Bowling June 28, 2012

Is spin bowling a dying art?

Aamod Desai
Who are the leading spinners in world cricket at the moment? Harbhajan? Vettori? Swann? Ajmal? Or somebody else?
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It has been said time and again that subcontinent batsmen are the best players of spin; there would be only a few who wouldn't subscribe to that thought. Yet, about 70% wickets (out of 28) fell to spin during the first three days of the Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Galle; either the track was a rank turner and the bowling exceptional, or the batting skills were inadequate. Quality bowling could be a reason, but this is only the half side of the story. Who are the leading spinners in world cricket at the moment? Harbhajan? Vettori? Swann? Ajmal? Or somebody else?

Harbhajan is out of the Indian side for almost a year now, Vettori has become more of an allrounder, Swann and Ajmal hold promise but would need to deliver something special to join the league of Murali, Warne, Kumble & Co. So is world cricket devoid of players to carry the legacy of Bedi, Chandrashekhar, Underwood, Benaud and Qadir forward? If that is indeed the case then it is a serious threat, for that implies the slow extinction of an important facet of the game. Twenty20 cricket and the Powerplay rule in ODI cricket could be looked upon as the turning point for the spinners' community.

It was speculated that spinners would find it difficult to adapt to the newest format. Seven years on from the first T20I, you find that the assumption is indeed true. Spinners had, have and will continue to have a role in limited-overs cricket, for more often than not it is the batsmen who make a move in pursuit of runs, thereby providing opportunities. But there is a downside when shorter games come into the equation. Test cricket is a completely different avatar altogether, where the bowlers have to be penetrative and matches are won only after the opponent has been dismissed twice. By featuring in coloured clothes more and more often, spinners across the globe have allowed their natural ability to be overtaken by demands of run rates.

The soft seam Kookabura and Dukes balls aren't helping the spinners either; the effects are visible and evident. Spinners are expected to be less effective during the first innings of a Test match, yet Murali, Warne and Kumble are among the top wicket-takers in the first innings.

The art of spin bowling isn't meant to be based on support from the track. Variety in arsenal shouldn't constitute alterations in pace and length only. A spinner shouldn't be the bowler to bowl you through the day, but somebody who can be your attacking option at any point in the day. Saqlain Mushtaq discovered the doosra but the game hasn't really seen any new spinning innovation thereafter. Spin bowling has to be about unpredictability, guile, forming a web, relentless persistence and not about bowling flat after a couple of hits, negative lines, good economy rates and bowling with the field spread.

Bowling quality in general has dropped a few notches from when the likes of Akram, Donald, Warne and Murali played, yet names like Steyn, Anderson, Philander, Zaheer reassure us that seam and swing bowling isn't disappearing altogether. Flatter decks, shorter formats, new-ish balls for a longer period, shorter boundaries, and defensive captaincy have become the trend after the advent of Twenty20 cricket. Today spin bowlers are meant to 'squeeze-in' economical overs and dry up the boundaries, rather than being the wicket-takers in the side.

For the generation that grew up watching likes of Murali, Warne, Kumble, the craft of spin bowling was an integral part of watching cricket. It could be that the change had to come at some point, yet you cannot forget Saqlain's deceptive doosra, long spells from Kumble, Murali's ability to run through a line-up and Warne's jaw-dropping deliveries. Five men around the bat when a spinner is bowling might soon become a rare sight, as almost every spinner today marks his run-up with an eye on the fielders on the boundary line. Maybe that's the way it shall continue to be.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anonymous on June 30, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal can never be better than Murali, Kumble, or Warne. Simply because these legends have proved themselves against almost every cricketing nation and every class batsmen in the world and stayed at the top for a significant period of time. Ajmal has a long way to go before he proves himself as a consistent performer. Which is something that he will find very difficult to do given his age and lack of consistent cricketing action.

  • Asad on June 30, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    T20 cricket is turning spinners into medium pacers who bowl with a slight off cut or leg cut. The same is being done to fast bowlers who are seen to be bowling more cutters then they are seam up deliveries. Nonetheless, Ajmal along with Rehman and Swann hold promise and the Pakistan team seems to be one of the few that uses spinners with an aggressive intent.

