards, usually and obviously, seems to lie with the narrative builders - the players and journalists of these countries. Except, that is entirely unfair. Their teams over the past two decades, from Steve Waugh's to Graeme Smith's, have actively placed value and importance on winning in Asia. It is seen as a final frontier, and it is expected and accepted that they won't have reached the top of the mountain till they have conquered Asia.

Similarly the narrative builders, at least those on the web, aren't dismissive of Delhi Belly and dustbowls like their predecessors might have been. The reverence towards Sehwag, for instance, is the perfect embodiment of this change in attitude. Thus it's fair to conclude that this need among Asian fans and pundits for their players to succeed where their predecessors might have failed is not an imposed philosophy. One could almost say, if one was being terribly harsh, that this comes from a post-colonial inferiority complex. But I'll let the experts and social scientists debate that.

India have lost two home Test series since 2000; Pakistan haven't lost a "home" series since 2007 (the longest active unbeaten run); Sri Lanka have lost just two home series in the past decade. These facts should not be swept under a carpet as if they weren't worthy of any praise. Perhaps making your home a fortress is an achievement in itself. Perhaps Sharjeel, like David Warner, can carve a career out of bashing people at home. Perhaps, in such a case, he would get the unqualified praise that Warner gets. Perhaps judging players across countries should be done with consistent parameters. But perhaps that is too much to ask for.


Hassan Cheema is a sports journalist, writer and commentator, and co-hosts the online cricket show Pace is Pace Yaar. He tweets here

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Keywords: Stats, Trends

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Posted by espncricinfomobile on (January 22, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

Yes editor ur right but now if you see all teams cant be beaten at home but the test of temprement is when players go out and play and perform outside there home.

Posted by android_user on (January 21, 2014, 20:44 GMT)

well written...

Posted by kcpingle on (January 21, 2014, 15:56 GMT)

lovely must have a line or two on batsmen/bowlers of the-great-depression-era

Posted by   on (January 21, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

I agree with the post. This clearly shows how one eyed we are. And why do we call Kohli, Rahane, de Villiers and Amla great players and not Dhawan, Rohit or Warner is answered by this article itself. A cricketer isn't complete until he has conquered all the forts of a game.

Posted by   on (January 21, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

@mainul079080 You have a point, but the problem is that Asian teams mostly prepare flat pitches instead of rank-turners, dustbowls or even decent turning tracks. If the pitches provide a challenge to batsmen, be it against pace or spin, I would commend batsmen for succeeding on them. I can't quite agree that spin is a "more difficult art" than pace. Both are different kinds of bowling and challenge the skills of batsmen differently. Actually, non-Asian teams have produced great spinners over the years - Warne, Underwood, Lance Gibbs, Ramadhin, Laker, Tayfield, Grimmett, O'Reilly, Benaud, etc. Among the Asian pacers you mentioned, only Imran, Akram, Waqar and Kapil can be considered as great. Malinga has hardly achieved anything in tests, Zaheer is just above average while Asif and Aamir played too few matches to be considered as big names of the game. Sarfaraz was very good but he averaged 32, not too great, eh?

Posted by India_boy on (January 21, 2014, 7:28 GMT)

Dear editor, I beg to differ here. Just because Non-Asian batsmen/bowlers can't perform in Asia, doesn't mean Asian batsmen/bowlers should not be criticized for not performing outside Asia. Let them have their own benchmark and let us have ours. Why chase the same criteria as them? Instead all Asian teams should strictly have players who can perform in all conditions. Have you ever heard an Australian/English player saying ""oh look how well they are playing on slow and low wickets, why can't we do that" or "look they are reverse swinging, why can't we do that?" I believe in one saying, dont get éven, get odder!

Posted by Udendra on (January 21, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

I think this is an Asian mindset. Why does it always apply to only to asian players? Even non-asian's are at their best when playing at home. Time to change our thinking.

