Despite considerable doubts over their chances to succeed in the T20 format, the spinners, led by mercurial Shane Warne, more than justified their presence in the inaugural edition of the IPL.
The slam-bang format leaves the tweakers with little chances to survive, let alone excel, what with boundaries shrunk in by about a good 10 to 15 yards, wickets shorn of any possible help, and the willow wielders let loose upon them without any sense of restraint or respect for them.
Nevertheless, the spinners, to their credit, did enough to convince one and all that they belonged here. But with the league relocated to South Africa this year, they are in for another ordeal.
With all other things remaining equal, the weather and wickets in South Africa will put them under more pressure and scrutiny. The Indian wickets, no matter how batsmen friendly, will always offer some help to the spinners in hot weather conditions. South Africa, in contrast, will be heading into the winters, and hence will have wickets offering little help to spinners, and quite a lot to quick seam bowlers.
"Yes, it's going to be a huge challenge for us to perform in those conditions. It's always tough for the spinners to give their best outside the Indian sub-continent. We will need to prepare ourselves mentally and adapt at the earliest," said left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who plied his trade rather successfully for Deccan Chargers in the inaugural edition of the IPL.
So what does he and others of his ilk need to do to hold their own in not-so-favourable South African conditions. "I think we need to have some practice ahead of the tournament to get the hang of the conditions and then adapt at the earliest. That should take care of our unfamiliarity with the conditions," said Ojha.
But will they take a leaf out of Harbhajan's book to bowl flat and quick, mixing in some yorkers, as the offie did in 2007 World Cup to come out trumps? “Everyone has a different style, and a lot depends on the batsmen you are bowling at,” said Ojha.