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No taker for real tweaker

Despite fielding three medium-pacers in each Test, Indian skipper Dravid had to fall back on Sehwag's utility as an off-spinner.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 12:17 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

The Indians are testing the West Indians well, after being laid low in the one-dayers. In both the Tests, the bowlers have got an opportunity to work on the home team's batting, put men around the bat and cash in on the pressure this creates.

For a major part of the first two Tests, this process depended more on the spinners than pacers, even though India have so far been able to accommodate just one specialist spinner. With Anil Kumble putting in a lionhearted performance, the story in some queer way has also been of off-spin and other turns!

There was Harbhajan Singh cutting a lonely figure a day before the second Test, skipping activities others were going through, taking a walk around the park, supposedly troubled by a groin problem.

And when his team was launching an attack on the home side under the gigantic shadow of a total of 588, India's leading off-spinner was seeking tips from Lance Gibbs.

And then there was Virender Sehwag, turning his arm over, delivering an unrefined variety of the stuff the Turban Tweaker specializes in and getting rewarded for his efforts.

After the sensational century on the first day in St Lucia, the opening batsman's contribution with the ball in India's domination of the Test series has been no less significant.

Despite fielding three medium-pacers in each Test, Rahul Dravid has had to fall back on Sehwag's utility as an off-spinner and the Delhi Dynamite has more than responded. Be it while breaking partnerships or taking wickets at crucial times, the light entertainment Sehwag is supposed to provide has not been fun for the West Indian batsmen.

Harbhajan, on the other hand, has met Gibbs and sought tips on how to bowl the straighter one without an obvious change in action. "I told him that when I tried it, my spinning finger would stay off the seam while releasing the ball," said the former world record holder for most Test wickets.

It's not known whether Sehwag has sought suggestions on how to spin the ball or keep it straight, but he has at least been able to script a spin into the tale of Test matches. After having taken three wickets in 45 Tests before this series, he has significantly boosted that tally in his new, bald look. Things in the Caribbean do take strange turns at times!

First Published: Jun 15, 2006 12:17 IST