January 20, 2012

England's problems in Asia

England have won only one of their last 18 Tests in Asia (excluding Bangladesh). Here's a look at why their results are so poor
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England's results over the last 32 months have earned them the right to be called the best team in the world - that's quite indisputable. They've won 20 out of 32 Tests during this period, and lost only five, which gives them a win-loss ratio of four. The fact that no other team has done better than 1.60 says just how good England have been - in terms of this statistic alone, they're 2.5 times as good as the next-best team during this period.

However, going beyond the overall numbers and into specifics, it's clear that there are some boxes that England haven't ticked yet. Fourteen of their 20 wins during this period have come at home, and of their six overseas ones, two were in Bangladesh. (Click here for more details.) The Ashes triumphs, especially the one in Australia, was fantastic, but for any team from outside the subcontinent, the ultimate challenge is to conquer the turning conditions of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India - just as the reverse is true for the teams from the subcontinent - and that's the challenge England haven't yet won.

England's three-day debacle in Dubai means they've won just one of their last 18 Tests in Asia, excluding their visits to Bangladesh. In the 2000-01 season, they won back-to-back series in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but since then there hasn't been a whole lot to celebrate. In six series in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during this period, they've lost twice to India and Sri Lanka, and once to Pakistan. Their only Test win - against India in Mumbai in 2006 - resulted in a drawn series.

Compared to the other top teams, England's subcontinent stats are quite poor. Australia are quite clearly on top, with four wins in six series, including two whitewashes. South Africa aren't as impressive, but they've still managed three wins in the subcontinent, including two by an innings in India.

Overseas teams in Asia (excl B'desh) since April 2001
Team Tests Won Lost Ratio
Australia 19 9 5 1.80
South Africa 17 3 7 0.42
England 18 1 8 0.12
Zimbabwe 5 0 5 0.00
New Zealand 10 0 4 0.00
West Indies 19 0 13 0.00

A batting average of 27.38 and a bowling average of 40.53 explains why England have managed the results they have in the last decade in the subcontinent. Their batting average isn't much worse than Australia's 31.73, but then Australia have compensated by achieving excellent results with the ball, averaging less than 30 per wicket. On the other hand, England's bowlers have similar stats to South Africa's, but the South African batsmen compensated for the bowling average of 40 by averaging 36.55 with the bat, more than nine runs higher than England's average.

One of the problems for England's batsmen has been converting their fifties into hundreds. Of the 61 times that one of their batsmen have topped 50, only 13 have resulted in centuries. That's a much poorer conversion rate than those for Australia (26 hundreds out of 66 fifty-plus scores) and South Africa (22 out of 66), and similar to that for West Indies (12 out of 59). (In Dubai, though, their batsmen didn't do much to worsen that ratio, with only Matt Prior topping 50.)

Overseas teams' batting and bowling stats in Asia (excl B'desh) since April 2001
Team Tests Bat ave 100s/ 50s Wickets Bowl ave 5WI/ 10WM Ave diff
Australia 19 31.73 26/ 40 317 29.95 13/ 4 2.48
South Africa 17 36.55 22/ 44 234 40.47 9/ 1 -3.92
England 18 27.38 13/ 48 234 40.53 3/ 0 -13.15
New Zealand 10 31.89 11/ 25 117 50.65 2/ 0 -18.76
West Indies 19 26.23 12/ 47 229 45.31 3/ 0 -19.08
Zimbabwe 5 19.35 0/ 10 46 59.04 1/ 0 -39.69

One of the challenges for batsmen when touring the subcontinent is the constant barrage of spin they are confronted with. The table below checks out the performances of each team against pace and spin over the last decade on tours to the subcontinent. Again, the numbers for England aren't that impressive: their averages against spin are lower than those for Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, and as much as the average for West Indies. The run-rates column also shows that England's batsmen have a problem in getting the spinners away for runs - they're the only one among the top teams with a scoring rate of less than 2.5 against spin.

Pace bowlers and spinners against each team in Asia (excl B'desh) since April 2001
Team Pace-wkts Average Econ rate Spin-wkts Average Econ rate
Australia 114 35.53 3.28 201 32.20 2.97
South Africa 93 43.59 3.31 168 35.36 2.69
England 136 30.46 3.06 169 27.84 2.44
New Zealand 60 30.03 3.01 101 34.50 2.59
West Indies 144 26.72 3.13 177 27.81 2.71
Zimbabwe 28 32.89 2.81 69 15.53 1.87

Among the bowlers too, England's spinners have been pretty ineffective in the subcontinent, averaging more than 46 runs per wicket. Given that their own batsmen average less than 28 against spinners, it's clear that the gulf between the performance of England's batsmen against opposition spinners, and England's spinners against opposition batsmen, is pretty huge, and that's one of the significant reasons why England's results have been so disappointing.