  • anahita on June 30, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    very true... the advent of t20 has killed the art of 'TRADITIONAL' spin bowling... especially wrist spin bowling (they are indeed a dying breed)... ten years ago there were atleast 10 quality spinners in the world who bowled conventional spin ... now apart from swann and ajmal (and vettori to some extent), every so-called 'spinner' either relies on some mystery action, or firing darts... left arm spinners have come up by the dozen a prime example is harbhajan... before the t20 and ipl, bhajji was one of the best bowlers because he relied on giving the ball air, extracted bounce from the pitch, had an excellent top-spinner & doosra... t20 has made him bowl more defensively, and cutoff all the weapons in his armoury.... swann and ajmal dont play as much t20 cricket and hence are successful....

  • Chattha on June 30, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    Don't really see the point 1. Dude Harbjhan Singh seriously ? 2. Zaheer Khan in the league of styen and anderson ? 3.

  • Middlestump on June 30, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    Cricket changed permanently for the worse in the mid 70s with the introduction of favouritism in rule changes. The game until then was an even contest between bat and ball and no rule was deliberately introduced to favour one aspect of the game over another. The ODI brought artificial limits on the number of overs a bowler is allowed to bowl, and rules about where fielders ought to stand! Of course batsmen were allowed to bat right through the innings. Ever since, all aspects of bowling have been under stress to survive, spin bowling being pressured the most. The so called doosra is no new invention. Earlier it was called the floater. Class spinners like Prasanna, Venkat, Mallet and Gibbs sure used it. Spin bowling as we knew it is almost dead and its survival is now dependant on the occasional brilliant bowler who comes on the scene in test cricket alone. In the shorter circus form of cricket, there is no spin bowling in the real sense. Just some slow-defensive bowling.

  • Suresh Murugaser on June 30, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    I'm at a loss to understand why you have left Herath out of your line-up of present spinners. I feel he only ranks behind Ajmal. Please take a look at his record in all forms of the game!

  • lakitha123 on June 30, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    you can't replace all time greats like Murali,Warne,Lara,Akram,jayasooriya,gilly,pollock,ponting...... they are born only for a century, just like Bradman. So we have to wait and see till new talents arrive to the cricket world.

  • Nadeem on June 30, 2012, 2:22 GMT

    Advent of ODI destroyed spin bowling in 80's and after ward. If you think that Warne, Murli, Saqlain, Kumble were real spinners then you are wrong. The real spinners were of 70's bedi, parsana, etc and qadir. After that every spinner is hybrid version. Warne did not have perfect leg break bowling action. (though he was genius of all time) Kumble was medium fast spinner Murli action is controversial Saqlain did not know any thing other than Dosra.

    You will never find a genuine spinner due to T2020 in future at all. Real spin bowling is dead.

  • Anonymous on June 29, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    T20 cricket is dying out the true way cricket should be played.Test Cricket is the ultimate form

  • syed muhammad faisal on June 29, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    it cant be especially when 6 out of top ten odi bowlers are spinners in icc ratings

  • Anonymous on June 30, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal can never be better than Murali, Kumble, or Warne. Simply because these legends have proved themselves against almost every cricketing nation and every class batsmen in the world and stayed at the top for a significant period of time. Ajmal has a long way to go before he proves himself as a consistent performer. Which is something that he will find very difficult to do given his age and lack of consistent cricketing action.

  • Asad on June 30, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    T20 cricket is turning spinners into medium pacers who bowl with a slight off cut or leg cut. The same is being done to fast bowlers who are seen to be bowling more cutters then they are seam up deliveries. Nonetheless, Ajmal along with Rehman and Swann hold promise and the Pakistan team seems to be one of the few that uses spinners with an aggressive intent.

  • anahita on June 30, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    very true... the advent of t20 has killed the art of 'TRADITIONAL' spin bowling... especially wrist spin bowling (they are indeed a dying breed)... ten years ago there were atleast 10 quality spinners in the world who bowled conventional spin ... now apart from swann and ajmal (and vettori to some extent), every so-called 'spinner' either relies on some mystery action, or firing darts... left arm spinners have come up by the dozen a prime example is harbhajan... before the t20 and ipl, bhajji was one of the best bowlers because he relied on giving the ball air, extracted bounce from the pitch, had an excellent top-spinner & doosra... t20 has made him bowl more defensively, and cutoff all the weapons in his armoury.... swann and ajmal dont play as much t20 cricket and hence are successful....

  • Chattha on June 30, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    Don't really see the point 1. Dude Harbjhan Singh seriously ? 2. Zaheer Khan in the league of styen and anderson ? 3.