Posted by flickspin on (January 21, 2014, 4:07 GMT)

i know that india's game plan is 2 spinners and a handfull of men around the bat on turning pitches fair enough.

india doesent have the variety of pitches like australia(some spin some bounce), they have a diverse climate like australia, if india want to win overseas they have prepare a couple of pitches that help fast bowlers( surely india can have 1 pitch that is fast and bouncy) every pitch should be unique

if you want to beat india at home, you need to out spin them, use the same tactics,2 spinners and a handful of men the bat.( every time australia tour india they usually pick 3 quicks, with shane watson australia should pick 2 spinners) if you want to beat australia at home you need to pick your meanest bowling attack and be just as aggressive, plenty of bounces and go after their bowlers. if you want to beat england at home you have to swing the ball better than england.

every team playing at home should be a fortress and extremely hard to beat, its what makes cricket good

Posted by flickspin on (January 21, 2014, 3:51 GMT)

i love watching cricket all over the world

each pitch should be unique.

i love watching india at home with 2 spinners and a handfull of men around the bat.

i love green tops in new zealand and swing bowling in england.

its only natural that the home teams win, thier used to the of coarse their will be home town bullies.

should australia make the perth less hard and fast to even up the contest, i dont think so.will india prepare a pace friendly pitch just to even the contest, i dont think so.

every pitch in australia is unique

brisbane has bounce, adelaide is good for batting and spins, perth is hard and fast,melbourne slows up on days 3 & 4 with batsmen getting caught in front of the wicket, sydney spins and the pitch deteriorates on day 4 & 5.

alot of australian first class player winter in england, so the get experience in english conditions

i was once told that if a home team captain asked for a doctored pitch the groundsmen would be highly offended

Posted by SirBobJones on (January 21, 2014, 1:03 GMT)

*slides the cards out of his pocket, shuffles them with all the adeptness of a seasoned poker player, then plays the race card with the picture of a little green monster on it*

Posted by sergio11 on (January 20, 2014, 21:51 GMT)

@goldeneraaus...i dont thing Aussie havent won a test series in india....and india xpect for the last time which happen to be a aging side..each time tavel before have done well there..lot better than Aussie bgn doing each tour before sehwag had an impact whtr it was his 195 at the first tour and a match saving 158 at adelade at the second...and in 2007 dey won test series in ENG,2009 won in NZ..WE HAD BEATEN U GUYS IN THE FASTEST GROUND MATE...PERTH!! and stil stil SA also the stil if u ask an assuie who was a bttr batsman sachin or ponting..why dat note even a Mark Waugh...we knw the answ..

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 20, 2014, 16:17 GMT)

"One could almost say, if one was being terribly harsh, that this comes from a post-colonial inferiority complex."

Nothing harsh about that! Absolutely dead on in fact. How many thousands of times have seen Asian cricket fans written "the real test is facing spin on the sub-continent," as if it were a holy truism. It is not. Facing great spin anywhere is a test, as is facing great pace bowling anywhere. The real test is facing great bowling, everywhere. Period. Warner - found out!

Similarly, the real test of great bowlers is success, everywhere - why Shane Warne does not make the list of greats, & clear proof that Murali stands head & shoulders, & a lot more, above him.

However, when Rohit Sharma & Dhawan are piling on the ODI & test runs in India, & fail miserably in SA while Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Kallis, de Villiers & de Plessis prove that the runs can flow, what else can be said but "found out" against good bowling? Like Aus batsmen in India, recently, & Eng batsmen in Aus…..

Posted by mainul079080 on (January 20, 2014, 16:04 GMT)

@Waseef Hussain. I cant agree to your comment that subcontinent pitches dont offer any challenge to batsmen. It provides a spinning challenge to the batsmen and here the non-subcontinent batsmen always fail miserably.Spin is a recognized art, more difficult than seam bowling. So why any team having only good fast bowlers are rated as having a good bowling line up according to u people? Aus,WI,Eng, SA never produced quality spinners except a very few. I can only remember Warne (failed miserably on Indian spinning wicket), more. But on other hand i can mention Imran, Kapil, Wasim, Waqar, Vaas,Shoib,Sarfaraz,Jahir,Aasif, Aamir, Malinga...lots of fast and pace bowlers who are versatile everywhere.Add to it legendary spinners of India, Pak and Srilanka.Lastly thanks and a hearty congrats to the writer for a masterpiece.