Pace and spin bowlers for each team in the subcontinent (excl B'desh) since April 2001
Team Pace-wkts Average Econ rate Spin-wkts Average Econ rate
Australia 191 29.72 2.79 125 29.29 3.39
South Africa 164 37.25 3.20 70 47.44 3.05
England 153 37.09 2.96 78 46.38 2.99
New Zealand 57 53.01 3.25 60 48.41 3.16
West Indies 159 41.07 3.18 70 54.40 3.22
Zimbabwe 23 68.34 3.27 23 49.73 2.93

A look at England's top run-getters during this period reveals that none of the specialist batsmen average more than 43 in the subcontinent during this period. The biggest disappointments have been Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell: in 23 innings Pietersen averages 31.54, with 13 scores of under 20. Bell is only slightly better, with an average touching 33 in 24 innings. Both these numbers are well below the career averages for these players.

Bell's stats against spin are particularly disappointing. His two dismissals against Saeed Ajmal reduced his average against spin in the subcontinent to 23 - he has scored only 345 runs in 952 deliveries, and been dismissed 15 times by slow bowlers. On the other hand, Alastair Cook averages 39.33 overall in the subcontinent, but against spin his stats are outstanding: 286 runs for three dismissals at an average of 95.33.

Highest run-getters for England in the subcontinent (excl B'desh) since April 2001
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Paul Collingwood 12 843 42.15 2/ 3
Ian Bell 12 758 32.95 1/ 6
Marcus Trescothick 9 703 41.35 1/ 4
Kevin Pietersen 12 694 31.54 2/ 2
Andrew Flintoff 14 642 25.68 0/ 7
Michael Vaughan 10 624 34.66 1/ 5
Alastair Cook 8 590 39.33 2/ 5
Andrew Strauss 8 558 37.20 3/ 0
Mark Butcher 6 390 35.45 0/ 4
Matt Prior 6 327 46.71 0/ 4
* All references to subcontinent exclude matches played in Bangladesh.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • csowmi7 on January 22, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Lets see if England can win even one of their 3 tours this year. Then they can talk about being close to number 1. I dont even rate them good enough to beat this ravaged Pakistan side. Lets face it despite Pakistan's brilliant performance this side is not good as Pakistan sides of past comprising Akram, Waqar, Inzi, Sohail, Raja, Imran, Anwar etc.On the other hand India's youngsters are good enough for the English as we saw in the ODI series. The current Indian team is facing problems that all teams will face one day. That of ageing seniors. Once Laxman, Dravid and eventually Tendulkar retire we will be playing good cricket once again

  • csowmi7 on January 22, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    India's ascension to their number 1 spot was no mere fluke. We did well all around the world. We won in New Zealand, England, West Indies drew in South Africa in a tight series where the final test could have been won if not for a kallis special, challenged the great Aussie team of past a team leagues ahead of the current team 1-1 in 2003 and 1-2 in 2007 (coulda been 2-1 if not for sydney gate).

  • ajmal1988 on January 22, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Again let's remind ppl the fact that the pitches in UAE are not subcontinental, as they do not turn as much square as pak, india and sri lankan pitches. England will understand that when they turn up at Galle, a pitch which was reported as being unplayable. If pakistani players had played their domestic cricket in the UAE, then we could say that they are at home, but they play in Pakistan and therefore due to lack of support from crowds I wouldn't say that these are "home conditions" . Have to applaud the fact that they have created their own intensity and style suited for the conditions in UAE. Andrew Miller, George Dobell and others were expecting england to crush pakistan under their boots! and now they are blaming ajmal's action, conditions, been away from test cricket for a while, poor batting etc for their loss in the first test, GROW UP.

  • pinhead9810 on January 21, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    Why have discussions of India's performance appeared? England at home are formidable however, in the sub-continent, England have been very poor. I must say, after their poor performance in the last test against Pakistan, England won't have any chances winning in the sub-continent (excluding Bangladesh).

  • Chino666 on January 21, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Personally naming a no 1 team at the moment doesnt make much sense at the moment as everyone wins at home and loses away.

  • o-bomb on January 21, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    @George204 - You're probably right, I just thought it might be an idea if they both continue to struggle. I doubt the England management would consider it anyway. Yeah Cook looks like Crazylegs Crane when he bats against spin - very ungainly - but it seems to work for him.

  • on January 21, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Who will be no. 1 team (of course not just by ranking but by how dominance they play) if England loss here by 2-0 or 3-0 margin and then loss to India by 3-0 if thats a 3 match series and also to Sri Lanka by any margin? I just sense Australia is getting read to be no. 1 again. They usually play spin better than any away teams. So, if they continue to improve the way they are going, they will reach to no. 1 sooner than we thought.

