Indian cricket August 2, 2010

Paucity of spinners is hurting India

It might not be obvious, but what is hurting India right now and would in a bigger way is the paucity of good spinners
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MS Dhoni has hoped for a bigger pool of fast bowlers to choose from. Most captains, selectors and critics have craved for the same for a long time in order to improve India's performances overseas. They believed, and rightly so, that one of the main reasons for India's dismal showing abroad was the paucity of good quick bowlers, for our spinners weren't half as effective on seamer-friendly surfaces. Ergo anyone who could bowl quick was fast-tracked to first-class level and eventually to international cricket - Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Sudeep Tyagi to name a few. Jaydev Unadkat and Jaskaran Singh are the new names in that ever growing list.

In due course of time, we got so obsessed with the fast bowlers that we completely ignored the spinners. We believed that our legacy of great spinners would ensure the regular supply of quality spinners in dozens. We even asked our curators to prepare sporting tracks (which means green-tops) at the first-class level to encourage the quick men. On such surfaces, the role of spinners changed radically from being aggressive to defensive. They were no longer expected to take wickets regularly, but were asked to hold one end up till the seamers get a breather and are raring to go again.

In spite of such obvious attempts, some might argue that we still don't have the expected pool of fast bowlers. It isn't because of a dearth of fast bowlers but a bungled logic that believes in fast-tracking and not nurturing, the two being diametrically opposite.

It might not be obvious, but what is hurting India right now and would in a bigger way is the paucity of good spinners. A closer look at our resources might tell you the true picture. Three spinners picked for this Test series, literally picked themselves in the squad, for they are the best we have at this moment. Some may still argue about Murali Kartik, but since the endeavour seems to be to build the team for the future, I'd, with slight reluctance, go with their 'no-looking-back-policy'.

In the first two Tests, both Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha made no impression whatsoever. In fact both of them looked quite listless, which in turn made the Indian attack, look rather pedestrian. A good spinner is not the one who runs through a side on a crumbling surface but the one who makes his presence felt even on the flattest of tracks. In fact, such tracks demand a bigger contribution from the tweakers because you can push your fast bowlers only so much. For them, length becomes the non-negotiable factor while they must keep varying the lines, angles and speed. If you can't take wickets, try creating pressure by keeping the batsman quiet. If you can't breach his technique, challenge his ego. What we saw in the first two Tests was everything but this. Harbhajan may not have liked to be singled out but that's the price you must pay for your success. People criticize you because they expect you to deliver, for who would talk about a show pony?

Yet the situation at the top may not be as alarming, but the scenario a step below is quite disappointing. Would you believe me if I were to tell you that there's not a single spinner in the country who's got what it takes to succeed in the longer format? A glance at the highest-wicket takers in the first-class season would validate my point. Eight out of top 10 are fast bowlers in a country which boasts of a rich history of spinners. Most spinners at the first-class level prefer to bowl quicker and flatter instead of tossing the ball and adding revolutions to get the dip, drift and spin. They have already sacrificed spin for accuracy and guile for economy. And believe me it has a lot to do with the advent of T20 cricket. The longer version of the game has paved the way for the shortest format even at the school and age-group level cricket, which means kids, from a very young age, are encouraged to bowl quicker in the air and shorter spells. Even if they aren't told to do so, the survival instinct doesn't allow them to flight the ball. For they pay a heavy price for every 'flighted' delivery.

