Greatest players against spin bowling
For a batsman, there are many arts that he or she must conquer in order to become one of the best of their generation. Spin bowling is one of those arts. The best players of spin bowling in the past have included the likes of Younus Khan, VVS Laxman and Brian Lara.
Each with different techniques but each very effective in their own way. There is no correct way to play spin. Methods often change depending on where one is playing. In SENA countries, (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia), the ball does not deviate a huge amount. In Asia, there is a lot more turn and so batsmen have to be careful.
In the current generation we are blessed with some top players. But, who are the best players of spin bowling from each country?
The Indian team has long been touted as the best players of spin bowling. This may have been the case in yesteryear’s but the recent crop of players have not always been as dominant.
The likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are both excellent players of spin bowling. Rohit is probably more aggressive than Kohli in terms of putting the spinner on the back foot, while Kohli is the master of running between the wickets and putting the bowler on the back foot.
Joe Root is comfortably the best English player of spin bowling. This is due to his judgement of length. He is immaculate in going back to short-pitched deliveries and smothering the spin when the ball is pitched up. His 228 in Galle against Sri Lanka in 2021 January was a superb innings. Root put on a masterclass against the Sri Lankan spin bowlers by sweeping them to all parts of the ground.
In recent times the likes of Ben Foakes, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes have all proved themselves to be adequate players of spin bowling as well. Foakes was named man of the series in Sri Lanka in 2018 for his wicket keeping and playing of spin.
The retirements of Amla, Kallis, Smith and De Villiers has left South Africa without any great players of spin bowling. All four were master players of the art.
Dean Elgar, as an opener, has probably the most respectable record against spin, especially in the subcontinent. He has scored test centuries in both India and Sri Lanka against some top quality attacks and also averages over 40 in Pakistan.
Aiden Markram has played spin really well in South Africa – he averages nearly 57 at home against spin. In recent times, he has found a formula to play spin better in the subcontinent.
Australia are heavily reliant on Steve Smith to score big runs against spin both at home and away. He has a similar technique to Michael Clarke, in which he tries to put the spin bowler off his lengths. His unorthodox technique has yielded him runs all over the globe.
Steve Smith averages 60 in India and over 40 in both Sri Lanka and the UAE in test cricket.
While Pakistan haven’t got any stand out players against spin bowling, the likes of Babar Azam and Azhar Ali are both extremely good. Azhar Ali has excellent records in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the UAE.
Babar Azam is a more striking player against spin, with his nonchalant cover drives and beautiful wrist work.
Sri Lanka have struggled at home against spin in recent years but they still have some great players of spin, including the likes of Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne.
Mathews has excellent footwork against spin and like Joe Root from England, he is very concise in his movements. Karunaratne has done really well in recent times as an opening batsman.
New Zealand have competed well in the subcontinent and in general played spin really well both home and away. Their last two trips to Sri Lanka and the UAE have yielded a drawn series and a won series.
Tom Latham is a great opening batsman against spin, in comparison to his attributes against pace. Kane Williamson is the best batsman that New Zealand have playing against spin bowling. He has a terrific defence and like Kohli can nudge the ball to different areas to rotate strike.
The likes of BJ Watling have also done well due to his gritty nature and temperament.
The West Indies probably don’t have a great test batting line-up. In terms of playing spin bowling, there is little competition. Darren Bravo is easily their best player.
Darren Bravo has done well for the West Indies in the past, especially in Asia. He averages over 50 in India, Sri Lanka and 45 in the UAE but hasn’t played many games recently. He has a similar swagger and flair to his fellow Trinidadian Brian Lara.
We hope that answers your question on who are the best players of spin bowling from each country!
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