  • on January 21, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Good article :) most people just blame subcontinent countries not playing well in Australia, England and South Africa, actually speaking the other way round is what many people ignores. and that is our strength. and every team is strong while playing in their home conditions.... so when England & Australia tour India for test matches India will win comprehensively... And India No 1 Ranking was not a fluke... India did play well in that period.

  • NaniIndCri on January 21, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    @BnH1985Fan so what is your point relating to the article England's #1 position is less fluke?

  • NaniIndCri on January 21, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Well England can compensate their poor stats by including bunch of South African batsmen they have.

  • csowmi7 on January 22, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Lets see if England can win even one of their 3 tours this year. Then they can talk about being close to number 1. I dont even rate them good enough to beat this ravaged Pakistan side. Lets face it despite Pakistan's brilliant performance this side is not good as Pakistan sides of past comprising Akram, Waqar, Inzi, Sohail, Raja, Imran, Anwar etc.On the other hand India's youngsters are good enough for the English as we saw in the ODI series. The current Indian team is facing problems that all teams will face one day. That of ageing seniors. Once Laxman, Dravid and eventually Tendulkar retire we will be playing good cricket once again

  • csowmi7 on January 22, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    India's ascension to their number 1 spot was no mere fluke. We did well all around the world. We won in New Zealand, England, West Indies drew in South Africa in a tight series where the final test could have been won if not for a kallis special, challenged the great Aussie team of past a team leagues ahead of the current team 1-1 in 2003 and 1-2 in 2007 (coulda been 2-1 if not for sydney gate).

  • ajmal1988 on January 22, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Again let's remind ppl the fact that the pitches in UAE are not subcontinental, as they do not turn as much square as pak, india and sri lankan pitches. England will understand that when they turn up at Galle, a pitch which was reported as being unplayable. If pakistani players had played their domestic cricket in the UAE, then we could say that they are at home, but they play in Pakistan and therefore due to lack of support from crowds I wouldn't say that these are "home conditions" . Have to applaud the fact that they have created their own intensity and style suited for the conditions in UAE. Andrew Miller, George Dobell and others were expecting england to crush pakistan under their boots! and now they are blaming ajmal's action, conditions, been away from test cricket for a while, poor batting etc for their loss in the first test, GROW UP.

  • pinhead9810 on January 21, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    Why have discussions of India's performance appeared? England at home are formidable however, in the sub-continent, England have been very poor. I must say, after their poor performance in the last test against Pakistan, England won't have any chances winning in the sub-continent (excluding Bangladesh).

  • Chino666 on January 21, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Personally naming a no 1 team at the moment doesnt make much sense at the moment as everyone wins at home and loses away.

  • o-bomb on January 21, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    @George204 - You're probably right, I just thought it might be an idea if they both continue to struggle. I doubt the England management would consider it anyway. Yeah Cook looks like Crazylegs Crane when he bats against spin - very ungainly - but it seems to work for him.

  • on January 21, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Who will be no. 1 team (of course not just by ranking but by how dominance they play) if England loss here by 2-0 or 3-0 margin and then loss to India by 3-0 if thats a 3 match series and also to Sri Lanka by any margin? I just sense Australia is getting read to be no. 1 again. They usually play spin better than any away teams. So, if they continue to improve the way they are going, they will reach to no. 1 sooner than we thought.

  • on January 21, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Good article :) most people just blame subcontinent countries not playing well in Australia, England and South Africa, actually speaking the other way round is what many people ignores. and that is our strength. and every team is strong while playing in their home conditions.... so when England & Australia tour India for test matches India will win comprehensively... And India No 1 Ranking was not a fluke... India did play well in that period.

  • NaniIndCri on January 21, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    @BnH1985Fan so what is your point relating to the article England's #1 position is less fluke?

  • NaniIndCri on January 21, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Well England can compensate their poor stats by including bunch of South African batsmen they have.

  • Jaggadaaku on January 21, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    @ BnH1985Fan, Indian fans not arguing anything. That game is only playing in your mind. Why you have started comparing Indian and Australia in Asia. This article is not about India either. Everybody's test ranking of no. 1 is fluke these days. Australia won comprehensively against India while they couldn't win the series against NZ in AUS. India defeated NZ very badly in India last year. England whitewashed India in ENG, and lost nearly by innings against Pakistan. SA also lost a test match against SL last month in their own country as SA. That means no one is capable for number 1 in test ranking for long time, not even your AUS. Like I said Aus also lost a match against NZ(#7 in ranking) few weeks ago in their own country as AUS. India's problem is different. India have many over valued and over praised cricketers who don't want to retire, and the management can't kick them out because of their previous performances.

