World XI that can beat subcontinental teams at home

Eshaan Joshi

Team India was back to its imperious best when the subcontinental champions took field at home again, recording convincing wins over the Windies in both the Test games. At the same time in UAE, Pakistan had Australia reeling for four days and it took a majestic effort by Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine to save the day for the Aussies. Similarly, Sri Lanka got the better of Proteas with a 2-0 result while Bangladesh outclassed the mighty Australians previous year, later drawing the series.

The subcontinent has become a track of domination, a turf more invincible than the traditional English and Australian turfs; for playing in these conditions requires a team to have good spinners and good players of spin, as well as adaptation to the hot and humid weather.

We compile a team comprising of stalwarts from different teams that can overpower the subcontinental powerhouses at home:

# Openers

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

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The elegant opener from South Africa has all the technical intricacies to succeed in the subcontinent. Amla has the ability to anchor the innings by scoring big hundreds and it is an uphill task for the bowlers to dismiss him once he gets set. The South African is a good player of spin, which has been an instrumental factor in his success on the Asian turfs.

Amla has amassed 7 hundreds in the subcontinent, with 4 of them coming in India. He was particularly spectacular against India in the tour of 2008, wherein he amassed 3 centuries in 2 matches including an unbeaten double hundred. The 35-year old also proved his mettle on viciously turning tracks with an uncharacteristic 244-ball 25 as per the need of the hour in the 2015 tour as his side's captain.

Kraigg Brathwaite (Windies)

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The vice captain of the Caribbeans, Brathwaite is one of the senior players of the present crop of players and has played red ball cricket at all the active subcontinental venues. Though he could not make much of an impact this time round, he has been a decent run scorer at the top of the order in away tours. His best performance in Asia came against Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 2016, when he carried his bat across both the innings, becoming the first opener to do so.

Brathwaite also claimed a 6-wicket haul against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval, Colombo with his off spin.

# Middle Order

Kane Williamson (c) (New Zealand)

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The Kiwi skipper completes the quadrant of the famed 'Fab Four' along with Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Steve Smith. He has enjoyed a great run against the Asian teams, having scored a century against each of the four teams. The Kiwi has a wide range of shots in his repertoire, and can execute them to perfection with his immaculate timing.

He is the perfect player at the No.3 spot to anchor the innings. His off spin adds value to his batting ability, which can prove useful when needed. Given his success as the captain of the national side, he shall assume the apex duties of this squad.

Joe Root (England)

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The English captain made his debut against India in the famous series win by the English and has gone from strength to strength since then. He has proven to be a consistent performer at the subcontinent, with a penchant for Indian grounds, having amassed 584 runs at an average of 53.09 in 6 matches. Root was the second highest run scorer and the highest for England when they toured India in 2016, with 491 runs from 5 matches.

Root is one of the few English players who are equally adept at pace and spin, and is capable of building the innings with a cautious approach. His off break bowling is an additional asset which can prove vital on turning tracks.

Jonny Bairstow (wk) (England)

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Bairstow has enjoyed a decent run on the subcontinental tracks, and has been at his best in India. The Englishman is capable of adapting to the situation and shapes his game plan accordingly. He is also capable of providing the required firepower to the innings when needed.

The 29-year old played some vital knocks for his team when they visited India back in 2016. Bairstow's excellence behind the stumps make him the perfect candidate for the glovework.

# All Rounders

Ben Stokes (England)

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Arguably the best all rounder in the world at the moment, Ben Stokes has proved his worth in the squad in a highly controversial career. He has managed to translate a fair bit of his success in the subcontinent as well.

Stokes has failed to make much of an impact with the bat in Bangladesh and UAE, but has done a decent job in India, having scored a ton in his first innings against the World No.1 side. Stokes has had his name among the wickets,having taken 24 wickets in 10 games, which is a good success rate for a part time pacer in such conditions.

Stokes was particularly spectacular in the Bangladesh tour of 2016, having picked 11 wickets in 2 games.

Moeen Ali (England)

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Moeen Ali has scripted an exponential rise in international cricket in the last few months, especially in Test cricket, with his all-round prowess. He has been key to England's chances on away tours, especially with his highly accurate off break deliveries.

Moeen Ali has been spectacular in the Asian arena with the cherry, and has embraced the opportunities with the bat in India, with a glamorous 146 being his highest score. The southpaw can provide the aggression to the innings lower down the order, and capitalise on the turning tracks of the subcontinent. He was particularly superb against Bangladesh in the 2016 tour, replicating the feat of his countryman Stokes with the ball.

#Spinner

Nathan Lyon (Australia)

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Nathan Lyon has emerged as the dominating spinner Australia had been searching for post the retirement of Shane Warne. The offie has turned out to be a game changer for the Aussies on numerous occasions, annihilating the opposition's batting line up.

Lyon can exploit the spin friendly conditions of Asia quite well for the benefit of his squad, like just another Asian bowler. He can restrict the flow of runs and can break flourishing partnerships, thereby offering better chances to his team. The 30-year old can clean up the tail quickly to avoid giving unnecessary runs.

Lyon has a terrific record to his credit against the subcontinental sides. He has a hair raising 91 wickets in 15 games that he has played against the four Asian nations. Lyon showed his capability in the second Test against Pakistan as he tore apart their middle order with his beautiful deliveries.

#Fast Bowlers

Mitchell Starc (Australia)

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The fiercest and most fear-generating bowler of this era, the left arm pacer has all the elements in his bowling to make batting a nightmare for almost any batsman and at any pitch. He has wielded influence over the subcontinental tracks as well, even with the willow.

Starc has claimed 34 wickets in 9 games against India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which speaks wonders of his ability. The left arm pacer's 24 scalps in 3 games against Sri Lanka was one of the few positives in Australia's whitewash in 2016.

The World Cup Man of the Tournament has enjoyed success with the bat in India, notching 263 runs in 4 games, including his highest Test score of 99 at Mohali in 2013.

James Anderson (England)

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Anderson, the most prolific pacer in the history of Tests has scripted glories in Asia with his stupendous bowling. A major exponent of swing bowling, James Anderson was one of the heroes in the epic series win of England on the Indian turf in 2012-13, as he emerged as the most successful pacer with 12 wickets.

The 36-year old has taken 59 wickets in 17 games in Asia, including a whopping 22 wickets in a 3-game series against Pakistan in 2015.

Trent Boult (New Zealand)

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Thunder Bolt, as he is lovingly addressed, is a vital cog in the current crop of Kiwi players and has proved his mettle in the challenging subcontinental conditions as well.

Among the Asian sides, Boult has featured the most against India and has picked up 15 wickets in 5 fixtures. He has picked up 20 wickets in the remaining 7 games against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The left arm pacer also has an unbeaten 52 to his credit, which he scored against Bangladesh.