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Eyes on India’s wrist spinners as hosts look to seal Sri Lanka series

India will take on Sri Lanka in the second Twenty20 International on Friday. A win will help the hosts clinch the three-match series.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 21, 2017 22:09 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Indore
India v Sri Lanka,2nd T20,Virat Kohli
India convincingly beat Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 and will be looking to seal the series on Friday.(AFP)

It was during a limited overs series in West Indies earlier this year that India skipper Virat Kohli mentioned the need to groom wrist spinners if India are to become a potent force in limited overs cricket, especially ODIs.

India had flown to the Caribbean straight from England after losing to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final. Pakistan had batted India out of the final putting 338 on board. Earlier, in a league match, Sri Lanka had pummeled India successfully chasing down 321 blunting R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

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Finger spinners out

Soon, the two seasoned finger spinners were out and in came wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The duo featured in 14 ODIs each since the Champions Trophy and also in most T20s, helping India to four limited overs series wins and staring at another.

On Wednesday, both Chahal and Kuldeep ran through the Sri Lanka line-up, helping India register their biggest T20 win. When the teams line-up for the second T20 here on Thursday, they should again come into play.

It seems India took the right decision at the right time. Across the world, there is a rising trend to have wrist spinners in limited overs with Adam Zampa for Australia, Shadab Khan for Pakistan, Imran Tahir for South Africa being the key members of their teams.

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Expert’s take

“Leg-spinners are difficult to read because of the loop. Their action is such that they can’t do without a loop and batsmen are deceived in the air. That is a wrist spinner’s biggest weapon,” says former India spinner Maninder Singh. “A finger spinner like R Ashwin will be forced to bowl flat after a while if he begins to go for runs. A leggie doesn’t have that option because of his action. That increases the chances of wickets.”

Interestingly, Chahal has gone one-up on his Haryana teammate Amit Mishra. The senior pro was one of the most successful T20 bowlers in IPL, forcing a place in the India team.

Pipped Mishra

However, the youngster has pipped him out of the team. “Chahal puts more body in his deliveries. That gives more life to the ball. Mishra didn’t,” adds Maninder.

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Since Champions Trophy, the duo have picked 43 wickets between them out of the 161 that India have taken in ODIs. Importantly, they have given runs at less than five when the team’s overall economy has been over five.

In the first half of 2017, Indian bowlers had gone at well over 6 an over in ODIs and it was a period when neither Kuldeep nor Chahal featured in the ODIs.

In T20s they have taken 19 wickets together out of 44 since Champions Trophy and while India’s economy rate has been over eight, they have maintained theirs at around seven.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 20:59 IST