At the inception of the Twenty20, and then IPL, everyone was extremely worried about our tribe and whether spin bowling would be able to weather the onslaught. The worry was that, in this bang-bang format with heavy bats, flat pitches and shorter boundaries, spinners would be taken to the cleaners. Today, I can proudly say that our community has not only flourished in this format but also become an integral part of success.
In fact, a stage has come where no captain can imagine an 11 without a few spinners in the line-up. Such is the need now that, more often than not, the new ball is thrown at spinners rather than at fast bowlers. This exception of starting with spinners is becoming a norm.
Slow is potent
So, what makes spinners such a potent weapon when the conditions and format are contrary to their style? Often we hear that cricket is a batsmen's game and to some extent, it's true as spectators want to witness fours and sixes. But bowlers are the ones who would help you get on the right side of the result.
On the other hand, the tactic to force batsmen to commit mistakes is a key part of spin bowling. Smart spinners use their trajectory and loop and vary their speed and length to spin a web around batsmen. A batsman has to find the right mix of strength and timing to get good results.
A minor error in judgement and a slight delay in the timing can result in disaster.
Having said that, a challenge is never easy; there is very little margin for error. A little wavering in line and length is dealt with severely. But the idea is to remain focussed and work on your strengths.
Despite being a spinner, you have to have an attacking mindset, which keeps ticking all the time. At times, it throws various kinds of challenges at you as a bowler.
You have to be ready with alternative plans. Every batsman has some pressure-releasing shots, and you have to make sure you stop him from playing them. At the same time, you have to make him play those shots when his team is not under pressure to induce an error. All in all, spinners have made their own niche in this game and all doubts about this art are lying in peace.