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Thursday, January 22, 2015

whither the quality Indian spinner !!

One cannot be faulted for not following Ranji, especially when India is thrashed downunder.   For the uninformed,   Assam shot out Goa for 175.  Assam offspinner Swarupam Purkayastha registered yet another five-wicket haul, this time dismantling Goa's top order in Porvorim. His 13 wickets in the previous game - the best performance by any bowler this season - had set up an innings win last week in Hyderabad. It continued to flow in the same vein.  At Mumbai, the hosts were bundled out for 141 thanks to a great bowling performance by left-arm spinner Rahil Shah who took 7 for 34.  TN are 136 for 4 with Shankar unbeaten on 47.  One of the Umpires is Nick Cook who once played for England.

Indian bowlers have struggled in recent times –not being able to bowl out opponents even on tracks that have juice.  Whether the spinners are not practising enough, or whether the quality has just deteriorated ?

India was hailed as land of spinners – when the famous quartet Bishan Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and Venkatraghavan prospered – there were the likes of VV Kumar, Doshi, Shivalkar, Goel, Hans, Dhiraj Parsana, Ramnarayan,  Shukla, Raghuram Bhat and more – who could not make the cut over the dominance of the quartet and Ranji matches were ‘bowler-dominated !’

Dilip Rasiklal Doshi,  was one of only two Test bowlers who played in their first tests after the age of thirty, yet went on to take 100 wickets, the other being Clarrie Grimmett.  Dilip Doshi, the slow leftarm spinner with spectacles, was born in Rajkot in 1947, debuted in 1979 when he was 32+, went on to play 33 Tests and 15 One dayers.  Having waited for so long, he didn't waste any time in making his presence felt. With figures of 6/103 & 2/64 he was India's best bowler in that debut match.  He performed well in a One dayer at Australia too and won Man of the Match. 

There have been some quality off-spinners apart from Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan.  Harbhajan was quite  successful – remember his bowling during that Aussie tour in 2001, and that Kolkatta hat-trick.... there was Shivlal Yadav too (M Venkatramana, Ashish Kapoor, Ashok Patel, Arshad Ayub) – all Off-spinners, who played for India at some point of time.  Ravichandran Ashwin prospered so well at home, but has been struggling overseas !   Besides Chandra,  other leggies would include Subash Gupte, VV Kumar,MV Narasimha Rao, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Narendra Hirwani, Anil Kumble, Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla………. The  bespectacled man who took a record 16 wickets on his debut at Chepauk in 1988 – on that Pongal Test,  Narendra Hirwani subsequently faded away.

Maninder Singh promised so much – and went out too quickly.  Yearning to see a full complement of ‘leftarm spinner, leggie and offie’ in the team – which perhaps can bowl out opponents twice in a Test match with ease and thus win matches for India.
When will that happen ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Jan 2015.


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