Posted by   on (January 20, 2014, 15:44 GMT)

It should be a sporting pitch on the balance side supporting both bowler & batsmen(who have good techniques to bat and bowler have caliber to take wickets)

Posted by enigma77543 on (January 20, 2014, 15:37 GMT)

Superb article! This is something that has always annoyed me. That when great Non-Asian batsmen struggle to score runs in Asia, it's not considered so much of a blot on their greatness but when Asian batsmen have even slightly below par averages away from home & they are immediately "flat-track bullies". Surely, if Asian pitches were always so easy to bat on then why do so many Non-Asian batsmen struggle in Asia? Not to mention, if the pitches are to be considered batting-friendly then why look down on Asian bowlers who succeed heavily in Asia, such as Kumble had been & Abdur Rehman now, even Murali's numbers they say are "exaggerated"! So which one is it? Is it so easy to bat in Asia or is it too easy to bowl in Asia? These pundits can't have it both ways! And again, there's nothing wrong with being a bully at home cuz if a batter/bowler is very very good at home & contributes heavily to turning the home into a fortress then that is certainly no reason to look down upon him!

Posted by HennopsRiverEnd on (January 20, 2014, 13:04 GMT)

Dale Steyn, what a world class campaigner!!

Posted by   on (January 20, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

I believe fast bowlers are not truly considered great unless they succeed in Asia. This is why I am not still fully convinced about Vernon Philander's bowling, even though his record is outstanding to say the least. He has not played enough matches in the subcontinent and I am eager to see him bowl in India and Sri Lanka.

One exception is Lillee, of course. He is rated so highly by most people but his record in Asia is miserable. Succeeding in Asian conditions should be a very important criterion for rating quicks.

Posted by   on (January 20, 2014, 10:56 GMT)

While the writer has raised some good points here, I don't quite agree with what he has said. The reason why Asian batsmen are not given as much credit for performing in Asia as non-Asian batsmen are given for performing in England, Australia and South Africa is because of the flat tracks prepared in Asia. English and South African conditions usually have a lot to offer to the bowlers and playing the pace and bounce of Australian pitches is also a challenge. Another thing that we must take note of is the quality of bowlers - Australia, England and South Africa have fine bowling attacks while the Asian attacks, with the exception of Pakistan, are pretty weak.

It has also been mentioned that players like M Waugh and Stewart have failed in Asia but that is not taken into account. I don't know of anyone rating Stewart very highly for his batting, and M Waugh is mostly praised for his elegance. Mark is not considered as a great and he does't have an average of nearly 50 like Mahela.

Posted by highveldhillbilly on (January 20, 2014, 10:50 GMT)

@Moppa - great analysis - I think an improvement would be to also include what proportion of a batsmen games came at home. For example if Batsmen A had scored 65% of his runs in home region tests but only played 50% of their tests in home region it would further illustrate that they were "home town bullies" and much worse on the road. Also excluding Bangladesh and Zim from this analysis probably makes sense.

Posted by abhishekthodge on (January 20, 2014, 8:49 GMT)

''Performing in foreign conditions' is something that separates legends from the average cricketers. A cricketer is legendary when he performs in all conditions. Gavaskar scored 13 centuries against the mighty windies; Kallis/Dravid/Tendulkar's impressive test avg. in away tests; Windies fast bowlers against sub-continent teams, Gilly's ruthless aggression against all oppositions - that's what legends are made up of.

Posted by Longmemory on (January 20, 2014, 8:14 GMT)

There's a specific reason for this double standard that is not mentioned in this otherwise excellent article, and that is the question of facing up to fast bowling in helpful conditions. Whether you like it or not, the gold standard for batsmanship is the ability to counter fast bowling in seaming conditions and on bouncy pitches. It requires both technique and physical courage, that's why its prized so much. When Ponting fails in India, its a matter of his inability to play spin well in conditions favoring spinners. That's a definite blot on his copybook but it does not raise questions about his courage. When players like Raina so obviously flinch when facing up to a bowler on a bouncy track, its more than just lacking technique - they also look scared. Thats why guys like Dravid and Sachin today, and guys like Majid Khan and Asif Iqbal back in the day, are still revered. They had both the technique and the guts to play fast bowlers in conditions that favored them - and succeed.