  • on January 21, 2012, 1:49 GMT

    India are not that good even in subcontinent. They are good only at home (in India) in Tests. This is partly due to umpiring help received by Indian batsmen and bowlers at home. Everyone alive in the universe knows about Sydney test 2008 for its umpiring blunders but no one likes to talk about 2001 Test series in India against Australia where a lot of decisions went in favour of India and even then they barely managed to scrap a series win with a 2-wicket victory in deciding test. India have not managed to win a Test series in SL. They were able to draw the previous Test series in SL only after Murali retired after the first Test. India is the best at drawing many games at home though.

  • Kreacher_Rocks on January 21, 2012, 0:41 GMT

    @BnH1985Fan, From Jan 2001 to Dec 2010 (prior to losing its #1 ranking) India won 2 matches each in England, Australia, South Africa and West Indies, in addition to 1 match in NZ and 3 in Zimbabwe: a total of 12 wins to 13 losses. This included series wins in England, WI, NZ and Zim, and tied series in Aus and SA. It was also the only country to halt Aus' 16 match streak with a defeat twice (Eden 2001, Perth 2009). The only country with a better ratio in table 1 above is Australia. Add to this India's stronger showing in the sub-continent away from home (10-7) and formidable showing at home (24-7) and it isn't hard to see how India got to #1. For the same period Eng was 12-15 away non-sub-continent, 1-8 in the sub-continent and 39-15 at home. Surely Eng seems like a gigantic fluke this way.

  • on January 21, 2012, 0:00 GMT

    Well writing this article I hope you are not taking away a job well done by Pakistan.

  • HatsforBats on January 20, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    @ JimDavis, yep England's record since 2005 of 1 win from 12 is far supeior to Australia's 1 - 9! Oh wait, that means 0 from 6 between 2001 - 2005. I guess England need to play Bangladesh some more

  • on January 20, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    A great cricketer can influence a match in variety of playing conditions. A good player can do the same in helpful conditions and an average player cannot perform except in very favourable conditions. The main reason for poor performance of visiting teams in Asia is that many of the players fail to adapt to Asian conditions. A typical Asian wicket is like a traditional batting track at the Oval- not much conventional swing or spin. The technique of bowling on flat tracks is different to bowling on soft or bouncy tracks. As for the batsmen, there is very little lateral movement off the wicket, the visiting batsmen tend to play away from the body in Asia that leads to their downfall. Most great Asian batsmen, fast bowlers and spinners have taken tons of wickets in Australia, England and SA. A multi dimensional player is more likely to succeed on all surfaces. That is an undeniable fact, whether a player is from Asia or elsewhere.

  • Fletcha17 on January 20, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    Looking at the last table, the clear answer is to bring Paul Collingwood back

  • on January 20, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    everyones struggling abroad!!! and a lion in there den!!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 20, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    Unless England change their dodgy grassbowls back home, they will find it very difficult to succed on proper tracks in Asia.

  • JimDavis on January 20, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    Hey that cannot be right Australia have been rubbish for ages - oh, 8 of the 9 wins are pre 2005! It's 1 win in 9 tests since 2005.

  • BnH1985Fan on January 20, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    India's fans may be tempted to argue that India is better than Australia in Asia. But not so fast -- the margin of thrashing India has received in England and Australia is severe. And don't forget that in the statistics provided above Australia has a winning record (9W/5L). India is nowhere near such a record outside Asia. Time to face the inevitable truth -- India's #1 test ranking was a fluke. They simply "stumbled" into it, and were quickly kicked out by England last summer. And should not come as a surprise they will be displaced from #2 after the series against Australia ends.

  • on January 20, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    Good article :) most people just blame subcontinent countries not playing well in Australia, England and South Africa, actually speaking the other way round is what many people ignores.

  • Zahidsaltin on January 20, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Strangely this Dubai wicket wasn't a turning one at all. It did offer bounce of english wickets but then it wasn't a slow one either. Englands performance on this wicket creates fears of them being totally rolled over if they play at the real subcontinental wickets with lot of turn. I think indian spinners will pay back this time and win all the matches against England.

  • uknsaunders on January 20, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    I don't think these stats mean much tbh. This team has played 1 test poorly. The past history is mainly based on weaker England teams than this. We'll see how they stand after a proper tour of duty in asia.

  • george204 on January 20, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    @ o-bomb - it sounds like a good idea in principle, but it didn't work for Daryl Cullinan v Warne and it didn't work for Robin Smith in '92/3 (yes, I know he managed a centur v SL but it was possibly the worst/ugliest/least fluent innings he ever played anywhere & England still lost!), so I'd say it's a bad idea in practice. Bell will come good. I'm surprised about Cook's stats - he looks so CLUMSY against spin, like an elephant on ice.

