England as a Test side has traditionally struggled miserably against quality spin. While the likes of Geoffrey Boycott and Mike Gatting countered spin bowling with confidence, a majority of the English batsmen seemed to be hypnotized by Asian spinners. England’s woes against spin are the main reason behind England’s terrible record in Asia.

As England embark on a tour of UAE to play three tests against Pakistan, the focus will again be on their batsmen. The last time England toured UAE, Saeed Ajmal simply made a mockery out of the English batsmen with his variations. As Ajmal and Adbur Rehman unleashed their venom, reputed names such as Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell seemed to be high school batsmen, rather than players who were representing their national side.

However, England had a turnaround when they defeated a remarkable Indian side in India barely 9 months later. Alastair Cook batted like a thorough champion and it seemed that England’s woes against spin were gone for good. However, with the form of English batsmen dipping since then, the spin factor will definitely play on their minds. The current form of Yasir Shah has been outstanding. The leg-spinner has bamboozled batsmen from almost every nation with his accuracy. That will be a major threat to England’s plans.

With England’s tour of UAE commencing in a few days, we have a look at the top 5 English batsmen in Asia.

5. Mike Gatting (1206 runs):

This English batting legend, who had a liking for the slow bowlers scored more than 1200 runs in Asia in 21 matches. Gatting was among the only three Englishmen to score a double ton in Asia. Gatting scored his runs at an average of 37.68 and had two centuries to his name.

4. Marcus Trescothick (1306 runs):

Trescothick’s elegance was spread across the Asian continent as well, as the Somerset batsman amassed 1306 runs in the continent at an average of 40.81. The elegant southpaw had three tons in Asia and his best score in Asia came against Pakistan in Multan when he played a beautiful knock of 193.

3. Ian Bell (1321 runs):

Often termed as the most stylish stroke-maker in England, Ian Bell found great success in the Asian conditions. Bell, due to great footwork often looked effortless while playing the strokes in this part of the globe. He is among those rare English batsmen to play spin effortlessly, without much of a hue or cry. Bell has 1321 runs in this continent though he would want to improve that average of 36.69 in the upcoming series against Pakistan.

2. Kevin Pietersen (1573 runs):

Pietersen was probably the only English batsman who could successfully attack spinners from the very first ball. Watching Pietersen bat in Asia made for a spectacular viewing as he seemed to be ruthless against the slower bowlers. His knock of 186 against India at the Wankhede stadium was so impactful that it changed the attitude of the entire England team. It was due to his solitary knock which gave England the much-needed boost of inspiration and momentum. Pietersen had 1573 runs in Asia, at an impressive average of 40.33, along with three centuries.

1. Alastair Cook (1802 runs):

Leading England’s run charts in Asia is once again Alastair Cook. Cook has piled up the runs in every possible condition and his statistics in Asia are no different. Cook has 1802 career runs in Asia, at a jaw-dropping average of 56.31. To have an average of 56.31 in extremely alien conditions is something for which Alastair Cook deserves the utmost respect. In late 2012, he scored 3 consecutive tons in India to blow the hosts apart with his resilient batting. As he gears up to lead England in UAE, the onus will be on him to deliver at the top and provide England with a solid start.

 

Name

Matches

Innings

Runs

Average

100’s

Highest

Alastair Cook

18

36

1802

56.31

7

190

Kevin Pietersen

22

42

1573

40.33

4

186

Ian Bell

21

40

1321

36.69

3

138

Marcus Trescothick

17

34

1306

40.81

3

193

Mike Gatting

21

36

1206

37.68

2

207

 

*Stats are updated up to 10th October 2015