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‘Chinaman’ Ravindra Jadeja could spring a surprise in South Africa

Evidence that the Indian team management is grooming wrist spin too emerged on Tuesday morning as the India players warmed up ahead of the fourth day’s play in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 05, 2017 23:44 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ravindra Jadeja,India vs Sri Lanka,India vs South Africa
Ravindra Jadeja has been working on a few new tricks that might come in handy in South Africa. (AP)

Kuldeep Yadav may have lost out to paceman Jasprit Bumrah in the Test squad for the South Africa cricket tour, but India could still spring a Chinaman bowler on the Proteas.

The 17-member squad only has two finger spinners in R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as pace is expected to have a prominent say in the outcome of the three-match series.

However, some evidence that the Indian team management is grooming wrist spin too emerged on Tuesday morning as the India players warmed up ahead of the fourth day’s play in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground.

On a hazy morning, at first glance it appeared it was Kuldeep, in the Test squad but not playing, was the one bowling his Chinaman deliveries, until one realised the bowler was taller than Kuldeep.

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It turned out to be Jadeja, who was practising the wristy deliveries that pitch and come into the right-handed batsman, rather than his finger-spin.

The orthodox deliveries that the left-arm spinner bowls usually leave the right-handed batsman, while the all-rounder who turns 29 on Wednesday also possesses a well-disguised arm ball that comes into the right-hander.

It also didn’t seem that Jadeja, dubbed the ‘rock star’ by his former Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Warne in the IPL, was mimicking Kuldeep, who too joined in bowling at the plastic stumps on a track parallel to the match pitch.

Closely monitored

India bowling coach, Bharat Arun, came up to talk to Jadeja, who sent a few more wristy deliveries, slow and loopy that turned in after pitching outside off-stump. Jadeja bowled a few more of the Chinaman deliveries before walking away.

It may not be a skill to master easily, but may always be a surprise weapon. And versatility won’t hurt Jadeja, or for that matter Ashwin, as they find themselves out of the limited-overs teams this season.

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Kuldeep and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal have been picked as wicket-taking options in the shorter formats, with wrist spin seen as more aggressive than finger spin.

Jadeja’s omission has been a bigger surprise as he not only goes through his overs very quickly, he is also a livewire on the field.

Ashwin, who became the fifth Indian Test bowler to surpass the 300 wickets during the ongoing series, is himself known to experiment and bowled a fair number of leg-breaks during the current Ranji Trophy season.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 21:31 IST