Power-hitters and pace-bowling all-rounders again gear up to hog the limelight as the 10th Indian Premier League (IPL) gets rolling, but spinners are confident they can get the job done quietly. (IPL Opening ceremony live updates)
Team managements and skippers often use slow bowlers to plug the runs mid-innings, but Amit Mishra, the most successful IPL spinner, and its second highest wicket-taker, believes the best tactic is to go for wickets.
It may not be in the hands of spinners. For one, the pitches will be far removed from the rank turners India sometimes roll out for Test matches, the boundary rope is pulled in and batsmen are armed with heavy bats and innovative shots.
Delhi Daredevils, for instance, is focused on pace. Former India spearhead, Zaheer Khan, is the skipper with Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada and Mohammed Shami forming a formidable pace unit. (Sunrisers vs RCB live scorecard)
Their spin pack though is entirely home-bred -- Mishra, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, off-spinner Jayant Yadav and young leggie, Murugan Ashwin.
“You can see we have a variety of spinners, they are all wicket takers,” Mishra, the senior-most among the tweakers, told a pre-season Daredevils news conference. “If you take wickets in T20, you can put pressure on the opposition. We all think that way. We are not thinking about hamein time pass bowlers chahiye, aise chaar over dalke nikal jaye (we need bowlers to kill time and somehow get through the four overs).
“Whoever plays, we will go for wickets. You can see with the fast bowlers also, they are all wicket-takers.”
MISHRA’S IPL HATTRICKS
Mishra, 34, was the joint second-most successful spinner in 2016 with left-arm Axar Patel (13 each). The leading spinner was RCB leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, with 21 wickets.
Three hattricks attest to Mishra’s wicket-taking credentials in the IPL. And the seasoned bowler said plans were in place to give a good start to Daredevils, who along with RCB and Kings XI Punjab have not won the IPL.
The leg spinner will run into the dangerous Chris Gayle and Shane Watson first up, as Delhi Daredevils take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
However, Mishra said rather than established stars, the newcomers give more sleepless nights to the spinners. “Every year new players come whom you have not seen. That to me is the biggest challenge. You have to manage that, plan and keep things in control.
“Every year batsmen bring new shots, even in fielding there is something new. We have to grasp that quickly.”
NADEEM, LEADING RANJI BOWLER
Left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem, with Daredevils since 2012, has arrived this time as the leading Ranji Trophy wicket-taker in the 2016-17 season with 56 scalps.
“Spinners in T20, if they bowl good line and length and deceive batsmen in the air, and draw them to attack, they always have a chance to get him out. And innovations have helped spinners.”
Mishra said: “You must have quality, variations, and know when to bowl slow or fast. Whatever variations you have, it’s very important you use them. Your chances of becoming successful get higher.”
Tamil Nadu leg spinner, Murugan Ashwin may not get many chances, after switching to Daredevils from Rising Pune Supergiant.
“My role has always been about getting wickets. If I get two wickets in the middle overs, I have done my job.”
Jayant Yadav, who made his Test debut this season, said: “You have to be aware of everything, the batsman, conditions, wicket, match situation. You have to read it, and pretty fast.
“Every ball in a T20 game is different; every ball can win you a match.”