Posted by Moppa on (January 20, 2014, 8:07 GMT)

Sorry, some other batsmen of interest and their home/away ratio: Ponting 1.28, Yousuf 1.28, S.Waugh 1.26, Javed Miandad 1.23, Inzamam 1.22, Pietersen 1.22, Younis Khan 1.22, Gayle 1.22, Strauss 1.21, Boon 1.18, Laxman 1.18, Richards 1.16, Tendulkar 1.12, Ganguly 1.07, G.Smith 1.02, Hayden 1.01, Gavaskar 0.99, A.Flower 0.94, Dravid 0.94, Border 0.91, Lara 0.89, Ranatunga 0.88, Armanath 0.8, Cook 0.79, Hussey 0.78, Amla 0.78. Looking more broadly, 57% of the qualifying batsmen who have home region averages > away region averages are Asian, whereas only 23% of the batsmen who have away region averages > home region averages are Asian.

Posted by DeepakSivadas on (January 20, 2014, 8:03 GMT)

Again.. this entire article is not about media criticizing a player for not playing well in a particular country!! It about the general yard stick used by the Cricketing greats and fans to judge a player. While Sub continent players need to perform on foreign soil to prove they are good (No matter the amount of runs they scored on their home soil), players from Aus, Eng, SA and NZ are easily let off because they perform exceptionally well on their respective home grounds. While India is infamously tagged as a Home ground Bully, I do not understand why this does not apply to AUS or Eng or even NZ and SA, who have not won a single away TEST series and even dominated a Test match as they would when they are playing on their respective home grounds. Another point worth mentioning is, though home conditions, players need to earn every run or wicket they take in an international arena. When you call a team home bully, doesn't that also imply that the opposition is a minnow??

Posted by Moppa on (January 20, 2014, 7:56 GMT)

A final point. I thought that the overall average per wicket might be much higher in Asia, which would explain the pattern from my earlier post. However, I found that the average runs per wicket for batsmen (batsmen 1 to 7 only) in Asia is 37.55, compared to 36.28 for outside Asia. Note that I limited the outside Asia stats to post-WWI, as pre-WWI there were many low scoring matches, but these were irrelevant to my earlier stats as there were no matches in Asia (i.e. no 'cross-region' matches).

Posted by Moppa on (January 20, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

Home track bullies based on ratio of home region average to away region average (in brackets in some cases): Kamran Akmal (2.14), Sidhu (1.98), Haynes (1.86), Mudassar Nazar (1.81), Borde, M.Jayawardene (1.65), Dhoni, Sehwag, Tillakaratne, Azharuddin, Vengsakar, Samaraweera (1.5), Jayasuriya, Langer, Gomes, Sangakarra, M.Waugh, Clarke, Zaheer Abbas, Gilchrist, Rameez Raja, Trott, Moin Khan, Ian Bell (1.31). The 'road warriors' are, with ratio of away region average to home region average: Weekes (2.09), Steve Fleming (1.81), Barrington, John Reid, Clive Lloyd, Tony Grieg (1.39), Sobers, Kallicharran, Kanhai, Gower, AB de Villiers, Atapattu (1.3).

Posted by Moppa on (January 20, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

Hassan Cheema appears to deal in generalities rather than facts, so I have done some research. I found that a high proportion of Asian batsmen struggle outside of Asia. I have looked at the ratio of averages Asian and non-Asian batsmen in their 'home' and 'away' regions. (Asia = Ind/Pak/SL/Bang/UAE, Non-Asia = Aus/Eng/NZ/SA/WI/Zim). Min qualification 1500 home runs and 750 away runs. 120 batsmen qualify on these criteria. Of the 24 batsmen whose home region average is >1.3 times their away region average, 67% are Asian. I will post these 24 'home track bullies' in declining order in a separate post. Further, of the 12 batsmen whose away region average is >1.3 times their home region average (the 'road warriors'), only 1 is Asian (Marvan Attapattu). I will also post the road warriors list separately. In conclusion: more Asian batsman struggle to adapt to bounce and seam than non-Asians do to spin. I think home track bullies from both regions are judged harshly when they don't adapt.

