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Khurram Habib, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 01, 2012
With India keeping their spin attack intact for the third Test, despite a poor show against England on the Mumbai turner, there has been talk of dearth of spinners, especially those who can make the ball rip.

Former spinners have lamented the lack of quality slow bowlers in the domestic circuit.

However, former India spinner and selector Narender Hirwani floated an idea that was recently lapped up by the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA).

Hirwani wanted pitches made of polished Kota stone (a fine-grained variety of limestone) to train spinners. "I used to train on cemented tracks. On surfaces made of cement and Kota stone, the ball doesn't turn. The bowler has to work hard and use his fingers and body. That's how they'll learn to turn it on placid tracks and give the ball some rip. Normally, many of them bag wickets on turners in friendly conditions and struggle later," says the former spinner.

"Cemented tracks break after some time. Polished Kota stone is more difficult to bowl on and lasts much longer," he says.

While Hirwani's home association, the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, and also the BCCI didn't show much enthusiasm, the VCA started implementing the idea three-four months back.

The track will be ready for use officially within a week or so after the grass on the run up comes up.

Pritam Gandhe, director of the VCA cricket academy, said, "We have polished it and made it as smooth as a mirror. We bowled on it and it was hard work. The boys will find it really tough to bowl on it."

Gandhe had played 100 first-class games for Vidarbha as an off-spinner. "We have set this track on a trial basis. If it helps, we'll build more of them."

The project cost the VCA around Rs. 70000.