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They can’t pick off-spinners in Australia

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    Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. AP Photo/Aman Sharma

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    Has anyone else noticed how much opposition off-spinners struggle in Australia? I certainly have, which is why seeing Graeme Swann not bowling well over here isn’t much of a surprise.

    Cricket has seen some of the best off spinners ever in the last 20 years.

    We’ve had Muttiah Muralitharan, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Saeed Ajmal and Swann and they have all totally under performed here in Oz.

    Lets have a look at the overall stats of the five best off spinner of the last 20 years:

    Muralitharan
    Wickets: 800, average: 22.72

    Harbhajan
    Wickets: 413, average: 32.37

    Swann
    Wickets: 254, average: 29.81

    Ajmal
    Wickets: 159, average: 26.54

    Ashwin
    Wickets: 104, average: 27.47

    Now lets see their stats in Australia:

    Muralitharan
    Wickets: 12, average: 75.41

    Harbhajan
    Wickets: Nine, average: 73.22

    Swann
    Wickets: 21, average: 51.76

    Ajmal
    Wickets: two, average: 111.50

    Ashwin
    Wickets: nine, average: 62.77

    As you can see, it’s not a happy hunting ground for offies in Australia.

    This to me is clearly a trend not just coincidence. If the best off-spinners of all time can’t do it, what hope do average one’s have?

    I checked the stats for leg spinners and slow left armers and they also had worse averages in Australia compared to their career average, but not quite as bad as the off spinners.

    Spinners touring here obviously aren’t comfortable with the conditions.

    The ball doesn’t spin as much as most other countries but there is extra bounce, which they clearly are not utilising.

    Based on these stats I wouldn’t ever pick an off spinner if I were the touring side as they just don’t have an impact.

    You could argue for a selection at the SCG but that’s about it.

    Any team touring here will surely have to consider this as they are behind the eight ball without a ball being bowled when playing the off-spinner.

    India tour here next year and will probably pick Ashwin and they will most certainly lose the series here again.

    Be sure to head to the second ODI between Australia and England this Friday at the Gabba, and don't forget to be wearing your XXXX Goldie to be in with a chance to win $10k in XXXX GOLD’s crowd catch competition.

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    The Crowd Says (45)

    • Roar Pro

      December 17th 2013 @ 7:16am
      Wasim Ranamadroota said | December 17th 2013 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Maybe that is just how well Muralitharan bowled when he was trying not to chuck it? Kind of puts his 800 wickets into perspective, doesn’t it?

      • December 17th 2013 @ 8:36am
        Rob G said | December 17th 2013 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        Or all those times both he and sachin got to play teams like Bangladesh pakistan and Zimbabwe, while the number 1 in the world team Aussies weren’t allowed to slaughter those teams.

        • December 17th 2013 @ 5:40pm
          bsriharsha said | December 17th 2013 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

          India haven’t played Tests against Bangladesh/Zimbabwe and Pakistan for quite a while. Ever tried thinking whether what you type makes sense and not just type for the sake of typing.

        • December 18th 2013 @ 12:33am
          ad said | December 18th 2013 @ 12:33am | ! Report

          In what planet are Bangladesh and Zimbabwe on the same level as Pakistan?

    • December 17th 2013 @ 7:58am
      Jimbo Jones said | December 17th 2013 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Would it be more fair to compare their averages only against Australia? Ie compare how well the Australian team play each bowler away (on home conditions for the spinners) compared to in Australia (where the spinners are not used to the conditions)

      • December 17th 2013 @ 9:19am
        Gr8rWeStr said | December 17th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        Stats v Australian outside Australia:

        Muralitharan
        Wickets: 47, average: 26.02
        Harbhajan
        Wickets: 86, average: 25.43
        Swann
        Wickets: 40, average: 33.05
        Ajmal
        Wickets: -, average: –
        Ashwin
        Wickets: 29, average: 20.10

      • December 17th 2013 @ 12:16pm
        jameswm said | December 17th 2013 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        More fair? It’s just a different comparison, and proves the author’s point.

        Strange comment.

