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Spin gathers pace with turning tracks ahead

cricket Updated: Mar 06, 2011 00:58 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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With the pitches that will feature India’s remaining league matches unlikely to excite the quick bowlers, the focus is firmly on the spin arsenal. To strike and contain after the new ball loses shine, it will be spinners that MS Dhoni will look up to.

Dhoni has a tricky selection issue to deal with in this regard. Harbhajan Singh is the only specialist spinner certain to make the 11; and a lot will depend on who Dhoni will pick between R Ashwin and Piyush Chawla when he decides to include the second one.

For Sunday's game against Ireland though, Dhoni seemed to have made up his mind. “Piyush is the one who takes the ball away and has the wrong one. And that's what we want against a side with many left-handers (like Ireland), when we already have two off-spin options (in Harbhajan and Yusuf Pathan.”

However, there is an element of risk in playing Chawla, as is the case with most leg-spinners. On his day, he can turn a match but on other days, he can be a party pooper. That’s what happened against England last Sunday when Chawla conceded 15 runs in the 49th over.

From the little one has seen of him, off-spinner Ashwin promises to be the surprise weapon. He bowls his stock ball with variations in flight and length and also possesses a well disguised doosra which turns a long way. Dhoni acknowledged the youngster’s ability, but added that he will have to wait.

In Dhoni's own words, “If there is anything for bowlers on Indian pitches, it will be some turn”. So, how the skipper juggles Chawla and Ashwin might be a key factor in determining India's fortunes in the competition.