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Where have all the spinners gone?

cricket Updated: Nov 24, 2009 00:21 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
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Nowadays, there is no shortage of quicks. If anything, they have gone too far the other way. In the land of Bedi, Chandrashekhar and Anil Kumble, they are starting to wonder where the next bunch of spinners will come from — Shane Warne, in his book ‘Shane Warne’s Century’.

Statistics tell us a lot. If you have been following this year’s Ranji season, you’d come across a trend that endorses Shane Warne’s observation — there is a dearth of spinners.

Amongst the top 36 wicket-takers in the Super League, there are just nine spinners and, more significantly, the list includes just one leg-spinner, Piyush Chawla, placed at the lowly 30th spot.

While there’s a battery of young left-arm spinners, there’s no leg-spin option other than Piyush Chawla. So your hope to see another Anil Kumble might go for a six unless Chawla or Amit Mishra raise their game.

Bishen Singh Bedi, who bowled left-arm spin with great success in the 1970s, believes that spinners shouldn’t be allowed to play T20s, or at least the number of games they play should be restricted. “T20 and limited-overs cricket teaches you to bowl a restrictive line, which won’t help in the longer version. They need to tempt the batsmen.”

Chawla is more of an all-rounder for Uttar Pradesh, and, with a lot at stake in the Indian Premier League, he will be ill-advised to ignore his batting and concentrate on bowling alone.

In the plate division, where the competition is mediocre, Sairaj Bahutule, placed at the 11th spot, is the only leg-spinner worth a mention, but his best years are behind him. He is already 37.

And who do we have as back-up for off-spinner Harbhajan Singh? Sourashish Lahiri, 28, is the highest-ranked spinner at 5th spot, while Sarandeep, 30, and with a suspect action lies at no.11. R Ashwin, 23, at no.19, seems to be the only one for the future.

Clearly, we lack options to keep our lead spinners on toes?