  • on January 20, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    Well highest run-getters for England in the subcontinent list...Mark Butcher For England??????

  • Valavan on January 20, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    None said India is bad team, Just the fans here hyped them so high as if they were Windies of 80s or OZs of 2000s, The indian fans won many in cricinfo conversations, rather their players played rashly and they are in the place they deserve. What is India's achievement by being no.1 in tests, JUST 1 test win in SA out of subcontinent, Probably Mrgupta forgot Aussies won quite frequently in Asia despite India in 2000s, How often India won out of asia, so none dominates so far in Test cricket, England started learning a lesson now. cricinfo please publish.

  • TruthPrevails on January 20, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    English are just green-top bullies whose batsmen can't handle spin. Batsmen need only good reflexes to handle pace but brains to read spin. Enough said.

  • BillyCC on January 20, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    @mrgupta, no it does not make it even. The last time Australia travelled to India, Australia were a chance of drawing the series 1-1 but ended up losing 2-0 (Mohali match was tight). The point is that they put up a fight and did not lose matches by an innings or by 10 wickets which is what India seem to do regularly in these past seven defeats. The worst thing is that in many of these defeats, they have been in a losing position on day one. This is the same comparison being made to England, who pretty much lost this match on day one.

  • Dubious on January 20, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    mrgupta and spin_king4, let me remind you both that Australia just won a Test and ODI series in Sri Lanka last year--their latest excursion to the sub-continent.

  • o-bomb on January 20, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Given Cook's record of 5 failures in his last 7 innings opening; would he be better employed in the middle order facing spin, which he is clearly proficient at? Also, given Bell's struggles against spin (including being completely bamboozled by Saeed Ajmal this week); would he be better employed at the top of the order where he can play himself in against pace which he is more adept at facing? Whilst this may not be a suggestion too many people take seriously, I'd like to know if anyone has thoughts on this.

  • StoneRose on January 20, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    A good article, though it only confirms what we already know: England don't bat well enough in Asia (let's call it Asia rather than the subcontinent for the pedants). The reason why England are No. 1 is because of their performance since 2009 (ish), which is why they are much better placed in the rankings than India and SA. India have been poor since then and SA have not until recently won at home. These stats are since 2001, hence why they seem to suggest that the gulf between India and SA is less.

  • on January 20, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Pakistan is the only team who is doing well outside there conditions as UAE is still not there home ground. Now waiting for Pakistans tour of SA as that would be the first real test for Pakistan

  • roarster on January 20, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    The Recollingworth Campaign start here! Colly's still available for England in all versions other than test cricket. Since his claims in the "cricket-lite" formats are being steadfastly ignored by the selectors, these figures suggest that it might well be worth him chucking his hat back in the ring for test consideration for the Asia 2012 adventures. Not only would we regain his inimitable resolve and refusal to cheaply relinquish his wicket , but his dibbly dobblers are infinitely superior to Trott's version of the artform. On that topic a big shout out to Mike Hussey's recent antipodean Collydobbler Tribute act - slow and wobbling is clearly the new quick and swinging!

  • SumitG on January 20, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    - What will be useful is to justaxpose this with Subcontinental teams faring outside in all these countries and see who has adapted better? Clearly Australia leads the pack

  • dogcatcher on January 20, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    DannoTheManno - agreed and not only that on closer inspection one would have to say how lucky India have been to avoid defeat in past years, same for the recent Pakistan series though Sri Lanka it has to be said has not been a happy hunting ground.

    England caught Australia at an all time low and were lucky to draw the series in SA.

  • Viky_Robin on January 20, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    While we (subcon) can't adjust to CHIN Music, they (ENG,AUS,SA) can't handle SPIN Music this is the fact.

  • ihaq1 on January 20, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    the difference between india and england is that england beat the hell out of australia at home and away...england should practice playing spin in teh nets day in and out and play two spinners...

  • on January 20, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    in the last 5years SA is the best team in subcontinent(lets add UAE coz the pitch is very similar and the soil used there r from subcontinent),since their loss to SL in 2006 they r yet to lose any,during that time they won one in pak,drew one in UAE apart from drawing two series in india in 2008 & 2009 when all other teams struggles in india...as for england their stats shows that since their resurgence in 2008 14 of their 20test win r at home and only four tests r away from home(one in SA and three),their first away tests as no.1 team came as cropper...on talent and technique only SA at the moment looks like a team who can be at the top but their seems to have some mental frailty with Saffers..unless the current England wins in subcontinent and against SA its very difficult to accept them as no.1..

