The worst country for a touring spinner

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Will Graeme Swann turns out to be the crucial difference between Australia and England in the forthcoming Ashes series? Opinions are divided - some are sure his skills will win him battles in all conditions against all opponents, while others question the quality of some of his wickets. What's certain, though, is that he'll have to go against recent trends if he is to do well - overseas spinners and Australian conditions haven't made for a happy combination in the last several years. Here's a look at how overseas spinners have performed in each country, and just how tough it's been for even the best of them in Australia.

letís start with the stats of spinners in each country, both home and away, since 2000. As the averages column for away spinners indicates, Australia has been the worst venue for them: they've conceded almost 49 runs per wicket, which is much worse than the numbers that Australian spinners have put up. The numbers for Australia are largely the result of displays by Shane Warne and Stuart McGill - both have taken more than 100 wickets at averages of around 30. The difference between the averages for home and away spinners in Australia is almost 17, which is second only to the difference in Sri Lanka. However, both in Sri Lanka and in India, overseas slow bowlers have done marginally better than they have in Australia.

The overall averages for spinners are worse in South Africa and West Indies, but in both cases the lack of quality of the home spinners has been the biggest reason for the high averages: in both countries, the home spinners have conceded well over 40 runs per wicket, with the overseas bowlers doing significantly better.

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