My suggestion, though radical, would be to keep T20 cricket out of bounds for young spinners. Once spotted the talent to flight, drift and more importantly spin, they must be nurtured till they mature. For once they mature, they would develop the knowhow to succeed in all conditions and formats without forfeiting their basic craft.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • heart hunter on August 30, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    I wonder how Krish zz so cool.... Indian cricket is facing very big problem with no.7 slot player ahead of upcoming world cup... though many experts and fans are expecting All-Rounder Irfan to fill up the place, Mr.Krish seems to be not interested with Irfan... Until Bias is there in indian selection committee against an individual players, how come we can be without worrying....? May be THE WORLD CUP is just a job or duty for Mr. Krish.... but for we fans of Indian cricket the upcoming world cup is our heart beats... selectors please dont show any bias against any individuals or group.. we want india to lift the cup.... JAI HIND

  • tombaan on August 7, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    Karthik is the best spinner along with Powar but somehow Bhaji sits in that spot. Bhaji is a poor performer abroad and needs to give someone like Karthik a shot

  • Phil on August 3, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    It is not just young spinners who suffer from T20 madness at junior level. It effects batsmen too. Building an innings, learning technique, consistency, temperament and trying to grow into the game are unwanted by many of today's coaches who are too interested in how many fours a kid hits to cow corner. Don't sack spinners from junior T20. Sack T20 from junior cricket. Totally.

  • Adwait Parulekar on August 3, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    Bingo Aakash! Dearth of quality spinners is the biggest worry. I know a lot was being said about the SSC pitch being flat, but our "world class" spinner Harbhajan Singh was unable to bowl a single maiden over. Quality bowlers are expected to make a mark on flat pitches or atleast create some pressure. Also the "5 wise men" are compounding the woes. Without any doubt, Murali Kartik is the best spinner in the country n he should be back.

  • Anonymous on August 3, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    BCCI focus mainly in IPL money, Don't care about grooming Fast bowlers & spinners,, Donot have backup plans. we have talents like Ifran, Yusuf,Dinda,Jaskaran,Vinaykumar,RP, Munaf etc in fast bowling reserves & ramesh powar,Chawla,Ashwin,Murali karthik. put them in accadamy for coaching with assistance from legends and send them for A tour.. this is the only way to groom them and keep this on track for selection for senior team. note just on IPL & Ranji performance one cannot groom. Had BCCI done this before, we would have many options for senior team. look now if Bajji is not playing 3rd at lanka, we have no good spinners to backup.. Ohja & Mishra strugle just because they don't have experience in longer version of game. Indian being no.1 team now don't have match winning seamer & spinner for this test. it's pitty

  • hari_prasad on August 3, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    The recurring theme is 'why would young players forfeit playing t20 while it pays handsomely'. That is precisely why BCCI should use their coffers and change the pay structure to reward the longer version better.

    BCCI will fail to see it as an investment in making Indian cricket stronger. What they're doing is promoting the short term financial benefits(for both players and the board playing t20) while compromising promoting talent.

    Why put the players in a situation to choose t20 over test cricket.

    It is just a simple concept that involves economics and im sure no one at the BCCI is ready or willing to address this.

    While I'm a traditionalist that prefers test cricket over t20, it is hard to dismiss t20 now, as it provides the instant gratification. But BCCI can easily ensure test cricket and the upcoming talent survive on the face of this t2o surge by making test cricket more attractive financially.

    Aakash - Thanks for eliciting a discussion on all things cricket. Hari P

  • Critic on August 2, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    It's easier said than done. Sehwag bowls better than Bhajji and we have to accept the fact, he's simply a little over-rated spinner. But we cannot help it. There are competent spinners!!

  • Rajaraman on August 2, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    India lacking quality spinners is not a new phenomenon, that has come up all of a sudden. It has been there for almost three decades now. After the famous spin quartet, we had only Dilip Doshi, Shivlal Yadav, Maninder Singh, Anil Kumble and Harbajan to show, which itself was a poor showing. Ofcourse there were Ravi Shashtri and Venkatapathy Raju too. The advent of ODIs slowly made the spinners a defensive lot. Even when Kumble and Harbajan were dominating the national team we didnt have a good spin bench strength. Harbajan has all the while been a good restrictive one day bowler and a dangerous test bowler only when the pitch does something or when the Indian batsmen have posted an imposing total. Though Murali Kartik may not be the right choice at this point, it was always baffling why he was not considered earlier even as a third spinner. After Bedi and Maninder and to some extent Raju, Murali Karthik was the best left arm spinner the country produced but we failed to utilize him.