Posted by   on (January 20, 2014, 6:31 GMT)

Excellent article...this is an eye opener for all Asian fans who should learn to respect their players and give them the praise they deserve....

Posted by   on (January 20, 2014, 5:27 GMT)

Excellent article, appreciated. it represents what a normal Asian fan feels.

Posted by Rahul_Inspired on (January 20, 2014, 5:01 GMT)

Ever since those talks of "flat track bullies" began to flow, I have been waiting for this kind of an article. The author is just presenting with stats to support his opinion and yet that make some of the readers here uncomfortable. I think they want to believe that cricket only exists in Australia and England, and all the world class batsmen need to prove themselves on those conditions. At the same time their players can afford to fail in Asia. Hate these double standards. Anyways, excellent article.

Posted by M.AHMAD82 on (January 20, 2014, 4:57 GMT)

You are seriously making a mistake by pointing out a finger on Sehwag on foreign soil. Plz check this. Sehwag in Australia.

Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 0 4s 6s filtered 2003-2012 11 22 0 1031 195 46.86 1382 74.60 2 5 2 136 9

And how we can forget Sehwag heroics with bat in 7 ODI`s inNew Zealand on Half prepared pitches. His 2 hundreds in Auckland and Napier when every Indian Batsman failed. Although he was below average in rest of the countries but his success in Australia reflects about his ability that he could face any bowling attack.

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (January 20, 2014, 1:28 GMT)

@jb633 - you misunderstood the authors point. its not the temporal judgment/criticism but the eventual yard stick used to praise a player's career is at discussion here. yes, eng, aus players do get hammered by the press but only until the next good innings at home and the rest is forgotten. here is an example, when kapil dev haul of wicket is written about its mentioned that more than half of his wickets came on sub continent. yet when lillee's record is talked about no one bother to mention that he never played a test in india. all his wickets came in eng/aus ! that my friend is the point :)

Posted by CricketLifer on (January 19, 2014, 23:37 GMT)

Mr. Cheema, you make an excellent point. To add to your point, why should subcontinent countries have to field questions about types of pitches they prepare for test matches? It should always be a prerogative of a host country to provide a pitch to their choosing and the one that fits their skills best. When Australia and England (yes, specifically these two countries) lose in subcontinent you here nothing but whining from them about how the pitches are prepared to suit spinners and not fast bowlers. Just as they expect batsmen from the subcontinent to be able to play fast bowlers on their home turf, they should be expected to have their batsmen be able to play spinners in subcontinent. An outright winner ought to be versatile!

Posted by agupta429 on (January 19, 2014, 23:23 GMT)

I find it utterly Hillarious for a pakistani to write such an article given how they are the ones that never miss a chance to point and laugh at Indians for being a Home Bully, even when its statistically an exaggerated issue.

Posted by Haz95 on (January 19, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

Imran is one of the greatest cricketers ever, he was a force like Gavaskar vs the mighty windies, in both Batting and bowling....No1 can say he was a home bully.

Posted by jb633 on (January 19, 2014, 18:54 GMT)

Sorry I really can't agree with this statement at all. You are probably saying these things because you live in Asia and therefore are subjected to Asian news and viewpoints. I have lived in both England and Australia and both countries are quick to identify when players can't play spin and they are constantly reminded about it. For example Ponting was always reminded of his record in India and particularly with his problems with Harbhajan. I can remember the English press mercilessly getting at Strauss because of how poor he was against off spin in the UAE and in Sri Lanka. Whilst we were in the UAE and India sky had huge focuses on how to play spin in the UAE and why our guys were struggling with it. I was also in Oz when Aus lost 2-1 to India in India and i can remember questions being raised about techniques v spin. A lot of the comments below are probably from Asian fans themselves and they are not subjected to British/Aus media. It is the same for both honestly.

