Monday, May 18, 2009

Indian spinners and the IPL

Yesterdays thriller between Punjab and Deccan further reinforced the need for good spinners in the team mix.
Undoubtedly, Pathan delivered the killer blow by removing Rohit (who is beginning to show his mettle over the last couple of matches)but the game had been set up by Powar, Piyush Chawla andYuvraj.
Powar is easily the craftiest spinner in the circuit. He is an artist from another era - I am not referring to his girth, but the way he enjoys flighting the ball. Yuvraj has bowled him (and Chawla) within the powerplay, and how have they responded. Unlike dart thrower Harbhajan who needs to be cossetted - he cannot bowl in powerplay overs, he needs a large bank of runs, he "needs a wicket early in his spell" or else the shoulders droop, leg stump line becomes more pronounced, glares,scowls and swear words soon follow - Powar seems to enjoy matching his wits with the batsman. It is a travesty of justice that this bowler continues to be ignored by the powers that be. Instead they have persisted with a has been and a dead weight for far too long. Why, Amit Mishra comfortably outbowled Harbhajan in his debut series.
Chawla is the bulldog of his team, not the most athletic of figures, he is arguably the best fielder among Indian bowlers. Good anticipation, speed, safe catcher and a good throw. I recall one catch he took in the first final of the VB cup last year, charging in from deep midwicket to a ball dying on him. His anticipation was so good that he didn't need to dive. Ian chappel was hugely impressed. Bowling wise, he has been Punjab's go to man when the opposition batsmen have got a flier - both in this IPL and last. Unafraid to flight, he has very good control for a wrist spinner - could do with more turn, but he is very young and will get it. Batting - can keep his head in tense situations. Make no mistake, he is an asset. Off season tutoring with Shane Warne (strictly in bowling, please) perhaps. His Modiness Lalitji, with his cheque book can ensure it.
To Yuvraj, bowling appears to be a chore, something like post match ceremonies. He, like Viru, is a smart operator, with a good sense of line and length. Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina are in this mould.
With Mishra and Ojha doing exceedingly well and Murali Kartik (in my opinion the best spinner in India after Kumble) still in the mix, and Ravindra Jadeja and Jakati coming to the fore,Ravichandran Ashwin doing well domestically Indian spin bowling is in good health.
The current IPL has underlined that. It is time for the wise men to shed their blinkers and change perception and put a premium on performance and attitude.


  1. Great post as usual!

    +1 about Powar - he loves to flight the ball. Man I'd love to see him in a test match against one of the big guns (perhaps SL- great players of spin), close in fielders and all. It will be a treat to watch.

    Raina (who I've got a publically admitted man-crush on) is street-smart. If you notice, he has this little pause just before the actual point of delivery, gives him a nice little advantage. Crafty fellow.

    I like Ohja too, good guile. Only place I disagree with you is on the topic of Murali Karthik. I think he's good, but he just seems to underperform.

  2. Thanks Fark :)Like the way you said 'as usual'

    Powar - for tests Vs SL or Aus in Eden. That would be something to watch.

    Raina- the pause is nice and effective. He got Yuvraj with one that kept low. Marks to him for pitching it closer as the batsman made room. Smart operator, like Viru.

    Ojha - ready for tests I would assume.

    Murali Karthik- he does underperform and disappoint. But he has it in him, and to be fair, he never got a decent run. Case point, 6 for 27 against Aus in an ODI (one of only 2 which India won in a 7 match series) and what happened next series. We saw him on TV all right, in the NEO TV studio, chatting with RK.

    Some people are unlucky, due to a fault in perception, they never manage to break out from an image - Murali Karthik, Powar, VVS.