  • S.N.Singh on August 2, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    I agreed what is said and agreed with Dhoni for a larger pool of fast/medium bowlers. Why don't BCCI get Kapel Dev involved in the searching and selecting the best of the pool to be kept in training to play "five day test?" These training must include physical training. Developement of strngth to the shoulders and legs. The must "runs" once or twice per week for about 5 to 10 miles. this will develope their stamina and also strengthen their body-shoulders. I don't know what the accademy has for their training program. when i was playing cricket without coach or acadamy we used to these things. we never fall sick or injuried as to day's players. We practice 3 days per week- three hours per day, and that it. To day is so different and yet you get more problems. I think India at present should go with 3 recoginized spinners and two medium pacers. This is how it was done by India before. I think the should considered Kartik.

  • Venkat on August 2, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    Akash, I am a spinner myself (past) and I think the following are the problems. Spin bowling, like all other skills in the game is an extremely individual thing. What works for someone will not work for the other guy. I clearly remember, when I was younger a lot of coaches used to ask me to get a lot more chest-on than I used to.When I did go chest on, while my accuracy would improve the spin and dip would decrease drastically. Yet, coaches and captains always preferred accuracy to an attacking spinner ( I am not saying that these two are mutually exclusive). There is the other school which I believe "romances" flight. There are bowlers who bowl quickly, and there are others who are much flatter. What works and what gets you wickets is more important. Captains at junior cricket and ranji cricket just dont know how to handle spinners and work with spinners. Spin bowling is an art and if we need to preserve it we require clever captains and coaches.

  • heart hunter on August 30, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    I wonder how Krish zz so cool.... Indian cricket is facing very big problem with no.7 slot player ahead of upcoming world cup... though many experts and fans are expecting All-Rounder Irfan to fill up the place, Mr.Krish seems to be not interested with Irfan... Until Bias is there in indian selection committee against an individual players, how come we can be without worrying....? May be THE WORLD CUP is just a job or duty for Mr. Krish.... but for we fans of Indian cricket the upcoming world cup is our heart beats... selectors please dont show any bias against any individuals or group.. we want india to lift the cup.... JAI HIND

  • tombaan on August 7, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    Karthik is the best spinner along with Powar but somehow Bhaji sits in that spot. Bhaji is a poor performer abroad and needs to give someone like Karthik a shot

  • Phil on August 3, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    It is not just young spinners who suffer from T20 madness at junior level. It effects batsmen too. Building an innings, learning technique, consistency, temperament and trying to grow into the game are unwanted by many of today's coaches who are too interested in how many fours a kid hits to cow corner. Don't sack spinners from junior T20. Sack T20 from junior cricket. Totally.

  • Adwait Parulekar on August 3, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    Bingo Aakash! Dearth of quality spinners is the biggest worry. I know a lot was being said about the SSC pitch being flat, but our "world class" spinner Harbhajan Singh was unable to bowl a single maiden over. Quality bowlers are expected to make a mark on flat pitches or atleast create some pressure. Also the "5 wise men" are compounding the woes. Without any doubt, Murali Kartik is the best spinner in the country n he should be back.

  • Anonymous on August 3, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    BCCI focus mainly in IPL money, Don't care about grooming Fast bowlers & spinners,, Donot have backup plans. we have talents like Ifran, Yusuf,Dinda,Jaskaran,Vinaykumar,RP, Munaf etc in fast bowling reserves & ramesh powar,Chawla,Ashwin,Murali karthik. put them in accadamy for coaching with assistance from legends and send them for A tour.. this is the only way to groom them and keep this on track for selection for senior team. note just on IPL & Ranji performance one cannot groom. Had BCCI done this before, we would have many options for senior team. look now if Bajji is not playing 3rd at lanka, we have no good spinners to backup.. Ohja & Mishra strugle just because they don't have experience in longer version of game. Indian being no.1 team now don't have match winning seamer & spinner for this test. it's pitty

  • hari_prasad on August 3, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    The recurring theme is 'why would young players forfeit playing t20 while it pays handsomely'. That is precisely why BCCI should use their coffers and change the pay structure to reward the longer version better.

