They 'are the real batsmen': Gavaskar on tackling spin
- A case in point is his last innings in Test cricket when he scored a gritty 96 in the second innings on a vicious turner in Bengaluru. His efforts went in vain as India lost the match and the series to Pakistan.
When it comes to playing on spinning tracks and excelling, not many know it better than former India captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar. India's original 'little master' made a name for himself while facing the express quicks of West Indies, England and Australia on seaming tracks without helmets in the 1970s and 80s, but he was equally adept and comfortable while tackling quality spinners back home or in other sub-continental countries.
A case in point is his last innings in Test cricket, when he scored a gritty 96 in the second innings on a vicious turner in Bengaluru. His efforts went in vain as India lost the match and the series to Pakistan.
The former India opener has since made a name for himself as one of international cricket's leading commentators. His unbiased views and erudite assessment of the game is a permanent fixture whenever and wherever India plays and it has been the same in the series against England.
Reflecting on the performance of the batsmen during the recently concluded third Test match, which saw England losing 20 wickets within two days and losing by 10 wickets to India, Gavaskar said that the true test of a batsman lies in how he plays on a turning track.
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While commentating on host broadcaster Star Sports on the second day of the match, Gavaskar said that on pitches that aid pace and bounce there are only two ways to bat, either on the front foot or on the backfoot. But on turning tracks, batsmen need to show good footwork in order to smother the spinning ball.
He spoke at a time when India had been bowled out for 145 in their first innings and England were struggling in their second innings.
"You need to use the depth of your crease (to tackle spin). So, there comes your footwork. On fast bouncy pitches it is more a matter of your courage. These kinds of pitches, it is a test of your skill.
"Which is the reason the batsmen who can score runs on these pitches, are the real batsmen...," Gavaskar said in commentary.
Gavaskar's comments came at a time when there has been a lot of talk about the nature of the pitch in Chennai and now in Ahmedabad. Gavaskar was of the view that batsmen need to apply themselves better on such pitches.
Fellow commentator Murali Karthik said during the post-match presentation that out of the 29 wickets to fall to spin in the match, 21 of them fell to deliveries that did not turn and went in straight.