  • Middlestump on June 30, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    Cricket changed permanently for the worse in the mid 70s with the introduction of favouritism in rule changes. The game until then was an even contest between bat and ball and no rule was deliberately introduced to favour one aspect of the game over another. The ODI brought artificial limits on the number of overs a bowler is allowed to bowl, and rules about where fielders ought to stand! Of course batsmen were allowed to bat right through the innings. Ever since, all aspects of bowling have been under stress to survive, spin bowling being pressured the most. The so called doosra is no new invention. Earlier it was called the floater. Class spinners like Prasanna, Venkat, Mallet and Gibbs sure used it. Spin bowling as we knew it is almost dead and its survival is now dependant on the occasional brilliant bowler who comes on the scene in test cricket alone. In the shorter circus form of cricket, there is no spin bowling in the real sense. Just some slow-defensive bowling.

  • Suresh Murugaser on June 30, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    I'm at a loss to understand why you have left Herath out of your line-up of present spinners. I feel he only ranks behind Ajmal. Please take a look at his record in all forms of the game!

  • lakitha123 on June 30, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    you can't replace all time greats like Murali,Warne,Lara,Akram,jayasooriya,gilly,pollock,ponting...... they are born only for a century, just like Bradman. So we have to wait and see till new talents arrive to the cricket world.

  • Nadeem on June 30, 2012, 2:22 GMT

    Advent of ODI destroyed spin bowling in 80's and after ward. If you think that Warne, Murli, Saqlain, Kumble were real spinners then you are wrong. The real spinners were of 70's bedi, parsana, etc and qadir. After that every spinner is hybrid version. Warne did not have perfect leg break bowling action. (though he was genius of all time) Kumble was medium fast spinner Murli action is controversial Saqlain did not know any thing other than Dosra.

    You will never find a genuine spinner due to T2020 in future at all. Real spin bowling is dead.

  • Anonymous on June 29, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    T20 cricket is dying out the true way cricket should be played.Test Cricket is the ultimate form

  • syed muhammad faisal on June 29, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    it cant be especially when 6 out of top ten odi bowlers are spinners in icc ratings

  • Rahul on June 29, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    To those who say Zaheer,Kumble and Harbhajan shuld not be in the list:Kumble is 3rd highest wicket taker in test matches.If u compare ajmal or swann with him it is useless.Both are new spinners.To become great you need to have ur records and experience.Murali or warne was never great after 50 odd innings.It can be the possibility that ajmal may go down the way mendis did.Just assume when mendis was on his peak and this article would had said him as gr8 bowler how unfair it would had been.Zaheer is surely world class bowler.On flat indian pitches he was highest (fast bowler)wicket taker in world cup 2011.Even greg chappel keep him in his list of world XI.Kumble and Zaheer are the bowlers who never had proper bowling partner to share the responsibility.They had to do both ,contain and attack,to the batsmans.All other gr8 bowlers always had someone from the other end to support.Harbhajan I believe shuld nopt be in the list but when ajmal and swann could be there than he could.See records.

  • Rahul on June 29, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    @Aamod, I don't agree that spin bowling is on decline. Any such feeling rises because we just lost some of the greatest spin bowlers to retirement. Warne, Saqlain & Murali have set the spin bowling standards much higher than they used to be. We are only back to where cricket used to be before these greats. Fast bowling has though declined a lot since the great era of fast bowlers. I have witnessed the overlapping eras of Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Holding, Ambrose, Lille, Hadle, Thomo, Garner, Donald and Roberts and have seen how only 4 batsmen were able to touch averages of 50 but then came the era of mediums with only one or two good bowlers and each and every team had 3 to 4 batsmen averaging 50+ averages. Beauty of cricket is Imran, lille, Shoaib, Thomo running in and frightning the batsmen. that is gone thing now. Styen and McGrath took a lot of wickets but agression of the greats wasn't there to watch.

  • David on June 29, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    An article with no sense, nor matter. It is like following a line drawn by someone else, and I am not sure why such articles are even published. Who was the highest wicket taker in the world cup, a fast bowler? Who dries up the run rate against any game Pakistan has played in the 50 over format, are they the quickies? I think the guy has no idea what he is talking about. It is a matter of DRS getting the standard, as that really looks at the ball and where the batsman is, and spinners will be on top of the world again. It is the absence of DRS that is making the batsman hide their mistakes, as they are given the benefit, but is that fair cricket?

  • Daniyal on June 29, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    A very biased article. How could you possibly include Harbajan Singh in top spin bowlers of today, or Zaheer Khan in top pacers??? o.O Saeed Ajmal, is without a doubt currently the best spinner of the world. I believe he has already placed himself in the living legends of cricket! P.S:How could you not mention Saqlain Mushtaq in top with Murali & Warne???? I believe he comes at number 3 in rank, above Kumble! P.S: Ajmal has already become MUCH better than Kumble and Saqlain!

