COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. The corona-virus pandemic seems to have had a huge impact around the world and even cricket hasn’t been spared. All forms of cricket stand suspended or postponed at the moment. There’s barely any cricketing action going around the world.
Everybody seems to be taking precaution in order to prevent the spread of this virus. The world is on a work from home mode. So, in a different activity, let’s make an XI from the current crop of cricketers that work best from home and flaunt their expertise while playing on their home soil. That is– players who largely play well at home and have faltered in away conditions.
Here is the best work from home XI:
1. Rohit Sharma
Take a look at Rohit Sharma’s numbers at home in Test cricket, they are absolutely fabulous. He hasn’t been regular in the longest format for India and recently turned into an opener and that was in September last year. Since then, he has smashed three tons, including a double ton.
He had a fine run in the home season as he amassed 556 runs at an average of 92.66 as an opener across five Tests. However, Rohit’s home record, in general, is outstanding. The Mumbai batsman averages a staggering 88.33 from 20 Test innings at home. All his six Test tons have come in India and he has just five half-centuries in 33 innings away from home.
In fact, he has a massive difference of 62.01 in his home and away average. He’s scored just 716 runs in overseas conditions. There’s no doubt that Rohit is yet to get a chance at the top of the order away from home but there’s no doubt that he is a beast at home irrespective of the position he bats.
2. David Warner
David Warner is Australian cricket’s rockstar. He is someone who can take the game away from the opposition in no time and put the pressure back on the bowlers. The left-handed opening batsman has an excellent record across all three formats and has scored 43 tons in international cricket.
24 of those tons have come in Test cricket and out of these 18 have come on Australian soil. Warner is absolutely dominant at home in Test cricket. He may score runs in all conditions in white-ball cricket but has struggled to do the same in the longest format. The pocket-sized dynamo averages just 33.17 (2521 runs) away from home when compared to 65.94 (4484 runs) in Australia.
Warner has struggled big time in places like India, England and New Zealand. He averages 24.25, 26.04 and 13.00 in the three countries respectively. Hence, Warner is termed as a ‘home-track bully’ in Test cricket.
3. Aiden Markram
Aiden Markram is one player that has made Virat Kohli sit up and take notice. The Indian captain has been in awe of the South African cricketer and has expressed his joy at watching Markram bat as well. Over the last couple of years, he has been South Africa’s premier opening batsman in Test cricket.
However, there’s a stark contrast in his home and away record. The Centurion-born has played 20 Test matches out of which only four have come outside South Africa. But even in those four, he’s struggled massively. He averages a mere 10.50 away from home and just hasn’t found a way to counter the subcontinental conditions.
Meanwhile, his record at home is very good. Markram has scored 1340 runs at an average of 46.20 in South Africa. Moreover, all of his four tons and six fifties have come at home.
4. Mominul Haque
Mominul Haque is a crucial part of the Bangladesh Test side and is one of their premier Test batsmen. He has scored 2860 runs at an average of 40.85 in Test cricket. However, a large part of those have come at home. In fact, nearly 75% of his career Test runs have come in Bangladesh.
The left-handed No. 3 has got 2124 runs at an average of 57.40 at home. All of his nine Test tons have come at home as well. In fact, he has a 50-to-100 conversion rate of 56.25% in Bangladesh. But his numbers take a significant hit when Mominul plays away from home.
He averages just 22.30 from 17 away Tests and has scored just six half-centuries in due course. Mominul has often struggled to come to terms with tough batting conditions and has struggled a lot.
5. Travis Head
It was in October 2018 that Travis Head made his Test debut. He had already impressed in the shorter formats but had fallen off the radar. However, he scored a duck in the first innings on debut. But he redeemed himself in the second innings as he made a good start as his 72 helped Australia save a Test match in Dubai.
However, since then, he’s struggled in that series and didn’t get another big score. But Head has played 11 Test matches at home and averages 51.86. The left-hander has scored a couple of tons in successive home summers and in fact, he was among the better batsmen in the 1-2 series loss against India in 2018-19.
Head couldn’t really get going in England. He scored 191 runs at an average of 27.28 which consisted of just one half-century. Hence, his home-away average difference of 23.41 gets him a spot in this best work from home XI.
6. Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali is the kind of player that if he once gets going, it’s tough to stop him. He can get on a roll and have a significant impact on the game. He can contribute with the bat and slot in around No. 6 and 7 and be the fifth bowler as well. His off-spin is a big part of his game.
However, the downside of it is that he’s performed a lot better in England than in other countries. In fact, be it with the bat or ball, Ali averages much better at home. With the bat, the England all-rounder averages 35.02 at home when compared to 24.21 overseas. Barring India and England, Ali averages under 30 in all other countries.
With the ball, Ali’s wicket tally is 98 at home and strikes once every 51 balls. But away from home, the off-spinner has a strike-rate of 71.9. There’s a stark difference in his average too.
7. Shane Dowrich (wk)
Most wicket-keepers going around the world at the moment have a decent home and away record. However, Shane Dowrich has a contrasting home and away record. There’s a stark difference in his performances as well.
In the Caribbean, Dowrich has scored 893 runs at an average of 34.34. There have been quite a few instances where the West Indian wicket-keeper batsman has rescued his side from tricky situations. However, that’s largely been at home.
Dowrich’s away record is poor. He averages a mere 20.55 from 11 Test matches. He even has a ton in Zimbabwe yet he has been able to amass just 370 runs from 21 innings away from home. Hence, he will be the wicket-keeper in this best work from home XI.
8. Jason Holder
Jason Holder is one of the top all-rounders going around in Test cricket. He’s been able to make a difference with both bat and ball and has been one of the top players for West Indies in the longest format. But that’s largely been at home. Holder has been dominant at home but has been disappointing away from home.
On the batting front, the West Indies Test skipper has an average of 42.20. Out of his 1898 runs, 1266 have come on home soil. On the contrary, his away average is a dismal 20.75. He has scored just one century and a couple of fifties in 24 away innings.
With the ball, Holder’s record is brilliant at home – 67 wickets at an average of 22.46. This is in stark contrast to 25 wickets at an average of 41.44 overseas. Hence, Holder is also in the best work from home XI.
9. Yasir Shah
Test cricket returned to Pakistan after more than a decade. But UAE was their home and that’s where Yasir Shah dominated. In fact, it is his consistent performances that have contributed big time to the success of Pakistan in the UAE. He’s been the backbone of the spin department and is Pakistan’s lead spinner.
The leg-spinner has taken 116 wickets from just 17 Test matches in the UAE. He averages 24.56 there and strikes once every 51 deliveries. But his away record poor. He has 12 wickets at an average of 89.50 in Australia and one wicket at an average of 123.00 in South Africa. His record is slightly better in England and Bangladesh where he has picked up 19 wickets at an average of 40.73.
10. Umesh Yadav
There are very few fast bowlers who have a better record in India than overseas. And Umesh Yadav is one of them. He is a skiddy customer with a slightly slinging action who likes lowish bounce and loves using reverse swing to his advantage. He has the pace which can rattle the batsmen as well.
Yadav is among one of the better pacers at home for India. In fact, he is one of the top pacers when India play at home. Be it with the new ball or the old one, the Vidarbha fast bowler can be very effective. His has picked up 144 wickets in Test cricket and two-thirds of those have come at home.
He averages 24.54 and has a strike-rate of 45.7 in India. But at the same time, his average is 42.33 away from home and he also tends to leak a lot more runs. Hence, Yadav is another who loves performing at home and has struggled overseas.
11. Stuart Broad
There might be a debate as to why Stuart Broad and not James Anderson. When you look at numbers in the recent past, Broad has struggled a lot more. He has missed the Dukes and the home comforts where the ball moves around in the air and off the pitch as well.
Overall, Broad has taken 485 Test wickets but has just 160 wickets away from home. He averages 32.66 outside England. However, these numbers improve slightly since 2017 as he has taken 44 wickets from 28 innings at an average of 30.43.
Broad’s struggles are well-documented in Australia, India, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh. He averages in excess of 30 and in fact, he averages 53.90 in India and 83.00 in Sri Lanka. Hence, Broad has been a home-track bully and has been excellent in England. But he has tended to struggle when the tracks don’t offer much.
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