    • Roar Guru

      December 17th 2013 @ 8:07am
      Atawhai Drive said | December 17th 2013 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      One English offie who defied the general trend to a degree was John Emburey in 1986-87. He got 18 wickets in that Ashes series, the most by any English bowler, although they came at an average of 36.83 runs. Phil Edmonds, bowling left-hand finger spin, got 15 at 35.86.

      Going further back, Jim Laker arrived in Australia in 1958-59 with his staggering 1956 accomplishments still fresh in the memory _ 46 wickets at 9.60, including the famous 19 for 90 in the Old Trafford Test. He was the best English bowler in 1958-59 with 15 wickets in the five Tests at 21.20, but not the lethal force he had been in England.

      • December 17th 2013 @ 4:43pm
        Armchair Expert said | December 17th 2013 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

        Don’t forget English off spinner Peter Such’s 11 wickets @29.36 in 2 tests in Australia.

    • Roar Guru

      December 17th 2013 @ 8:27am
      Rabbitz said | December 17th 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      With the prevalence of “Cricket Board” pitches (aka Bean Counter pitches) in Australia over the last few years is it any wonder?

      Dead, flat, batsmen friendly pitches hardly auger well for any bowler and are even worse for offies.

      But we MUST have five day Tests, so flat boring pitches was the decree.

      • Roar Guru

        December 17th 2013 @ 10:02am
        Tony Loedi said | December 17th 2013 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        Nathan Lyon’s record in Australia is the same as away, so I think it’s just being familiar with the conditions

        • December 17th 2013 @ 3:56pm
          Armchair Expert said | December 17th 2013 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

          Correct Tony, and Lyon’s shield bowling average of 47.9 also supports the Australian batsmen’s familiarity with the conditions when playing him.

        • December 18th 2013 @ 12:14pm
          ES said | December 18th 2013 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          Very few right handed batsmen get bowled through the gate in Australia. Lyon bowls with a lot more overspin and looks to beat players with drift and bounce, rather than ‘traditional’ off-spinner wickets.

    • December 17th 2013 @ 8:56am
      formeropenside said | December 17th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      How do left arm finger spinners go – I’d assume much the same.

      Tufnell, Edmonds, Vettori, Ravi Shastri?

      • December 17th 2013 @ 9:33am
        Gr8rWeStr said | December 17th 2013 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        Tufnell
        Career – Wickets: 121, average: 37.68
        In Aus – Wickets: 19, average: 41.42
        Edmonds
        Career – Wickets: 125, average: 34.18
        In Aus – Wickets: 15, average: 37.66
        Vettori
        Career – Wickets: 360, average: 34.42
        In Aus – Wickets: 37, average: 40.18
        Shastri
        Career – Wickets: 151, average: 40.96
        In Aus – Wickets: 19, average: 26.31

        • December 17th 2013 @ 5:09pm
          Armchair Expert said | December 17th 2013 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

          Herath: career 200w@29.52, in Aust 12@33.91

          • Roar Guru

            December 18th 2013 @ 9:23am
            Tony Loedi said | December 18th 2013 @ 9:23am | ! Report

            Yeah left armers seem to do better over here although Panesar has struggled

      • Roar Guru

        December 17th 2013 @ 10:29am
        Tony Loedi said | December 17th 2013 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        Yeah they seem to bowl a lot better than the offies and so do leg spinners – Although their record still isn’t as good in Australia

    • Roar Guru

      December 17th 2013 @ 9:19am
      Rob na Champassak said | December 17th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      The last time England toured, it was Graeme Swann who bowled them to victory at Adelaide for a 1-0 series lead. He might have averaged 39 for the series, but so what? He did his job.

      It’s better to pick a good offspinner than a crappy wristspinner, as England found out when they stopped selecting Ashley Giles.

      • December 17th 2013 @ 9:47am
        Matt F said | December 17th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Giles wasn’t a wristspinner

        • December 17th 2013 @ 11:00pm
          DubbleBubble said | December 17th 2013 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

          Yes, but he was the King of Spain.

          • Roar Guru

            December 18th 2013 @ 9:24am
            Tony Loedi said | December 18th 2013 @ 9:24am | ! Report

            Yeah, I reckon he was closer to be being the King of Spain than the King of Spin

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