  • on January 20, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    to be honest people get very quickly to criticize south africa for their chooking but dont give them much credit for their successes...yes they choke but south africa has the best record outside their home in the last 5 years,including the subcontinent... australia have struggled in india after the retirements of their great bowlers... southafrica have drawn their last two tests series in india and infact they could have won them coz they won the first test both the times,besides winning in australia and england.....yeah they choke but if they stop choking they can put forward a strong case for world number one

  • wrenx on January 20, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    @Meety KP might be a good player of spin, but he's no player of Ajmal. Struggled against him in the 2010 series in England too.

  • on January 20, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    i think Pakistan is really getting use to UAE conditions now and will hopefully regain their their title of being the Asian Giants. Pakistan have beaten West indies in West Indies at their peek, England in England at their peek, and India in India most of the time when these countries have played against each other, since 2003 pakistan was continuously moving downwards and they hit the rock bottom now it's their way up they did manage to win 3 matches in england which also include 1 test in 2010 against the same team india lost all, sicne then Pakistan is working harder and harder and i have a feeling they are again going to Lead world cricket among Australia and South Africa for the next whole decade

  • rahulcricket007 on January 20, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    AUS LOST ONLY 5 TESTS SINCE APRIL 2001 IN SUBCONTINENT & THAT 5 LOSSES WERE CAME AGAINST INDIA . IN 2004 AUS WIN BY 2-1 , IN 2008 AUS LOSE BY 2-0 , IN 2010 AUS LOSE BY 2-0 ( ALL IN INDIA) , WHILE AUS WIN 3-0 IN SL IN 2004 , WON 1-0 IN SL RECNTLY . IT TELLS THAT AUS CAN PLAY EASILY IN SL .

  • Romanticstud on January 20, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    If you see the make up of the England Team ... Cook, Strauss, Trott, Pieterson, Bell, Morgan, Prior, Broad, Bresnan, Anderson, Swann, Tremlett on paper ... the credentials are brilliant with the bat and ball ... but then we have the South African factor, which says we cannot play spin ... When last did South Africa perform well in Sri-Lanka ... The last visit being during the Murilitheran era ... Australia on the other hand have had a better run in Sri-Lanka ... some of it post-Murilitheran ... Another thing worth mentioning is the ability of all the top sides in recent times to Collapse ... Australia in South Africa ... England in Dubai ... South Africa in Durban ... India against England and Australia ... Sri-Lanka against Australia and in the first ODI against South Africa ... England are no 1 above India, South Africa and Australia ... All things considered Australia shoud be No 1, South Africa 2, India 3, England 4 based on the table above and the ability of Indian batsman ...

  • 20ty2yards on January 20, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Perhaps it is time for the poms to have spin friendly tracks at home, if they really want to do well in the sub continent.

  • abdulrazzaqfc on January 20, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    Australian are true champions with 1.8 win ratio in subcontinent (wxcl B'Desh). England yes cannot play in subcontinent. Please do post the same states for subcontinent teams playing overseas & at home.. thank you

  • on January 20, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @DannoTheManno.. I agree wid u reg SA.. They r a very good team and one of my fav teams.. While I agree that they r always good travelers, their home record is not as good as other teams(esp, India).. Bt, that wont take any credit away.. My point is.. Every team has its own flaws.. If some team s doing well, compliment that team instead of writing down the losing one.. Current Ind team is under tremendous pressure for losing away test and the criticisms r right from ex members of team which has big history of struggling whn they see first sign of spin.. While articles abt Asian Teams' dismal away performance r quite regular, this kinda articles r very rare.. Why this double standard..??

  • mikey76 on January 20, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    All these comments make me chuckle. It's as if England had already lost the series. We are notoriously slow starters in away series. Especially in a place we've never played in with next to no competitive match practice to speak of. The bowlers did well and Prior and Trott both looked in decent touch. Once the rest hit their straps then we'll come good. Pakistan played well in conditions they are familiar with.Well done to them and for an England fan these defeats are sometimes healthy, it prevents complacency and shows what these guys are made of. Can't wait for the next test.

  • on January 20, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    @SachTLG, @Spin_King4: Even the gr8 Australian Team of 90's & 2000's were not able to win convincingly in India. They won only one test series in last decade or half in INDIA & dat too bcoz of politics within BCCI when dey were offered a GREEN PITCH in NAGPUR...India won a Test Series in England in 2007 & we all are aware of what happened in India's last tour in Australia. @DannoTheManno: I agree dat somehow SA has managed not to lose a series in sub-continent. Same did India in 2010 in SA & came soooo close to win dat series. India were only denied their 1st ever series win in SA bcoz of gr8ness of one man..called "KALLIS" & not to forget India had to bat on a damp pitch in 1st Test.

