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Underwood to Nathan Lyon: Most Successful Overseas Spinners in India

Touring India for a cricket series can be a daunting task for any team in world cricket. The conditions are alien for overseas players both with the climate as well the pitches. The focus immediately shifts to overseas spinners and more often than not they crumble under pressure. But not all overseas spinners have struggled in Indian conditions, bowlers like Derick Underwood or more recently Nathan Lyon have tasted success in conditions that suit spin bowling.

In this piece, we’re looking at the top five overseas spinners who have tormented the Indian batters in their own backyard.  

 

DEREK UNDERWOOD (England)

Slow left-arm spinner from England, Derek ‘Deadly’ Underwood still holds the record of most wickets by an overseas spinner in Indian conditions. Underwood played 16 matches in India and picked up 54 wickets in those matches. He first toured India during the 1972 season and his last was almost a decade away in 1982. He had a decent average of 26.51 and picked up one five-wicket haul in those 16 games.

 

RICHIE BENAUD (Australia)

The voice of cricket, Richie Benaud was an impressive leg-spinner during his time with Australia. People forget Benaud’s time as a cricketer given how successful he was as a broadcaster but the former Australian captain was one of the few spinners who enjoyed playing in India. He played just 8 matches in Indian conditions and got the better of the Indian batters 52 times. His average of 18.38 is by far the best amongst overseas spinners. In those eight games, Benaud picked up five five-wicket hauls.

 

MUTTIAH MURALIDHARAN (Sri Lanka)

The man with the most Test wickets naturally had to make this list as well. Sri Lanka’s Magical Murali had a good time on Indian pitches. He struggled in the early years of his career but soon when he developed all his variations he was almost unplayable. In 11 matches, Murali picked up 40 wickets, which included two five-wicket hauls as well.

 

LANCE GIBBS (West Indies)

One of the oldest living Test cricketers, Lance Gibbs, the West Indian off-spinner, was a force to be reckoned with in Indian conditions. Gibbs played just nine games in Indian conditions and picked up 39 wickets in those games. Gibbs had a mean arm-ball that was difficult for batters to pick on in conditions where the ball was turning square. He still remains the fourth-highest overseas spinner in Indian conditions.

 

NATHAN LYON (Australia)

The only bowler who has made this list from the modern era is Australia’s off-spinner Nathan Lyon. He has played seven matches in India and has already delivered some match-winning performances. Lyon has picked up 34 wickets so far in India and is the fifth-highest wicket-taker by an overseas spinner in Indian conditions.

Read: Things India Can Expect From Rahul Dravid as the Head Coach

 

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