Posted by LogicalMyDear on (January 19, 2014, 17:34 GMT)

@B.C.G. and Poting lovers - Here is the interesting part. Everyone considers Indian bowling pedestrian and I can understand if Mr. Ponting failed in 1 test or even 1 test series. We are talking about 14 tests in India. How does that even begin to count as an aberration. Sometimes, the best approach is just to eat your humble pie and except that the horse you are betting on isn't as good as the others. Sachin is vilified as a flat track bully by folks resembling you - his worst record is 42 against Pakistan and SA (which BTW, many batsmen would not consider a bad average) against some of the best attacks in the world. Also he has a 55 IN Australia against decidedly better and varied bowling attacks and supposedly/arguably the best team ever. (Personally I like the mighty west indians more, or even Alan Borders/Waugh's/Taylor's more, but that is a topic for another day) . In my view, comparing Ponting to Sachin is a joke. But freedom of speech also matters, so why not. Ramble on ...

Posted by balajik2505 on (January 19, 2014, 16:17 GMT)

I agree. Atherton and Stewart, both of whom average in the high 30's are rated very high, whereas Asian batsmen are frequently disparaged. Flintoff has fed off his performance in 2 Ashes series, and a 2 year period when he was outstanding. Lillee and Hadlee played almost all their career in favourable conditions. Hadlee skipped a World Cup, and played in India just to get the world record. Frankly, the bowlers I respect are the West Indian greats ( everyone), the Aussies of the last decade or so and the Saffers. They never complained about wickets. If it is so tough for fast bowlers to get wickets in Asia, well Imran, Wasim, Waqar and Kapil ought to be right there on top of the cricketing pantheon considering that they plied most of their trade in the subcontinent. The only reason England has recently sent full strength teams to the subcontinent is because of the money. They never respected the subcontinent.

Posted by android_user on (January 19, 2014, 15:06 GMT)

@Mcsdl Shakib? How about Daniel Vettori? Duh.

Posted by Haz95 on (January 19, 2014, 13:42 GMT)

Yousuf is an alltime great...Anybody with a best ever ICC rating of 900+ is and Yousuf had 933, only 9 lower than Punter....He performed and saved the team regularly and ended with a 52 average which is also exceptional, especially since he played when PAK was struggling. But Sharjeel has a lot of potential and he is a very aggressive batsmen, he scored 194 in a List A game with 14 sixes, he scored 50 of 24 vs SL, give him some time. We don't wanna another Nasir who was a wasted talent(who luckily has age on his side)

Posted by mcsdl on (January 19, 2014, 12:28 GMT)

Jimmy Anderson - he is brilliant at home but way too ordinary away, very overrated... Sehwag - Give him a flat pitch he'll bully you, if it swings and bounce he is no better than a tailender.. Suresh Raina - Very good at home but clueless to the bounce away from home. Chris Gayle - He is the DON B of T20 only if Indian IPL bowlers are on the run, but he is a no show against top class international attacks. Mitchell Johnson - The guy only had a one good series against a mentally fragile English batsman, but people talk him as a world beater, way overrated.. David Warner - Another guy way too overrated because he hits some dashy shots, but very inconsistent.. Shane Watson - He bats and balls but ordinary at both, he still gets the recognition he don't deserve, Brendan McCullam - Another show ponny, but very inconsistent.. Those are some of the names that get credit they don't deserve, whereas players like Amla, Kallis, Herath, Misbah, Chanderpal, Shakib deserves more praise than they get

Posted by   on (January 19, 2014, 10:54 GMT)

I don't think that problem lie in performing in english or aussies or sa or nz conditions is what asian fans are looking for from their teams. I bet it's wrong because fans are extremely knowledgeable and smart. What happened in last 40 years. first 20 years WI was number 1 team. Next 15 years Aus was number 1 team. Next 5 years eng + ind + sa were number 1 team. So any player who wants to call him legend or all time great has to perform against number 1 team. That's why in my childhood Gawasker was considered as greatest test batsman because he used to bat extremely well against WI the number 1 team. In 90's Lara and Sachin used to bat extremely well against Aus the number 1 team. In 2000's the domination of Aus was that much that even a century against australia in australia was considered as great innings even in big time defeat. So what is the greatest test series in last 10 years: aus vs eng ashes 2005. SA vs eng 2011 involving #1 team. We asians just want to play well against #1

Posted by   on (January 19, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

as ur tag line puts it.. the truth and nothing but the truth!