    BCCI will fail to see it as an investment in making Indian cricket stronger. What they're doing is promoting the short term financial benefits(for both players and the board playing t20) while compromising promoting talent.

    Why put the players in a situation to choose t20 over test cricket.

    It is just a simple concept that involves economics and im sure no one at the BCCI is ready or willing to address this.

    While I'm a traditionalist that prefers test cricket over t20, it is hard to dismiss t20 now, as it provides the instant gratification. But BCCI can easily ensure test cricket and the upcoming talent survive on the face of this t2o surge by making test cricket more attractive financially.

    Aakash - Thanks for eliciting a discussion on all things cricket. Hari P

  • Critic on August 2, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    It's easier said than done. Sehwag bowls better than Bhajji and we have to accept the fact, he's simply a little over-rated spinner. But we cannot help it. There are competent spinners!!

  • Rajaraman on August 2, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    India lacking quality spinners is not a new phenomenon, that has come up all of a sudden. It has been there for almost three decades now. After the famous spin quartet, we had only Dilip Doshi, Shivlal Yadav, Maninder Singh, Anil Kumble and Harbajan to show, which itself was a poor showing. Ofcourse there were Ravi Shashtri and Venkatapathy Raju too. The advent of ODIs slowly made the spinners a defensive lot. Even when Kumble and Harbajan were dominating the national team we didnt have a good spin bench strength. Harbajan has all the while been a good restrictive one day bowler and a dangerous test bowler only when the pitch does something or when the Indian batsmen have posted an imposing total. Though Murali Kartik may not be the right choice at this point, it was always baffling why he was not considered earlier even as a third spinner. After Bedi and Maninder and to some extent Raju, Murali Karthik was the best left arm spinner the country produced but we failed to utilize him.

  • S.N.Singh on August 2, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    I agreed what is said and agreed with Dhoni for a larger pool of fast/medium bowlers. Why don't BCCI get Kapel Dev involved in the searching and selecting the best of the pool to be kept in training to play "five day test?" These training must include physical training. Developement of strngth to the shoulders and legs. The must "runs" once or twice per week for about 5 to 10 miles. this will develope their stamina and also strengthen their body-shoulders. I don't know what the accademy has for their training program. when i was playing cricket without coach or acadamy we used to these things. we never fall sick or injuried as to day's players. We practice 3 days per week- three hours per day, and that it. To day is so different and yet you get more problems. I think India at present should go with 3 recoginized spinners and two medium pacers. This is how it was done by India before. I think the should considered Kartik.

  • Venkat on August 2, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    Akash, I am a spinner myself (past) and I think the following are the problems. Spin bowling, like all other skills in the game is an extremely individual thing. What works for someone will not work for the other guy. I clearly remember, when I was younger a lot of coaches used to ask me to get a lot more chest-on than I used to.When I did go chest on, while my accuracy would improve the spin and dip would decrease drastically. Yet, coaches and captains always preferred accuracy to an attacking spinner ( I am not saying that these two are mutually exclusive). There is the other school which I believe "romances" flight. There are bowlers who bowl quickly, and there are others who are much flatter. What works and what gets you wickets is more important. Captains at junior cricket and ranji cricket just dont know how to handle spinners and work with spinners. Spin bowling is an art and if we need to preserve it we require clever captains and coaches.

