England v India, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 5th day July 31, 2007

Zaheer's overseas conquest

Zaheer Khan's 9 for 134 is the sixth-best figures by an Indian fast bowler abroad

Despite all the noise about subcontinent fast bowlers relishing conditions overseas, traditionally plenty of seamers from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have done better at home than overseas - Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Waqar Younis, Chaminda Vaas and Javagal Srinath all have better stats at home. Which is why Zaheer Khan's matchwinning performance at Trent Bridge, coupled with Sreesanth's excellent display in South Africa, bodes well for the future. Zaheer's match figures of 9 for 134 is the sixth-best by an Indian bowler overseas; exclude Bangladesh and Zimbabwe from the list, and Zaheer's performance rises to No.3.

Kapil's best abroad was 8 for 85 against Pakistan at Lahore in 1982-83, while outside the subcontinent it's his 8 for 106 against Australia at Adelaide in 1985-86. Javagal Srinath only had one eight-wicket haul overseas in his entire career; Sreesanth admittedly had a terrible game here, but he has already had two eight-fors, both against South Africa on the tour in 2006-07.

Best bowling by an Indian fast bowler overseas
Bowler Match figures Against Venue & year
Irfan Pathan 12 for 126 Zimbabwe Harare, 2005
Irfan Pathan 11 for 96 Bangladesh Dhaka, 2004-05
Venkatesh Prasad 10 for 153 South Africa Durban, 1996-97
Chetan Sharma 10 for 188 England Edgbaston, 1986
Irfan Pathan 9 for 111 Zimbabwe Bulawayo, 2005
Zaheer Khan 9 for 134 England Trent Bridge, 2007

England were eventually outplayed, but there was one bowler who would be justified in believing his figures should have been resembling those of Zaheer. Ryan Sidebottom repeatedly beat the outside edge of the bat through the Indian first innings, but finished with figures of 1 for 75, and in the entire game he conceded just 103 runs. As the table below shows, he forced almost as many false strokes (edges, play-and-misses, which are shown by the batsmen's not-in-control percentage) from the batsmen as Zaheer. Sadly, though, the bowling figures will not indicate the number of times he beat the bat.

Not-in-control percent for Zaheer and Sidebottom
Bowler Total balls Not-in-control balls Percent Match figures
Zaheer Khan 288 76 26.39 9 for 134
Ryan Sidebottom 264 66 25.00 1 for 103

Thanks to their more incisive bowling attack in recent years, India have won 16 times abroad since 2000, which is more than 50% of their entire overseas wins. The victory was also an excellent way to celebrate their 200th overseas Test. Seven of those 16 wins have come against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, but even excluding matches in the subcontinent and in Zimbabwe, India have done much better when they have toured since 2000.

India's overseas record
Period Tests Won Lost Drawn
Overall 200 29 84 87
Since 2000 45 16 15 14
Outside subcont, and excl Zim,
since 2000
27 6 10 11

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo