The past week has seen two test match’s taken place in Asia and some excellent value in the Top Bowler markets. In a case of the bookmakers looking at the recent results of the bowlers on view as opposed the pitch and conditions that they will be faced with. The West Indies have come off the back of four test matches at home to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the series saw the long-awaited emergence of Shannon Gabriel as a bowler of real quality at the highest level. Bowling on wickets with plenty of pace and movement for the quicker bowlers, Gabriel recorded superb figures taking a brilliant 24 wickets from the four test matches played – including an amazing performance of the 13 wickets in the first test match against Sri Lanka.
In the same two series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo did not take a single wicket and in one of the match’s bowled just two overs in the entire test of one match. The result of which saw the bookmakers price up Gabriel as a strong favourite at odds of 3.50 with Bishoo an outsider at 5.00 in small field for the top wicket taker for the West Indies. These prices were based on the recent history where Gabriel was rampant with 24 wickets to the West Indies spinners 0. What they failed to consider were the conditions for those match’s and the conditions for the first test against India in Rajkot.
In the recent series Garbriel had perfect conditions to exploit with plenty of assistance for quick bowling and two fragile batting line ups from Asia totally unused and ill-equipped to deal with such bowling on such surfaces. Where Bishoo was hardly needed to bowl such was the dominance of the quicker bowlers and when he did get to the bowling crease was offered no help on wickets tailored made for WIs faster men.
The first test against India in India was a certainty to be a complete flip of the conditions in the West Indies and the roles of the two bowlers likely to be completely reversed in terms of which one the pitch would favour but also which one of the two was likely to the vast majority of the bowling with Bishoo the only spinner in the side on a turning wicket and bowling a colossal 54 overs in the first innings which was an entire 33 overs more than Gabriel and won the market 4 wickets to Gabriels single victim.
A similar occurrence took place in the same test with Ravi Ashwin being offered at a very generous 4.00 despite having an incredible record pre-match of 225 wickets in India at under 22 runs per victim. This was again a case of India’s pace men bowling excellently in the preceding series in England in helpful conditions and drifting Ashwin nicely in price despite the pitch conditions in India being as far removed from England as you can get. He responded by taking the market with taking 4 wickets from just 11 overs to win another top bowler market on home soil proving that the pitch and conditions are just as important if not more that recent form or records when making a selection especially in the extreme conditions of Asia.
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