  • mohan on June 29, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    when talking about spin , yes subcontinent have some star spiners but they r not so deadly at all. The quality of test cricket had degraded drastically in recent past. I must also point out that in recent time our 50-50 ovr champion team INDIA has suffered a lot with seam bowling. Zak is struggling continously with his fitness but no doubt he is one of the best swing in recent time in TESTS.This time round G swann & D vettori r the best spiners in any format of game. But when 1 talk about ajmal , he needs more maturity as a bowler. his action is also suspected. but yeah he is a quality bowler any captain would like him for his break through providing skills. R.ashwin is also a promising spinner. But when we talk our strenght thats batting we hv the likes of sehwag who can b nightmare 4 any spinner. But the best spin player in world in recent time is Gautam gambhir. he really treats ajmal as a club bowler.

  • bharath on June 29, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    Any factor which discourages the spinners from flighting the ball would lead spinners to doomsday, and most of the factors are beginning to show up extensively!!

  • Gautam Gavankar on June 29, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    I agree the art is vanishing. Saeed Ajmal has a lot to offer and the best spinner in last couple of years. Hope he had commenced his career earlier. Swann has that traditional loop and control over the offspin. Undoubtedly useful bowler but somehow I cant put him in league of great bowlers. The most affected side is India. Harbhajan over the period has travelled from bad- worse to worst. Ashwin in my opinion is highly over rated spinner. Only hope is orthodox Pragyaan Ojha who has ability to hit consistent length for a left armer and can be handful if conditions favour. But truely gone are the days of Post tea session, 2 slips, silly point, short leg and leg slip and the spinners approching the stumps like hungry tigers!

  • Chat on June 29, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    This is a really incoherent article. What is the point here? Spinners are taking so many wickets in test cricket, even those of the so called best players of spin, and therefore spinners are a dying breed? I agree that the new rules don't have anything in them for spinners. But the amazing thing is that spinners are still very successful, even in T20. Look at Sunil Narain, the newest addition. The argument should be that the playing field is getting biased against the spinners, and thus, something should be done. India has so much power, why not tell that to the BCCI? India cannot produce top fast bowlers, so it is in BCCI's interest to change the rules!

  • danoz on June 29, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    the problem being a spinner is you have a expensive over or 2(say 8-10 runs an over) the captain pulls the spinner off.this discourage spinners tossing the ball up or trying variations.

    captains often say cut out all the fancy stuff and bowl line and length which adds more pressure to the bowler and restricts the bowler.

    if a spinner is to learn the art of spin bowling he needs to be guarenteed at least 5-6 overs no matter what.

    in park cricket the boundries are smaller and miss hits go for 6,and the batting team supplies the umpire which are reluctant to lbws.

    a spin bowler relies on a good target to bowl to, if a team is bowled out for 100 after the opening bowlers bowl,the batting side maybe 0/30 and 1 expensive over and the spin bowler might not get another over.

    mystery spinners always get worked out,miller punished iverson,south africa and boycott worked out gleeson,

    i play angainst a leg spinner who slider is a lot harder to pick than his toppie or wrong un or flipper

  • alanm on June 29, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    The author is either ignorant or trolling.

    Spin bowlers are benefiting from the changing game in a number of ways. Loose batting techniques and the effect of the DRS on LBWs have revived the art of attacking spin bowling, especially finger spin (Swann, Adjmal, Afridi, also Herath, Shakib, Utseya, Lyon). T20 has benefited bowlers who focus on unpredictable variety and this, along with the "15 degree of flex" rule, has meant that we've seen more mystery spinners arrive than ever before (Narine, Ashwin & Mendis is more than the previous decade already, and I'm not even counting Adjmal and Herath's variations). There are more wrist spinners in contention for national teams than ever before (you count them).

    What is missing at the mo is young prodigies, which Warne, Murali and Kumble were. Spinners usually take a long time to learn their tricks and only become deadly as they reach their 30's. Such players are masters of their trade for a while, but the true greats had it from the start.

  • Tawqeer on June 29, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    I don’t fully agree with this article. For me Ajmal is as good as Saqlain , Murali or Warne. It is just that he made his debut too late otherwise by now he would taken more than 400 wickets had he been playing for around 10 years. Even swaan is too good. But I agree there are not many top class spiners around and mention of Harbajan in this article was completely unnecessary.