  • Ramesh on August 2, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    Good article again Akash. Your pieces are a delight to read. We are back to the pathetic situation of the 90s and early noughties reg. the quick bowlers. Now the situation is even worse because we are in need of quality spinners too. Atleast on that era, we had Kumble. Harbhajan though a match winner is still not in the class of Kumble.

  • Amit on August 2, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Very well said. Good article. I fail to understand why board doesnot look into this. there should be a pool of spinners and fast bowlers.

  • Nampally on August 2, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Akash: My comments on your previous article was that India relied heavily in the past on twin spin bowlers for their success in the test.Current spin twins - Ojha & Harbhajan performed horribully in the last 2 tests.Real fast bowlers were far and few since Nissar & Amar singh era. R.B.Desai & Kapil Dev were only genuine fast bowlers in the recent era with Zaheer & Jagdev close second. Ishant has the potential with Young Unadkat & J.Singh, the future hopes. Yadev of Delhi and Kamran Khan of Rajasthan also need a second look. In the spin department India must not discard Murali Karthik till Ojha or Jadeja rise to test standard. Ashwin is a good off spinner who does not get chances while Chawla & Mishra need developing. India does not have spinners of the class of Vinoo Mankad,Bapu Nadkarni, SP Gupte, Kumble, Prasanna, Chandra, Venkat any more. T-20 & ODI have absolutely corrupted the spin bowler development. Answer: Focus more on 3 day Ranji+ coaching camps to develop home grown talent.

  • Sudzz on August 2, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    Keeping good spinners out of T20 is a very utopian dream and even in T20 good spinners tend to do very well.

    The challenge is to develop spinners and not forsake fast bowling at the same time. We need a attacking leggie and a steady offie- unlike one chucks like the erstwhile king of spin an offie can never really inspire fear in batters.

    In this regard the only thinking and attacking spinner we have on the horizon is Murali Karthik and only he can make a difference. Its Mr Harbhajan is sent away to do some Hari ka Bhajan and someone else takes his place.

  • Jagdeep on August 2, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Totally agree. I have been saying this for years. Piyush Chawla used to be happy to flight the ball (did this and got hit a bit by KP in his debut) 4-5 years ago, but ever since T20 became popular he is bowling much quicker and flatter. And he is definitely no Anil Kumble to do that successfully!!

  • Bis on August 2, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    Akash good point well made. However keeping T20 out of bounds for young cricketers is like uninventing the wheel - it's too late. The best we can hope for is sporting pitches, good coaching and hopefully some of the BCCI's millions invested in nurturing the cricketers of the future. Less T20 and ODI matches might also help along with a points system in domestic competition which rewards attacking cricket.

  • Bis on August 2, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    Akash good point well made. However keeping T20 out of bounds for young cricketers is like uninventing the wheel - it's too late. The best we can hope for is sporting pitches, good coaching and hopefully some of the BCCI's millions invested in nurturing the cricketers of the future. Less T20 and ODI matches might also help along with a points system in domestic competition which rewards attacking cricket.

  • Sunil D'Souza on August 2, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    One more ex cricketer,who has played in domestic tournaments,had a limited tenure in International cricket,performed reasonably well and made way gracefully to become a columnist whose views make sense.The BCCI in its wealth and wisdom should form a core committeee of these veterans,who have played with and against the current crop of cricketers,save the young bowlers and batsmen who are adopting the wham bang splash kind of cricket that pays so much money,i.e. T20,ease them gently into the greater battles of Test and ODI cricket.If a reserve bench of 50 cricketers are identified,supported economically,and coached,we should see less burnouts.

