Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spinning the way back to #1 in Test Cricket

In the last two series - one against a team which is at the bottom of the table (West Indies) & the other, a team that is now #1 (England), India came a cropper and also lost the #1 ranking. The biggest reason for the consistent poor performances against these relatively & quality-wise diametrically opposite teams is because we do not have a bowling unit that can take 20 wickets to win a match! While we have had some good faster bowlers like Kapil Dev and J Srinath, India's strength has always been spin. And the team, not to mention the bench, looks bare of quality, match-winning spinners. The current incumbents - India's Harbhajan & Amit Mishra look like middle order batsmen who can bowl part-time spin.

Therefore, it is time to look for a new spin attack of which there should be around 6 to 7 in the list of 30 and 2 in the playing 11.

I can think of the following:

1. Pragyan Ojha (slow left arm orthodox) -  54 matches, 225 wickets
2. Piyush Chawla (Right arm Legbreak, googly, can bat) - 69 matches, 272 wickets, 2644 runs batting (ave 29)
3. R. Ashwin (Right arm off break, doosra, can bat) - 34 matches, 134 wickets, 1170 runs batting (Ave 35)
4. Rahul Sharma (Right arm Legbreak, googly) - 7 matches, 13 wickets
5. Bhargav Bhatt (slow left arm orthodox) - 11 matches, 55 wickets
6. Iqbal Abdulla (All rounder, slow left arm orthodox) - 28 matches, 864 runs batting (ave 34.6), 88 wickets
7. Vikas Mishra (slow left arm orthodox) - 10 matches, 44 wickets

All these stats are pertaining to First Class games only and do not include list A, tests, ODI, t20I & twenty20.

The best thing about this is that all of these players are in their early twenties and can grow and mature into world-class spinners.

Is our cricket selection committee taking notice?

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