  • dunger.bob on January 20, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    I have no problem saying England is the current no.1. No problem. What has given me the willies is the push in the English media to put them up there with the WI/Aus mega teams. It really is beyond any sort of joke. Compared to either of those sides, this England team is a mere babe in the woods. Thank you Mr. Rajesh, maybe some cold, hard facts will do the job where common sense and logic have failed.

  • rienzied on January 20, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    ctvare - you are right, this is not the subcontinent. The writer has got it wrong

  • AcFinor on January 20, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @mrgupta Well, Australia was truly a GREAT team. In the last 10 years, they've won 5 of the 7 test series in Asia. And what about India in Australia? Not a single series win!! I wouldn't call that even. Sure, India have won 4 test series outside Asia in the last decade. Against Zimbabwe, West Indies, New Zealand and Eng! Yup, pretty hard teams to beat!! :D Also, in the last decade, Aus have won 8 of the 11 ODI tournaments(series against B'desh excluded) they've played in the subcontinent!! Indian fans might never admit this, but India sucks outside the subcontinent! But Australia has done quite well here!!

  • on January 20, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    Why it if so difficult to digest defeat for some people. You win when you play well and lose when opponent play better. Simple as that. I don't think it would be very difficult to replicate condition for practice. Good teams are just good what ever they do. If they are only good in a particular scenario they are not the best. No matter what the numbers say.

  • on January 20, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    A 10 year period is too long! Most players don't last that long so Aus 2001 is complety different to Aus 2011. Same is true for all countries. Better comparison is 3-5 years. Case in point, batsmen average 50% of the people listed have retired.

  • on January 20, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Very interesting but one shouldn't read too much into the records of individual players. Let's assume that Andrew Strauss had not been given out at 6 in the second innings but had gone on to carry his bat for a modest 132. He would then have had 684 runs at 45,60 with four centuries (100% conversion rate) and be proclaimed a master of subcontinent conditions. Likewise, the figures for Australia are slightly skewed by the presence of Shane Warne. That said, the conclusions of this article are pertinent.

  • DannoTheManno on January 20, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    @mrgupta - erm.. i know this hurts to hear but SA haven't lost a series in the Sub- continent in the last 5 years. In fact the last away series SA lost was in 2006. These stats had to go back 10 years to prove the writers point. While this doesn't take anything away from the fact that over the 10 year period it doesn't look all that good, if you look at more recent times, you'd have to conclude that SA are more than capable of holding their own in any country and in any conditions. Same cannot be said for India.. and clearly not England either..

  • BlackArcher on January 20, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    So India is a bad team since they can't win in England and Australia, but England is a good team despite doing badly in Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan..how does that work?

  • 9ST9 on January 20, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    apart from australia to some extent, none of the non sub continent teams have done well outside and same applies vice versa. The talk about flat track bullies and green track bullies is just rubbish - almost all teams struggle in alien conditions. That's part and parcel of test cricket. only truly great teams like the pre 2007ish aussies with hayden,lange,ponting,warne,mcGrath were able to excel in completely alien conditions. Is test cricket a fair sport? No. not at all thats why it is so intriguing. Like life itself it is not fair.

  • azzaman333 on January 20, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    @mrgupta; If you read the article, you would've seen that Australia has a rather impressive record in the subcontinent. All this article does is prove that the current England team is unable to adapt to Asian conditions, and once again confirms that Englishmen are completely bamboozled by spin bowling.

  • spin_king4 on January 20, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    this is why there is no undisputed number 1 in test cricket at the moment because while all teams seem to be extremly strong in their home countries, england are great at home but are yet to prove themselves away just like india before them. This is why the west indies of the 70's and 80's and the australians of the 90's and 00's where so great because they could win both home and away, as seen in these stats aus during their time of dominace won more tests than they lost in asia and most of their 5 losses came after warne, mgrath and co retired (and india were at their prime.) @mrgupta the aus team now ay not win in asia but at their prime they won in india, pakistan and sri lanka, the second 2 more regularly than in india.

  • on January 20, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    England team is always a limited team. They won't remain at the top for very long. South Africa will soon topple them. English players are far too conventional in modern day Cricket. Conventional mind sets do not work well while playing turn and bounce in Asia. The day they produce a good and consistent one day team there test performances will improve everywhere. Australia was the real number one side. Performing equally well in both forms of the game. There one day performances reflected in there fast run rate in test matches. This is something England lacked and has been lacking for years.

