Indian bowlers in South Africa have struggled to adapt to the conditions on offer over the years. A few fast bowlers of the past got swayed with the fast and bouncy tracks on offer while the spinners get absolutely no assistance from the pitches. The most successful Indian bowler in South Africa interestingly has been Anil Kumble. The leg spinner loved the extra bounce he extracted from the pitches. Apart from Jumbo, four other bowlers enjoyed their time against the Proteas in their home conditions as well.
Here are the top five Indian wicket-takers in Test cricket in South Africa.
ANIL KUMBLE (45 Wickets)
Anil Kumble leads the charts when it comes to wickets taken in South Africa. The leg spinner in 12 matches picked up 45 wickets at an average of 32.02. Amongst the Indian spinners, Kumble has the best overall figures in Test matches in South Africa. It is safe to say that he enjoyed the bounce and the pace he got in those conditions. Most of the dismissals were off the slider and he was also a master of wrapping up the opposition tail. He has a five-wicket haul to his name as well in South Africa and was a match-winner on any given conditions.
JAVAGAL SRINATH (43 Wickets)
Another Karnataka bowler who make it to this list is Javagal Srinath. His first tour of South Africa was back in 1992 when he was one of India’s fastest and fiercest bowlers. Srinath played just eight games in South Africa and troubled every batter in those conditions. He picked up 43 wickets at an outstanding average of 25.27 which included three five-wicket hauls.
ZAHEER KHAN (30 Wickets)
One of India’s most successful fast bowlers, Zaheer Khan had to make this list. The left-arm pacer had his first taste of Test cricket in South Africa back in 2001 with his last game in 2013. Zaheer’s stats in South Africa aren’t overly impressive. He picked up 30 wickets at a modest average of 35.60. Out of these 30, surely half of them have got to be Graeme Smith who was Zaheer’s bunny for the majority of his career.
SREESANTH (27 Wickets)
Sreesanth’s name is one of the surprising ones on this list, but such was his impact on the team from 2006 to 2011. Sreesanth played six Tests in South Africa and picked up 27 wickets at an impressive average of 28.55. But it wasn’t his bowling but a moment with the bat that makes the highlight reel every time India tour South Africa. His celebration after smashing Andre Nel for a six is a memory that has remained with Indian cricket fans.
MOHAMMED SHAMI (21 Wickets)
The only man on this list who can add to his wicket tally in South Africa is Mohammed Shami. The Indian pacer has enjoyed his time in South Africa so far in his career. He has had two tours of South Africa previously and in just five matches has picked up 21 wickets. In the last match India played in South Africa, Shami picked up a five-wicket haul to set up a famous Test win for his side. He would be looking forward to bowling yet again on those tracks where he has some happy memories.
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