India versus Pakistan Test Pace Attacks
September 29 2018
Pakistani fans and media naturally think their fast bowling is better than India's, but what is surprising is that even Indian media seem to think that is the case. But is that really so? In this piece I do a comparison and reach the conclusion that this is a myth colored by the historic imbalance between the pace attacks of the two sides, but not based on current statistics and performance.
Here are the Raw numbers in Tests:
Hasan Ali: 12 wickets @ 30 SR of 63
Junaid Khan 71 wickets @ 32 SR of 65
Mohd. Abbas 42 wickets @ 18 SR of 43
Mohd. Aamir 107 wickets @ 31 SR of 65
Rahat Ali 58 wickets @ 39 SR of 73
Wahab Riaz 83 wickets @ 34 SR of 59
J. Bumrah 28 wickets @ 26 SR of 53
B. Kumar 63 wickets @ 26 SR of 53
Mohd. Shami 126 wickets @ 30 SR of 53
H. Pandya 17 wickets @ 31 SR of 55
I. Sharma 256 wickets @ 35 SR of 65
U. Yadav 106 wickets @ 35 SR of 58
All Indian pacers except Ishant have strike rates under 60, while all Pakistani quicks have strike rates over 60 except for Mohd. Abbas and Wahab Riaz. However, Ishant's strike rate is skewed by playing under the defensive captaincy of M.S. Dhoni. If you look at his numbers after the start of the Virat Kohli era he has 69 wickets @ 28 with a SR of 59.
The one stand out Pakistani pacer is not the much ballyhooed Mohammad Amir, but the Philanderesque Mohammad Abbas. He is not very pacy, but can move the ball both ways at a decent clip and is very accurate with line and length. Having played so many of his early Tests in seam friendly English/Irish conditions and against Zimbabwe has burnished his numbers, but he is a real gem for the Pakistanis.
However, India with a sextet of Pacers all taking wickets at under 10 overs per, currently has a Test fast bowling attack significantly superior to Pakistan's and that is one of the reasons why India is ranked No. 1 in Tests, while Pakistan is ranked 7.
What is also heartening is that India have a long list of fast bowlers waiting in the wings including two U19s, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who were the fastest bowlers in the recently concluded U-19 World Cup held in New Zealand. The cliche about Pakistan producing fast bowlers seemly on an assembly line, now seems to be also true for India.
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While Bumrah, Bhuvi, Shami and Umesh's career strike rates are much better than his
Indian pacers can win India many tests if batsmen back them up in overseas conditions. I am hopeful of a series win in Australia this time.