  • ziggy on June 29, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Imran Tahir will be the star of the Test series between SA and England

  • Suganth on June 29, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Recent T20 and ODI format made the spinners to change the style of Quality Spin Bowling. Of course we also lack decent spinners like Warne, Kumble, etc.

  • Sheheryar Khan on June 29, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    I don't entirely agree with your comment that "Today spin bowlers are meant to ‘squeeze-in’ economical overs and dry up the boundaries, rather than being the wicket-takers in the side." Both Ajmal and Swann are used as wicket-taking options and even Afridi is expected to take wickets in limited overs Cricket. In fact I would even mention names of Herath and Shakib as wicket-taking options. What is a major concern is that the powerhouse of spin bowling, India, don't seem to have a class spinner around. They need one who can win them matches.

  • Arvind on June 29, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    Well bowling in general as we have known it is quickly undergoing a metamorphosis. Earlier with Test Cricket in mind, the aim used be to take wickets. Now with limited over cricket, the aim is to contain runs. Why spin bowling, good fast bowling is also a dying art given the constraint applied to them. And if it continues bowling will be reduced to delivering half-volleys or full tosses. Change is the word...good or bad we will decide only in the hindsight.

  • PDTM on June 29, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    Everything goes through phases, the reason that Warne was so successful was that there was not many spinners of his quality before him. It will be back... It always comes back.

  • Max on June 29, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    You forgot to mention the west indian bowling line up. Still waiting for quality bowlers like back in the day!

  • Muhammad Ehsan on June 29, 2012, 1:17 GMT

    Presently, G Swann & Ajmal are doing great as spinners. Legacy will be transferred to next generation of cricketers. Narine, Mendis, Herath, R Hira, Bishoo, G Dockrell, A Razzaq, Imran Tahir, Cremer, Utseya, Shakib, R Ashwin, Doherty, Lyon all good.

  • Sajee on June 29, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    an article written which is ultimately biased towards India. When the author considers the current crop of spin bowlers he has included a bowler in Harbhajan who hasn't even played a test for over a year while omitting Herath who stands as the second best spin bowler according to current rankings. Also there is atleast 4 or five names that could have been mentioned as the current crop of fast bowler before Zaheer khans name is added. And it is just a matter of time before the next great spin bowler of the caliber of murali/warne arrive till then we've got to sit back and enjoy the next new generation of pacies like cummins/pattinson/de lange/yadav

  • Rauf on June 28, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    Warne and Murali, both the super spinners have left a void big enough. They have raised the bar for spinners to come in the next 30-50 years. They are irreplaceable. IPL Bazaar allows lesser number of test matches. Ind-Pak test matches are gone. Anil Kumble was never in the same leauge as both warne and murali.

  • Sifter on June 28, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    I think I disagree. Saying spinners are now only containing bowlers is misleading...that is EXACTLY what they've been throughout history. Go and look at Bedi or Qadir or Gibbs or Underwood or Benaud or even O'Reilly - all have strike rates AT LEAST around 70 balls per wicket or more - they were the workhorses of the team, keeping it tight and bowling long spells. Yes they had the ability to get wickets too, but to end their career at a 70 S/R there's only 2 options: 1) either they weren't as good wicket takers as everyone thinks, or 2) they bowled with a more defensive focus ie. maybe they were 50-60 S/R bowlers, but just chose to be conservative. It wasn't until Shane Warne arrived that real, quality attacking spin arrived and suggesting that this should continue is a bit ambitious. Warne and Murali are 2 absolute legends, and just expecting more of them to roll of the production line is wrong.

  • Farrukh on June 28, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    Just shocked to see Zaheer's name with the likes of Steyn, Anderson, Philander,

  • Ramesh(Sri Lanka) on June 28, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    There is a hidden agenda from England and Australia to take the spinners out equation as they cant play them..The 2 new ball rule for ODI`s is a part of that..Also when ever a pitch offers something for spinners Aussies and English call it an under prepared pitch and question the actions of non coucasian bowlers!

  • Anonymous on June 28, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    It's not one-day cricket, or T20, or pitches, or lack of skill that's endangering spinners. It's short boundaries (OK, maybe a bit of T20) and big bats.

