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'Ganguly also to blame for spin problem'

I would have picked three spinners in the squad and I am shocked Murali Kartik was not in the original team, says Ian Chappell in an interview with Pradeep Magazine.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2003 00:27 IST

Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell says that the Indian captain Sourav Ganguly's lack of trust in left-arm spinners is one of the main reasons behind the recent spin problem India is facing.

Chappell says Murali Kartik is a quality attacking bowler, and as the Aussies don't play spin very well - especially the left-arm variety - he should have been the first choice for India's tour Down Under. He also says in this interview India are being stupid by ignoring their spin legacy. Excerpts:

Do you think India have the right attack ?

I would have picked three spinners in the squad and I am shocked Murali Kartik was not in the original team.

Why three spinners?

I think anyone playing Australia should know their past record. The only two places they have lost a Test series are India and Sri Lanka, places where spin plays an important role. Left-arm spinner Ray Price (Zimbabwe) took six wickets in a Test in Australia recently.

Kartik is a very attacking bowler. I think the problem lies with your skipper. I think Sourav Ganguly does not trust left-arm spinners. It could be because he can play them very well or he just does not understand left-arm spinners. It is very important for the captain to understand his bowlers.

What does that mean?

Well, Imran once said that bowlers make better captains because they understand what it is all about. I remember how badly Ganguly handled Kartik in a Test against Zimbabwe. He let Kumble attack from one end and told Kartik to bowl a leg stump line to contain the batsmen.

I thought that made no sense, as Karthik is an attacking bowler. I remember once Steve Waugh had nine fielders at the boundary for Brian Lara and the bowler was Shane Warne. You don't do such a thing to bowlers who are wicket-takers. I wouldn’t have done that to Dennis Lillee.

Was playing one spinner here a mistake?

Yes. On Adelaide wicket you should play two spinners. I would say on a wicket like Brisbane two spinners would not have been the right choice. Actually, you should have four quality bowlers in your team, two fast and two spinners and one genuine all-rounder.

Do you think India is doing the right thing by laying emphasis on fast bowling?

I think India are being stupid by chasing fast bowlers and ignoring their spin legacy. I think Indians have a natural ability to be good spinners. Like here, a good fast bowler just pops out from nowhere just when you are thinking there is no one good enough around.

Why do you say that?

I say this because of my experience with the Indians. I have seen rich Indian businessmen all over the world, who are wily, shrewd and have a lot of patience. And these are the qualities you require to be a good spinner. I remember talking to Prasanna once when he was here on some work and after 20 minutes of talk I told him 'now I know why you were such a good spinner'.

What was special about Prasanna?

He knew so much about his craft that I realised a lot of thought and planning must have gone into his bowling.

Where is India lacking at the moment?

I think you have all the makings of a good team. It is also improving its overseas record. But I think you lack a bowler who could bring you back into a match when the going is not good. Anil Kumble had that skill; I am not sure any more.

What would your advice be?

Look, I think India is also making the same mistake, which the rest of the world made, trying to follow the path of the West Indies team of the seventies and eighties. People forget that they had great fast bowlers.

In their case it was not the quantity but the quality that mattered. Have four fast bowlers but they should be good enough also. In your case, you had a great spin attack in Bedi, Prasanna and Chandra. If at that time you had someone like Kapil Dev in the team, it would have been a great attack.