In the last few years, the gap between sides who play spin well and those who don't has widened significantly. Non-Asian teams have really struggled to compete in the subcontinent whenever they have toured and even average spinners have ended up getting a rich haul of wickets.
But even in this era, there are some batsmen who possess the quality to play well in alien conditions. If we look for currently-active non-Asian batsmen who are efficient players of spin bowling, there are only a few names that come up in the mind. Let's look at the 5 best among them. These men have bucked the modern trend and achieved considerable success on dry pitches against the turning ball.
A highly under-recognised player, Tom Latham is the Test opener for New Zealand as well as a useful middle-order batsman in the ODI unit. On his very first tour of Asia – playing Pakistan in UAE – the left-hander impressed everyone by scoring back to back hundreds. He seems to have a decent defensive technique against spin which is essential to succeed in Asian conditions. He also uses the sweep shot effectively, which provides him with a useful scoring option. Overall, a good technique and sound defence have made him good on dry pitches as well.
Considering his affinity to Brian Lara, it is not surprising that Darren Bravo is good against spin. After all, the 'Prince of Trinidad' played spin as well as anyone in the world, including even Asian batsmen. What made Bravo effective is the quality that is very conspicuously absent in modern-day West Indian batsmen – picking the length of the ball and then adjusting the footwork based on that. Most batsmen from the Caribbean these days just hang on the backfoot against spinner all the time. As a result, they easily get foxed by good tweakers. Bravo, on the other hand, picks the length of the ball early and reacts to it with quick footwork. This is why he has achieved success in Asia over the years.
Joe Root has a slightly different style of batting and greater preference to stay on the backfoot compared to Bravo but he still succeeds. His strength is the ability to play the ball late and react to the turn quickly. This has seen him achieve success in India and Sri Lanka. The best shot he plays against spin is the backfoot cover drive which seems innocuous but is often good enough to take the ball to the boundary. When he is looking for quick runs, his go to shot is the slog sweep towards cow corner, usually quite effective as well.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is already counted among the greatest batsmen his country has ever produced. He has scored runs all over the world and playing well against spin is one of the many great qualities he possesses. Like Root, Williamson likes to play the ball late, both against pace and spin. When up against the turning ball, this quality of Williamson helps him adjust to the amount of spin. He is also good at using his feet which adds to the repertoire of shots he has for scoring. Overall, the Kiwi captain is a very smooth player when he is in form.
Undoubtedly the best player of spin from outside Asia, Smith has a style of tackling the tweakers which is very similar to his predecessor as Australia's captain, Michael Clarke. This involves constant use of feet and stepping out of the crease to get to the ball on the full or as close to the pitch as possible. This seems strange to batsmen from Asia who come down the wicket only when they are looking to go over the top. But it is a tactic that has proved very successful due to the agility of Smith. He hardly gets beaten on leaving the crease. This forces bowlers to bowl short and when they do that, he puts them away off the backfoot. His success in India in 2017 when he scored three hundreds in four Tests was the best effort by a batsman from outside the subcontinent in Asian conditions since Alistair Cook's great series in 2012 against India.