  • Sunil D'Souza on August 2, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    I agree,why use youung spinners as cannon fodder during the T20 matches.The likes of Murli Karthick,Harbhajan Singh,Ojha,Mishra have played enough cricket to take the now familiar mauling.Talents like Piyush Chawla will soon be lost to indian cricket and Ashwin is also going the same way.Either you have coaches who are with the team all the time who can nurture these talents.The razzmatazz of the T20 matches have foreign coaches who only want spinners to be restrictive and not wicket taking bowlers.Its time to give Gary Kirsten the say so in deciding who plays and who doesnt.Its also time for zonal selection committees to identify talent.Ex cricketers think selection committes are the pinnacle of their careers.They have a responsibility to unearth talent.India did exceedingly well in the last few u19 tournaments.How many of these players are actively in the news?Someone should be made answerable.Have these talents been lost forever?

  • harsh on August 2, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    The suggestion (to keep T20 cricket out of bounds for spinners) is insane in terms of how impractical it is! Every other breed of cricketer (pacer or batsman) with a modicum of talent gets into the big T20 league with a shot at making money. What reward are you going to give that little kid who happens to be able to turn the ball? Consider this: You are a budding 15-year old spinner and suddenly you find that every other kid at your local maidan and training academy is learning how to make play T20 but you've been told that you aren't going to be allowed to join them in their quest for big money. Why? Because you are a spinner! What do you think you would do? Sit out and learn how to flight the ball? The flight and the dip and the curl being the only rewards for your guile and intelligence while the stupid kid next door gets a call from the local T20 league simply because he can hit the ball 50yards! What would you do? I'd drop the ball and march out with a bat in hand.

  • Spinner from a far off land on August 2, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    Hate to return to the question but why not Khartik? The youngsters are clearly not doing the job so why not set them a benchmark with a pro that has continually achieved the standards they haven't? (Bar Kumble and Bhaji of course!).

    Zaheer Khan went away to England and developed his game & so has Khartik; in the interim Khartik should be in the team and the likes of Chawla, Ojha and whoever given a couple of seasons in a competitive foreign league to develop the skills and knowledge they aren't in the Indian scene.

  • MurVis on August 2, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Not picking once dropped players never happens in Indian cricket -By not picking Murali Karthik, the selectors are shooting themselves in the foot.He is taking bucket loads of wickets inEngland where pitches dont suit spinners and aga cant be criteria as Sachin said so and proved it..

    I am sure Mahela and Sanga would be laughing their heads off with regards to Ramesh Powar.He genuinely flights,spins and out thinks batsman even in T20 and yet he is ignored for fitness and fielding.what a joke.If that was the criteria, Munaf Patel should be banished to lands where they dont play cricket and yet he is always in the reckoning.

  • David on August 2, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Good article, this seems to be happening in more places then India, i can't really think of any truly class up and coming spinners who flight the ball and get large amounts of turn. There's a couple who could come good with work but i can't see anyone who will be a world beater spinner atm. I can think of many up and coming pace bowlers from various countries though.

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  • David on August 2, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Good article, this seems to be happening in more places then India, i can't really think of any truly class up and coming spinners who flight the ball and get large amounts of turn. There's a couple who could come good with work but i can't see anyone who will be a world beater spinner atm. I can think of many up and coming pace bowlers from various countries though.

  • MurVis on August 2, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Not picking once dropped players never happens in Indian cricket -By not picking Murali Karthik, the selectors are shooting themselves in the foot.He is taking bucket loads of wickets inEngland where pitches dont suit spinners and aga cant be criteria as Sachin said so and proved it..

    I am sure Mahela and Sanga would be laughing their heads off with regards to Ramesh Powar.He genuinely flights,spins and out thinks batsman even in T20 and yet he is ignored for fitness and fielding.what a joke.If that was the criteria, Munaf Patel should be banished to lands where they dont play cricket and yet he is always in the reckoning.

  • Spinner from a far off land on August 2, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    Hate to return to the question but why not Khartik? The youngsters are clearly not doing the job so why not set them a benchmark with a pro that has continually achieved the standards they haven't? (Bar Kumble and Bhaji of course!).

    Zaheer Khan went away to England and developed his game & so has Khartik; in the interim Khartik should be in the team and the likes of Chawla, Ojha and whoever given a couple of seasons in a competitive foreign league to develop the skills and knowledge they aren't in the Indian scene.

