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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014
Spinners who could turn it around for India
Abhimanyu Kulkarni, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 12, 2014
First Published: 21:38 IST(12/8/2014)
Last Updated: 08:18 IST(13/8/2014)

India is already down 1-2 against England with just 1 match remaining in the series. All the 'usual' devils which trouble India on foreign soils have come out of the closet again.

Indian batsmen are falling tamely to the English attack. The Indian bowlers look incapable of picking 20 wickets. And while England's part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali already has 19 wickets in the series, Indian spinneres Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have failed to make an impact.

Here's taking a look at the possible spin replacements that India could consider, especially in the overseas conditions:


1) Amit Mishra

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Mishra is probably the best leg-spinner India has produced after Anil Kumble. He has often been a part of the squad, but most of those times he has been restricted to warming the benches.

Amit Mishra already has IPL hattricks to boast of. He's been Sunriser Hyderabad's go-to man for the past 3 seasons.

He's not afraid to flight the ball. He has a lethal googly in his armoury and is always tryig to outsmart the batsman. All these qualities make him the ideal pick even in conditions which are not condusive to spin bowling.


2) Pragyan Ojha

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Ojha has picked 113 wickets in the 24 Tests that he has represented India in. He has had some noteworthy partnerships with R Ashwin.

 Yet, he lost his place in the team to another slow left arm bowler - Ravindra Jadeja. The reason for keeping Ojha out wasn't his bowling - infact, he picked up 10 wickets against West Indies (Nov 2013) in the last international Test that he played. He was chucked out because Jadeja could bat too.

Jadeja has struggled in foreign condition - both with the ball and the bat. This coupled with Ashwin's rough patch has spelt doom for India.


3) Karn Sharma

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Karn Sharma has grown slowly but steadily in stature. From playing second fiddle to Murali Kartik in Railways, and to Amit Mishra in his IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad - he has evolved into the strike bowler for both teams.

In the 2013-14 Ranji season, Sharma finished as Railway's highest wicket-taker with 21 wickets from just 3 matches at an average of 19.04. This included a spell of 8 for 97 against Rajasthan, the defending champions. He won the best Under-25 cricketer of the year award for this performance.

He has been rewarded with an ODI call up in the Indian squad selected for the upcoming series against England.


4) Yuzvendra Chahal

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                                                                                                                     (Photo Courtesy: BCCI)

This 23-year old started playing Chess at the age of 7. He represented India in chess in the Asian Youth Championship (U-12 category)and the World Youth Championships.

This leg-spinner doesn't have humongous first class figures like Mishra or Ojha - but what he has is the killer instinct. He represented Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2014 season of the IPL, and the most noticeable part about his bowling was that he wasn't afraid to take up the challenge to the batsman.

He bowls extremely fast and maintains a middles stump-off stump line, which forces the batsman to play across. Due to this he ends up picking wickets while being economical at the same time.

This fiesty young Haryana lad is someone who could compliment R Ashwin brilliantly, and is an option that the BCCI should definitely consider.

Notable mention: Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh is currently facing suspension for his alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal when he played for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

He came in the limelight when India lifted the U-19 World Cup in 2012 held in Australia. He received accolades from Ian Chappell and Bishan Singh Bedi.

“He bowls like Bishen Bedi with that same natural flight and guile that would right now place him as the best spin bowler in any Test side, bar England,” Chappell had said about the young lanky left arm spinner.

He has played just 5 first-class matches for Mumbai yet, but already has 25 wickets to show for his efforts.

This is definitely a big miss for India.


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