India’s fast bowlers have been rampant in Tests matches in 2019. They were all over West Indies in the two away Tests before impressively getting the better of South Africa and Bangladesh at home. However, 2020 will present a tougher challenge to the Indian pacers as the team will be playing two away Tests in New Zealand, four Down Under, and five at home against England. In the wake of the same, here’s a look at five batsmen who can stand up to Indian pace bowlers in the World Test Championship.
1. David Warner
Even as this piece is being written, David Warner has created history, registering the highest individual score in a Day-Night Test, with his unbeaten 335 against Pakistan at Adelaide on Saturday. While Warner struggles in India, he has excellent success against the same team at home, as he loves the ball coming on to the bat. In eight Tests against India at home, Warner has 693 runs to his name with four hundreds at an average of 49.50 and a best of 180. On current form, even India’s in-form pacers could find things difficult against him.
2. Steve Smith
The former Aussie skipper Steve Smith may have amassed 774 runs in the Ashes against England. However, his love for the Indian bowling attack is no secret, irrespective of the venue. Of course, India’s fast bowling has improved tremendously since the last time Smith played a Test against India. So, it would be intriguing to see how the battle pans out Down Under. For the record, in four Tests at home against India Smith has a total of 769 runs at a stupendous average of 128.16 with four hundreds at a best of 192.
3. Kane Williamson
India’s first assignment in the New Year will be the two-Test series in New Zealand. India have traditionally struggled in the country. This time though there will be lots of hopes from Virat Kohli and co. Conditions in New Zealand should aid India’s pace attack, but Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson possesses the game to stand up to any challenge. His tussle with India’s fast bowlers could be an intriguing aspect of the series. Till date, Williamson has featured in two Tests against India at home, and has 170 runs to his name at 42.50 with one hundred, his best of 113.
4. BJ Watling
The underrated New Zealand wicket-keeper, who recently created history by becoming the first keeper-batsman from his country to notch up a double hundred, BJ Watling might also prove a thorn to India’s fast bowlers. His ability to drain down opponents with his enduring occupation of the crease is known to all in cricketing circles by now. In two Tests against India at home, Watling has scored 136 runs at an average of 34. His 124 at Wellington in 2014 came off 367 balls, and he occupied the crease for over 500 minutes. It was the kind of effort typical of Watling’s fighting abilities.
5. Ben Stokes
While England were the last team to beat India in India (in 2012), Kohli’s men are expected to get the better of their English rivals when the teams clash in a five-Test series early next year. England no longer have great batsmen like Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen in their ranks. Joe Root too has fallen apart in recent years, and England’s batting woes are evident in New Zealand presently. As such, their talisman Ben Stokes will be expected to stand up to the ferocious Indian attack, just like he has been doing in most Tests of late. Stokes average 38.33 in five Tests in India with a best of 128 at Rajkot. However, he is a completely changed player since England’s last visit to India in 2016, and will be raring to have a go at India’s fast bowlers.