Posted by cricfansince91 on (January 19, 2014, 6:02 GMT)

Very Very well put.. Batsmen from India and Pakistan(even Sri lanka) are unnecessarily downsized if they perform better at home.. Playes like sehwag, Yusuf Youhanna were absolute delight to watch when on song and performed well overseas too like in Australia(2003-4) and England(2006) respectively.. why we forget Greg Chappell who never played anywhere except AUS and ENG Eng & Barry Richards who played virtually no international cricket but only First Class cricket in SA and Eng are considered "GREAT" and spoken in same breadth as Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, Viv Richards who performed fantastically in all conditions show the double standards. Similarly Warne had a mediocre record in IND & WI and Lillee who had comical figures on pakistan tour of 1983(only series he played outside AUS or ENG) will always be called "GREAT" and Kumble who had excellent record in AUS & WI will be considered a master at only home tracks!!!!!!!!

Posted by B.C.G on (January 19, 2014, 5:59 GMT)

Mr Cheema.Ricky Ponting played Murali & Saqlain superbly everywhere.Yet he only struggled in India.Hence an aberration.Sehwag,Mahela,Yousuf struggled in 3-4 diff. countries.Get the difference.

Mark Waugh, Justin Langer, Alec Stewart and Desmond Haynes-These chaps are barely considered greats.They were valuable batsmen but unlike many Asians who consider Viru,Jaya & Yousuf to be greats;the 4 above a'rent taken to be 'greats'by their countrymen.

You mention a LOT OF OZ bowlers but completely ignore McGrath & Gillespie.Why? DK Lillee played only 3 tests in Pakistan on DELIBERATELY FLAT pitches.Check the scorecard.They were ordered to negate Lillee specifically.Imran Great Khan also struggled.They won a test due to their spin duo & the Pak pacers did nothing.So there goes your theory......PLZ publish

Posted by cricfansince91 on (January 19, 2014, 5:21 GMT)

Very Very well put.. Batsmen from India and Pakistan(even Sri lanka) are unnecessarily downsized if they perform better at home.. Playes like sehwag, Yusuf Youhanna were absolute delight to watch when on song and performed well overseas too like in Australia(2003-4) and England(2006) respectively while the vice versa never happens.. the very fact that Greg Chappell who never played anywhere except Aus and Eng & Barry Richards who played virtually all his cricket in SA and Eng are considered "GREAT" and spoken in same breadth as Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, Viv Richards who performed fantastically in all conditions!!!!!!

Posted by DD_f0rever on (January 19, 2014, 2:56 GMT)

Yousuf Youhana was a great batsman.

Posted by goldeneraaus on (January 19, 2014, 2:37 GMT)

Mr Cheema, Asian players who fail away from home do get more press, but it is incorrect to say that the reverse does not apply. Ponting's record in India is explained away as an abberation because he scored runs in other sub-continental conditions against champions like Murali. There are dozens of cases made against non-asian players as "poor players of spin", recently players like Morgan and Hughes have lost their place due to this deficiency. Perhaps a bigger deal is made because of the collective team failure of Asian teams to win overseas, whereas despite deficiencies of some batsman, SA, Eng and Aus have all won in India, SL, Pak or Bdesh, over the past decade, whereas the reverse certainly does not apply.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2014, 1:35 GMT)

I beg to differ with you, Cheema boss. The same applies to the "other side" as well. Remember, Eoin Morgan? He lost his place in the Test side because of his struggles in the middle east and Sri Lanka. And Warne hasn't played enough Test cricket in the sub-continent. Let's wait and see. How could you forget Dominic Cork? He was a champion bowler in England, but struggled outside, hence he couldn't get a regular slot in the Test side.

Posted by nthuq on (January 19, 2014, 1:09 GMT)

You raise some excellent points Mr Cheema, and I admit I am guilty of expecting Asian players to fail outside the subcontinent. I think part of the reason Australian fans are happy with their bowlers is due to the fact that even if they don't perform overseas, they are capable of performing in the various conditions in each ground we have here. Adelaide and Sydney can be positively subcontinental in some games.

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Hassan Cheema
Hassan Cheema is a sports journalist, writer and commentator. He writes on cricket and football for various publications and co-hosts the online cricket show Pace is Pace Yaar. He doesn't believe opinions other than his own are valid. @mediagag

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