  • harsh on August 2, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    The suggestion (to keep T20 cricket out of bounds for spinners) is insane in terms of how impractical it is! Every other breed of cricketer (pacer or batsman) with a modicum of talent gets into the big T20 league with a shot at making money. What reward are you going to give that little kid who happens to be able to turn the ball? Consider this: You are a budding 15-year old spinner and suddenly you find that every other kid at your local maidan and training academy is learning how to make play T20 but you've been told that you aren't going to be allowed to join them in their quest for big money. Why? Because you are a spinner! What do you think you would do? Sit out and learn how to flight the ball? The flight and the dip and the curl being the only rewards for your guile and intelligence while the stupid kid next door gets a call from the local T20 league simply because he can hit the ball 50yards! What would you do? I'd drop the ball and march out with a bat in hand.

  • Sunil D'Souza on August 2, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    I agree,why use youung spinners as cannon fodder during the T20 matches.The likes of Murli Karthick,Harbhajan Singh,Ojha,Mishra have played enough cricket to take the now familiar mauling.Talents like Piyush Chawla will soon be lost to indian cricket and Ashwin is also going the same way.Either you have coaches who are with the team all the time who can nurture these talents.The razzmatazz of the T20 matches have foreign coaches who only want spinners to be restrictive and not wicket taking bowlers.Its time to give Gary Kirsten the say so in deciding who plays and who doesnt.Its also time for zonal selection committees to identify talent.Ex cricketers think selection committes are the pinnacle of their careers.They have a responsibility to unearth talent.India did exceedingly well in the last few u19 tournaments.How many of these players are actively in the news?Someone should be made answerable.Have these talents been lost forever?

  • Sunil D'Souza on August 2, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    One more ex cricketer,who has played in domestic tournaments,had a limited tenure in International cricket,performed reasonably well and made way gracefully to become a columnist whose views make sense.The BCCI in its wealth and wisdom should form a core committeee of these veterans,who have played with and against the current crop of cricketers,save the young bowlers and batsmen who are adopting the wham bang splash kind of cricket that pays so much money,i.e. T20,ease them gently into the greater battles of Test and ODI cricket.If a reserve bench of 50 cricketers are identified,supported economically,and coached,we should see less burnouts.

  • Bis on August 2, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    Akash good point well made. However keeping T20 out of bounds for young cricketers is like uninventing the wheel - it's too late. The best we can hope for is sporting pitches, good coaching and hopefully some of the BCCI's millions invested in nurturing the cricketers of the future. Less T20 and ODI matches might also help along with a points system in domestic competition which rewards attacking cricket.

  • Bis on August 2, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    Akash good point well made. However keeping T20 out of bounds for young cricketers is like uninventing the wheel - it's too late. The best we can hope for is sporting pitches, good coaching and hopefully some of the BCCI's millions invested in nurturing the cricketers of the future. Less T20 and ODI matches might also help along with a points system in domestic competition which rewards attacking cricket.

  • Jagdeep on August 2, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Totally agree. I have been saying this for years. Piyush Chawla used to be happy to flight the ball (did this and got hit a bit by KP in his debut) 4-5 years ago, but ever since T20 became popular he is bowling much quicker and flatter. And he is definitely no Anil Kumble to do that successfully!!

  • Sudzz on August 2, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    Keeping good spinners out of T20 is a very utopian dream and even in T20 good spinners tend to do very well.

    The challenge is to develop spinners and not forsake fast bowling at the same time. We need a attacking leggie and a steady offie- unlike one chucks like the erstwhile king of spin an offie can never really inspire fear in batters.

    In this regard the only thinking and attacking spinner we have on the horizon is Murali Karthik and only he can make a difference. Its Mr Harbhajan is sent away to do some Hari ka Bhajan and someone else takes his place.