Where are the spinners?

first_imgHarbhajan Singh (35) and Amit Mishra (32)are definitely two of the oldest players in the ongoing Test series in Sri Lanka.And while the likes of Rangana Herath (37) and Kumar Sangakkara (37) have shown that age is just a number, what Harbhajan and Mishra’s selection after two and four years respectively show is that there is a dearth of quality young spinners in the feeder line in Indian cricket.Among those waiting in the pipeline for a call-up, barring Pragyan Ojha, none of the other spinners like Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma and Piyush Chawla deserve a place in the Test team. But Ojha is outof- favour with the current crop of selectors despite picking 71 wickets from 13 games since 2011.Another spinner who earned a lot of praise from both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli is Axar Patel. But the spinner is more in the Jadeja mould and isn’t really a conventional turner of the ball unlike IPL sensation Yuzvendra Chahal.But sadly, despite being a part of Kohli’s RCB, Chahal is yet to get an opportunity. Speaking to MAIL TODAY, former India spinner Bishan Singh Bedi said that it is the job of the selectors to spot quality talent and groom them so that they can serve the country but that isn’t happening currently.”You are talking about dearth of quality spinners. But whose job is it to spot spinners in the domestic circuit and groom them? What exactly are the selectors doing? Better planning and strategising is imperative if the level of performance has to improve,” he said.advertisementRavindra Jadeja is going through tough phase. Since 2011, he has played 12 Tests and has scalped 45 wickets with an average of 30.38 Former India skipper Rahul Dravid feels that the current crop of batsmen don’t get to face enough quality spinners. “You still have the odd good spinner in domestic cricket, but the numbers have dipped.The top four spinners are good but we had a lot more spinners in the domestic scene then,” he said. V.V.S. Laxman too echoed Dravid’s sentiments. “My generation of players were fortunate to play against top-class spin bowlers in domestic cricket. It is different now,” he said.Amit Mishra has played 4 Tests matches since 2011 and has taken 12 wickets with an average of 42.92  Amit Mishra says Indians are comfortable facing spin India have conceded a lot of wickets to spinners on their recent overseas tours. Moeen Ali and Nathan Lyon were two stand-out spinners against India in England and Australia.The Indian players also faced a stern test against Rangana Herath and Tharindu Kaushal in the first Test. But leg-spinner Amit Mishra feels that the Indian batsmen do not lack the skill to play against spin.Speaking to PTI, Mishra said “I don’t think that Indian batsmen struggle against spin. In fact, all our batsmen are among the best against spin. Whenever we bowl at them even at nets, it doesn’t look like that at all. What happens instead is that sometimes you lose one or two wickets under pressure. Anyone can make mistakes under pressure but I don’t think there is any lack of skill against spin,” he said.Mishra also said despite India’s shocking loss at Galle, the team’s morale was high. “We are playing Test cricket after a bit of a gap, so we made a few mistakes in Galle. But will work on them and improve,” he said.Ravichandran Ashwin is in red-hot form. Since 2011, he has played 26 Tests and has taken 134 wickets with an average of 29.14 Venkatapathy Raju feels Harbhajan Singh is trying a bit too hard Harbhajan Singh’s lackluster performance in the first Test against Sri Lanka has put him under pressure and former India tweaker Venkatapathy.Raju feels the veteran off-spinner’s poor form is the result of trying too hard to prove his worth on comeback. In a match dominated by spin, Harbhajan picked just one wicket in his 25 overs during the course of two innings as India lost by 63 runs.”He went through that rehabilitation phase while correcting his action.Then he was out of contention for a while and now when he has made a comeback, he is probably trying too hard. (But) There is nothing lacking on the experience front. He knows what to do in which condition,” Raju said. “But that’s the problem, when you make a comeback and you are trying to prove yourself. You try to do something more and that sometimes doesn’t work.”Pragyan Ojha is waiting for his comeback.Since 2011 he has taken 71 wickets in 13 Tests with an average of 24.27Raju, 46, who was part of the last Indian side which won a Test series 22 years back in Sri Lanka, said the threespinner theory works only when the batsmen get runs on board.advertisement”When India went in with three spinners, there were batsmen like (Virender) Sehwag who would put up runs in the board. A score of 400 always helps. Then you had bowlers whowere all-rounders. This team is a young team, probably they will gain experience and get better,” he said. “I was part of the team that won against Sri Lanka under Mohammad Azharuddin in 1993. See their strength has also been spin. They had the great Muttiah Muralitharan but also had a Chaminda Vaas who could come and pick wickets.And they were all good players of spin. But then our players were also playing domestic cricket and were used to those tracks. So whenever we hosted Australia or England, we put up more than 400-500 runs on the board,” he added.last_img read more