  • on January 20, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    thank you for "The Ashes triumphs, especially the one in Australia, was fantastic, but for any team from outside the subcontinent, the ultimate challenge is to conquer the turning conditions of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India - just as the reverse is true for the teams from the subcontinent - and that's the challenge England haven't yet won." this recently everybody was going behind india like forever just before that see india home record in odis and test from 2000 even australia have failed there even though UAE is out of sub continent the pitch is similar to that of sub continent if only a tad bit slowerhope somebody reads this @cricinfo please keep a balance see west have not conqured the sub convincingly

  • mrgupta on January 20, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    Now that's a very good article. Mostly its the fans from these countries who malign Indian, Pak and SL batsmen by saying how they cannot play on Bouncy pitches and are flat track bullies. Well these so called great teams (Aus, SA and Eng) have had pathetic record in the subcontinent. India won a test series in England in 2007, when was the last time Eng won a series in India? Australia on their last two trips were outplayed and lost 2-0 in both series. So, if we cannot play on fast and bouncy pitches then these teams can't play on turning pitches. That makes it all even.

  • on January 20, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    Sir, i guess we need some geography lessons here now!!..UAE comes in Middle East not in sub-continent :S

  • ctavare on January 20, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    No comparison... Dubai is not the sub-continent, the clay and pitch are very different from what pakistani players are used to at home (Multan, Hyderabad, Faisalabad etc have tracks that are completely different), Pakistan dont have the home crowd advantage they would have had at home.

  • Meety on January 20, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    KPs stats are quite surprising. He's a good player of spin & I would of thought he'd be the best of the bunch!

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  • Meety on January 20, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    KPs stats are quite surprising. He's a good player of spin & I would of thought he'd be the best of the bunch!

  • ctavare on January 20, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    No comparison... Dubai is not the sub-continent, the clay and pitch are very different from what pakistani players are used to at home (Multan, Hyderabad, Faisalabad etc have tracks that are completely different), Pakistan dont have the home crowd advantage they would have had at home.

  • on January 20, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    Sir, i guess we need some geography lessons here now!!..UAE comes in Middle East not in sub-continent :S

  • mrgupta on January 20, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    Now that's a very good article. Mostly its the fans from these countries who malign Indian, Pak and SL batsmen by saying how they cannot play on Bouncy pitches and are flat track bullies. Well these so called great teams (Aus, SA and Eng) have had pathetic record in the subcontinent. India won a test series in England in 2007, when was the last time Eng won a series in India? Australia on their last two trips were outplayed and lost 2-0 in both series. So, if we cannot play on fast and bouncy pitches then these teams can't play on turning pitches. That makes it all even.

  • on January 20, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    thank you for "The Ashes triumphs, especially the one in Australia, was fantastic, but for any team from outside the subcontinent, the ultimate challenge is to conquer the turning conditions of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India - just as the reverse is true for the teams from the subcontinent - and that's the challenge England haven't yet won." this recently everybody was going behind india like forever just before that see india home record in odis and test from 2000 even australia have failed there even though UAE is out of sub continent the pitch is similar to that of sub continent if only a tad bit slowerhope somebody reads this @cricinfo please keep a balance see west have not conqured the sub convincingly

  • on January 20, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    England team is always a limited team. They won't remain at the top for very long. South Africa will soon topple them. English players are far too conventional in modern day Cricket. Conventional mind sets do not work well while playing turn and bounce in Asia. The day they produce a good and consistent one day team there test performances will improve everywhere. Australia was the real number one side. Performing equally well in both forms of the game. There one day performances reflected in there fast run rate in test matches. This is something England lacked and has been lacking for years.

  • spin_king4 on January 20, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    this is why there is no undisputed number 1 in test cricket at the moment because while all teams seem to be extremly strong in their home countries, england are great at home but are yet to prove themselves away just like india before them. This is why the west indies of the 70's and 80's and the australians of the 90's and 00's where so great because they could win both home and away, as seen in these stats aus during their time of dominace won more tests than they lost in asia and most of their 5 losses came after warne, mgrath and co retired (and india were at their prime.) @mrgupta the aus team now ay not win in asia but at their prime they won in india, pakistan and sri lanka, the second 2 more regularly than in india.

  • azzaman333 on January 20, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    @mrgupta; If you read the article, you would've seen that Australia has a rather impressive record in the subcontinent. All this article does is prove that the current England team is unable to adapt to Asian conditions, and once again confirms that Englishmen are completely bamboozled by spin bowling.

  • 9ST9 on January 20, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    apart from australia to some extent, none of the non sub continent teams have done well outside and same applies vice versa. The talk about flat track bullies and green track bullies is just rubbish - almost all teams struggle in alien conditions. That's part and parcel of test cricket. only truly great teams like the pre 2007ish aussies with hayden,lange,ponting,warne,mcGrath were able to excel in completely alien conditions. Is test cricket a fair sport? No. not at all thats why it is so intriguing. Like life itself it is not fair.

  • BlackArcher on January 20, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    So India is a bad team since they can't win in England and Australia, but England is a good team despite doing badly in Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan..how does that work?