5 non-subcontinent pacers who excelled in the subcontinent

Deepak Panda

Dale Steyn

The subcontinent is one of the toughest places for away teams to win a Test series. The stark contrast in the nature of pitches in the subcontinent from the ones in countries like England and Australia is one of the major factors behind that. Slow and low pitches offering plenty of spin are what the subcontinent generally provides.

Teams travelling to Asian countries for Test cricket have often been found guilty of focusing too much on the conditions rather than their strengths. They pack their side with too many spinners and more often than not finish on the losing side. And pacers are treated as commodities to be used just in the opening spells or to reduce the workload of the spinners.

However, history suggests that away teams who focused on their strengths and were not intimidated by the conditions gained better results. The West Indies of the 80s, the Australia of the early 2000s and the South Africa of the late 2000s and early 2010s proved that quality pace bowling can win you Test series in the subcontinent too.

Here, we look at 5 such non-subcontinent bowlers who excelled in the subcontinent:

#5 Sir Richard Hadlee

Sir Richard Hadlee excelled in the subcontinent with 68 wickets from 13 games

Sir Richard Hadlee, one of the finest cricketers to have ever emerged from New Zealand, has a phenomenal record with the ball in the subcontinent.

Hadlee played 13 games in the subcontinent in the period 1976-88 and picked 68 wickets, which is the fifth most by a non-subcontinent pacer in the subcontinent. With an average of 21.58, he has five 5-wicket hauls and two 10-wickets hauls to his name.

New Zealand won 3 of the 13 games that Hadlee played and he had 28 wickets to his name in those three wins at an unbelievable average of 8.32. Both of his 10-wicket hauls and three of his 5-wicket hauls came in winning causes.

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#4 Malcolm Marshall

A part of the deadly pace quartet of West Indies, Marshall has 71 wickets in Asia

An integral part of the deadly West Indies pace quartet in the 70s and 80s, Malcolm Marshall wrecked havoc even in Asian conditions. From 19 games in the period of 1978-90, Marshall picked 71 wickets at an average of 23.05, with three 5-wicket hauls to his name.

Out of the 19 games that Marshall was part of, West Indies won six. And Marshall picked 36 wickets in those matches at an astounding average of 11.72.

Two of his three 5-wicket hauls came in winning causes.

#3 Glenn McGrath

Glenn McGrath with 72 wickets in Asia has the third most wickets by a non-Asian pacer

One of the greatest pacers of all time and the second highest wicket-taking fast bowler in the history of Test cricket, Glenn McGrath was a vital cog in the wheel of the invincible Australian side in the late 90s and early 2000s.

In the period 1994-2004, McGrath played 19 games in Asia, picking 72 wickets at an average of 23.02. His solitary 5-wicket haul came in a losing cause.

Australia won seven of the 19 games that McGrath was a part of, in which the legendary pacer picked 34 wickets at an average of 14.79.

#2 Courtney Walsh

Courtney Walsh was the first bowler to pick 500 Test wickets

The lanky Caribbean speedster, who held the record for most Test wickets till Muttiah Muralitharan broke it in 2004, has the second most wickets by a non-subcontinent pacer in Asia.

In the period 1986-97, Walsh played 17 Tests in Asia and picked 77 wickets at an average of 20.53. He has five 5-wicket hauls to his name, four of which came in losing causes.

Out of the 17 games West Indies won four, in which Walsh managed to pick 21 wickets at an average of 16.04 with one 5-wicket haul.

#1 Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn was one of the major factors why South Africa succeeded in Asia

One of the greatest and most fearsome fast bowlers of all time, Dale Steyn has the most wickets as a non-Asian pacer in Asia. In the period of 2006-18, Steyn played 22 games and picked 92 wickets at an average of 24.11. He has five 5-wicket hauls to his name in addition to a solitary 10-wicket haul.

From the 22 Tests Steyn played, South Africa won seven, in which he picked 51 wickets at an average of 13.25. Four of his 5-wicket hauls and his only 10-wicket haul came in winning causes.

Steyn was one of the major reasons why South Africa did not lose a single Test series in Asia in the period 2007-15.