Grounds are getting smaller, wickets flatter, bats thicker and just to make it even tougher for the bowlers the format too has gotten shorter. While it has become ostensibly tougher for the bowlers to succeed, good bowlers nonetheless will always have their say.
But who are these 'good bowlers'? In the pre-IPL era, these were men who could simply bowl quick, for, a batsman needed a special skill set to get on top of someone bowling at 145kmph. It was widely believed that the shorter the format, the smaller the role of a spinner.
In fact, the only way a spinner could survive in this ruthless format was to bowl quick and flat, or so it was believed. But, a look at the spinners in this edition of the IPL is enough to tell you an entirely different story. Spinners, who're bowling slower in the air, are ruling the roost.
While fast bowlers are the stingy kind who hate runs being scored off them, spinners are advised to have a bigger heart as they should always be prepared to get hit. Having a heart doesn't mean you should stop thinking even when you're getting hit but to not chicken out and start bowling flatter.
You would rarely see Vettori or Warne taking a step backwards when they come under the hammer. Instead of thinking of ways to restrict the damage, they try to plot the dismissal.
SLOW DOWN THE PACE
Most young spinners don’t realise that the quicker one bowls the easier it is for the batsman, for he doesn’t have to move the feet to get to the pitch of the ball and smother the spin. The slower the delivery the tougher it is to generate power to clear the fence. Also, if you keep bowling quicker, the chances of getting turn off the surface are minimal. You must flight the ball and bowl slowly to allow the ball to grip the surface.
ATTACK THE BATSMAN
Mushtaq Ahmed told the young spinners that, “you may be a spinner but you must have the attitude of a fast bowler”. Attacking the batsman is misinterpreted as bowling quick. But for a spinner attacking means you must go slower and entice the batsman.
Bowling slowly must not be confused with giving it more air, for the trajectory can still remain flatter on most occasions. Vettori does it with consummate ease and reaps rewards. And if the batsman is rooted to the crease and is reluctant to use his feet, you can flight the ball like Warne did against Daniel Christian.
The best way to not only survive but also thrive is to keep evolving. Anil Kumble not only slowed down his pace but also added a googly to his armoury in the latter half of his career. Muralitharan added another dimension to his bowling when he started bowling a ‘doosra’.