Ishant & Ashwin’s Rise on Foreign Soil


“Tigers at home & Lambs abroad” is often a saying used whenever Indian teams in the past were touring abroad. There was just no competing in the opposition’s backyard in the past. When the century turned, so did India’s record & performances abroad. India started to record the Odd victory & started to seek much more detailed attention on foreign soil.

If we specifically focus on the last decade, team India has not only competed but also dominated proceedings from time to time during a test series. One of the biggest features to be able to do this is to have a bowling attack which can take you 20 wickets. This gives you full chances of keeping you in the game at all times. 2 of our India’s senior bowlers in the current setup ,Ishant Sharma & Ravichandran Ashwin, have experienced this up & down in their careers. However their upward career performances away from home particularly aligned with India’s upward curve in Away tours away from home.

Ishant Sharma

A teenager who broke on the swing making likes Ricky Ponting jump to his pace & bounce in Perth in 2008 will never move out of Indian cricket fans ever (probably).

These are iconic scenes to see Indian Pacer making masters of playing pace hop & jump (Perth 2008)

From then on, he has come a long way to become India’s Spearhead bowler. He faced some tough challenges on Away tours especially the 2011 English Trip. Alistair Cook took a special liking to the Indian attack during this trip. His performances away from home have superbly improved a lot since 2015. They have been well documented with help & support that he got from Aussie great Jason Gillespie.

Since 2015 Ishant’s away performances have improved massively

Ishant’s rise in England

As mentioned earlier that he had a troublesome 2011 tour where India got hammered 4-0 as well. Dhoni the captain back then couldn’t get the kind of control which he desired as his economy rate was also a problem for India. While at the other end of the spectrum, English bowling engine Anderson & Broad where firing on all cylinders. The average runs per wicket for them were ridiculously lower than India as well as lower than Par bowling average that year in England.

Ishant massive improving Record in UK

However Ishant in 2014 & certainly in 2018 returned a much improved bowler & became the strike force which India needed. He started to compete very closely with the English bowlers as the below visual will show.

Closer contest on 2014 & 2018 compared to 2011 hammering

Although the final test series scoreline may not suggest, but a closely fought series was what the spectators enjoyed in the UK when India toured. the below visual will indicate the bowling averages of both the teams during these 3 tours over the last decade.

England’s Bowling avg of 25 was closely fought in recent series in 2018

Ishant got able support from his colleagues like Shami & Bumrah. This has allowed the entire bowling group to support each other at home as well as away.

Shami needs to improve his bowling average
Impressive 2018 tour

As explained in below article that how Ishant has adapted to bowling at home as well with optimum use of Reverse swing.

Ashwin’s Rise on Foreign Soil

Ashwin has been one of India’s reliable asset when it comes to games at home. However on away tours, the role of the spinner becomes more of keeping a lid on the scoring at one end. This perspective & mindset has changed a lot in recent years.

Ashwin’s incredible rise on Foreign Soil

Ashwin in early stages of career was unable to keep a lid on the scoring & also his wickets used to come at a very expensive rate. He used to play some useful cameo’s with the bat though.

The Below Visual will show that in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand & Australia), his performances have massively improved in the last 3 to 4 years.

Since 2017, he has been picking wickets in a productive & match winning manner.

Concluding Thoughts

With the bowling group revolving around these 2 veterans & influx of youth of Siraj & Shardul, it makes India’s bowling attack a highly competitive one this time as well. Not to forget that they recently defeated Australia in Australia inspite of number of injuries. With the WTC final & the test series in UK, we can expect some great performances from this current bowling group.