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From Warne’s struggles against India to Amarnath’s woes at home – Eight legends with gaping holes in their Test career

Sarah Waris by Sarah Waris
@swaris16 5 minute read

Even the all-time great cricketers were not without their flaws. Here is a list of cricketers with a few gaping holes in their careers.

They have not been able to go through entire careers without blemishes – though that never prevented them from reaching the pinnacle of their careers.

Here are eight players who ended their careers with less-than-desired Test records in specific countries.


Shane Warne against India

14 Tests, 43 wickets @ 47.18

Arguably the greatest spinner to have played the game, Warne had a subpar record across 14 Test matches against India. His 43 wickets came at an average of 47.18 and a strike rate of 91. The fact that he neither averaged above 30 nor had a strike rate exceeding 65 against any other country indicates his continuous struggles against the team.

Warne averaged 43.11 in India, a country that traditionally aids the slower bowlers, his worst performance anywhere. It is in line with several Australian legends with dismal records in India.

Rahul Dravid in South Africa

14 Tests, 624 runs @ 29.71

Dravid averaged 29.71 in South Africa. Of all visiting cricketers to have batted 20 times in the country in the last hundred years, only Daren Ganga (15.70) and Anil Kumble (10.44) have fared worse, and Kumble is far from being a specialist batter.

It is telling for a batter who averaged above 40 in eight of the ten countries that he visited. Dravid averaged 41.64 in Australia and above 60 in England, along with 65.69 in the West Indies and 63.83 in New Zealand. Though he scored a hundred and two fifties in South Africa, he managed less than 20 on 12 occasions, which affected his overall average.

Garry Sobers in New Zealand

7 Tests, 151 runs @ 15.10

Sobers ended with a batting average of 57.78, scoring 8,032 runs in 93 Tests, and was an exceptional traveller. Among countries where he played at least five games, he averaged over 45 in all but one – New Zealand. It was also the only country where he did not score a single fifty. What makes this statistic even more remarkable is that New Zealand were, during Sobers’ career, the weakest side in the world.

Sober’s highest score was 39 in New Zealand, with scores of 27, 25, 27, 1, 1, 11, 0, 20, 39 and 0. Overall, he did not have the best success rate against New Zealand with the bat, averaging 23.76. His second-worst average among all nations was 43.14, against Australia.

Ricky Ponting in India

14 Tests, 662 runs @ 26.48

Ponting was a constant thorn in the flesh for all rivals around the world, but the Indians had some respite when he came touring. The former Australia skipper ended with an average of 52; away from home, he averaged an impressive 45.81.

However, his showings in India left much to be desired. Though he did cross 50 six times, including 123 in 2008 in Bengaluru, his struggles in his initial days were apparent. Ponting had one fifty in his first 14 innings in India, including three ducks, averaging 12.28 on his first four tours. He ended with four fifties in seven innings, but his overall average makes for poor reading.

Muttiah Muralitharan in Australia

5 Tests, 12 wickets @ 75.41

Mutralitharan’s Test tours to Australia made bigger news for the ‘chucking’ accusations, which first started in 1995 when Darrell Hair called him seven times for illegal action during the Boxing Day Test. He was once again called for suspicious action in 1998, although during an ODI. In 2004, his doosra came under the scanner during the second Test match in Adelaide when match referee Chris Broad.

Over 12 years, Murali played only five Tests in Australia, but with limited success. He did not average worse in any other country, and his strike rate of 131 indicates how he struggled for his wickets. Australia is also the only nation where he does not have a five-for, perhaps with the psychological effect of the immense scrutiny on his action playing a role in his limited returns.

Steve Waugh in Sri Lanka

4 Tests, 83 runs @ 16.60

Waugh averaged a stunning 129.8 against Sri Lanka at home, making three hundreds and three fifties in eight innings, but had a drastic drop away. He batted five times in the nation, of which two were against Pakistan, making 19, 19, 14 before ending with 31 and 0 in 2002. He visited the island twice, in 1999 and 2002. During the first of these, he had a horrific on-field clash with Jason Gillespie.

It was, thus, not the opposition but the venue that proved to be a hindrance.

Mohinder Amarnath in India

32 Tests, 1,370 runs @ 30.44

Amarnath was vastly inconsistent in India, making him one of the few players who had a significantly better record away from home. He averaged 51.86 away from home, with nine hundreds and 17 fifties in 63 innings, which fell to 30.44 in India. He made only two hundreds on home soil with seven fifties – but he made nine ducks.

Nothing summed this up more than his record in 1983, when he made nine ducks, including five in six innings and made only 12 runs in eight innings at home. Contrast this to his performances abroad the same year, where he averaged 71 in 16 innings with 11 fifty-plus scores, crossing a thousand Test runs by May.

Dennis Lillee in Asia

4 matches, 6 wickets @ 68.33

One of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, Lillee retired with 355 wickets, at that point the most in the world. However, most of his successes were limited to England and Australia, and he played only 26 games away from home in his 70-match-long career.

Only four of those were in Asia, including three in Pakistan and one in Sri Lanka. Hit by Kerry Packer’s World Series, Australia sent a second-string side the only time they toured India during Lillee’s career, and he was not part of it. He grabbed only six wickets in Asia, and ended with a strike rate if 132, making it the only blemish in an otherwise glorious career.

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