  • Hassam on June 28, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Really, spin is becoming a bygone notion in test cricket? You just said 28 of 35 wickets were taken by spin with plenty of men around the bat. In the pak v eng series this January 48 of possible 60 English wickets fell to spin, similarly Pakistan lost a fair many to spin. This was also the case in the eng sri Lanka series. What is probably less obvious on the surface is that more and more kids here in Pakistan are actually taking up spin inspired by the likes of Ajmal, ripping doosras with tennis balls. Similarly Pakistan has a lot of promising youngsters in their youth and A team setups who aren't getting a look in yet. To tell you the truth what is more concerning for Pakistan in the near future is the dirth of fast bowling talent in the youth ranks. Also the DRS has added a completely new dimension to the lethality of spin, making batsmen use their bats much more, thus enabling the close in fielders to constantly be on their toes. The future of spin is bright, my friend.

  • Senaratne on June 28, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    T20 is by far the best & worse thing that happened to Cricket! Its like watching a baseball game!

  • Nadir Rahim on June 28, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    Seriously negating Ajmal here.He`s the best spinner in the world right now.I dont really see why anyone`s including Harbajhan in the list.The way Ajmal bowls,if he had a lot more years,could`ve easily gona past maybe Murali or Warne.Spin bowling art is not dying.I don`t really see the point being made when so many wickets are being taken by spinners especially in the subcontinent.

  • sach kaan on June 28, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Hey Aamod,

    As much as i like your blog, I still believe you were partial towards the level of fast bowling.. i agree steyn and anderson (may be, considering his record in subcontinent) are great fast bowlers. Do you really believe zaheer and philander are in the same league.. In my opinion, the level of bowling has been degraded in the recent years. I always remember the days of Mcgrath,warne : Walsh, Ambrose: Wasim, Waqer : Donald, Pollock : Vass, Murali : Kumble, NOBODY etc

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  • sach kaan on June 28, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Hey Aamod,

    As much as i like your blog, I still believe you were partial towards the level of fast bowling.. i agree steyn and anderson (may be, considering his record in subcontinent) are great fast bowlers. Do you really believe zaheer and philander are in the same league.. In my opinion, the level of bowling has been degraded in the recent years. I always remember the days of Mcgrath,warne : Walsh, Ambrose: Wasim, Waqer : Donald, Pollock : Vass, Murali : Kumble, NOBODY etc

  • Nadir Rahim on June 28, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    Seriously negating Ajmal here.He`s the best spinner in the world right now.I dont really see why anyone`s including Harbajhan in the list.The way Ajmal bowls,if he had a lot more years,could`ve easily gona past maybe Murali or Warne.Spin bowling art is not dying.I don`t really see the point being made when so many wickets are being taken by spinners especially in the subcontinent.

  • Senaratne on June 28, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    T20 is by far the best & worse thing that happened to Cricket! Its like watching a baseball game!

  • Hassam on June 28, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Really, spin is becoming a bygone notion in test cricket? You just said 28 of 35 wickets were taken by spin with plenty of men around the bat. In the pak v eng series this January 48 of possible 60 English wickets fell to spin, similarly Pakistan lost a fair many to spin. This was also the case in the eng sri Lanka series. What is probably less obvious on the surface is that more and more kids here in Pakistan are actually taking up spin inspired by the likes of Ajmal, ripping doosras with tennis balls. Similarly Pakistan has a lot of promising youngsters in their youth and A team setups who aren't getting a look in yet. To tell you the truth what is more concerning for Pakistan in the near future is the dirth of fast bowling talent in the youth ranks. Also the DRS has added a completely new dimension to the lethality of spin, making batsmen use their bats much more, thus enabling the close in fielders to constantly be on their toes. The future of spin is bright, my friend.

  • Anonymous on June 28, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    It's not one-day cricket, or T20, or pitches, or lack of skill that's endangering spinners. It's short boundaries (OK, maybe a bit of T20) and big bats.

  • Ramesh(Sri Lanka) on June 28, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    There is a hidden agenda from England and Australia to take the spinners out equation as they cant play them..The 2 new ball rule for ODI`s is a part of that..Also when ever a pitch offers something for spinners Aussies and English call it an under prepared pitch and question the actions of non coucasian bowlers!

  • Farrukh on June 28, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    Just shocked to see Zaheer's name with the likes of Steyn, Anderson, Philander,

  • Sifter on June 28, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    I think I disagree. Saying spinners are now only containing bowlers is misleading...that is EXACTLY what they've been throughout history. Go and look at Bedi or Qadir or Gibbs or Underwood or Benaud or even O'Reilly - all have strike rates AT LEAST around 70 balls per wicket or more - they were the workhorses of the team, keeping it tight and bowling long spells. Yes they had the ability to get wickets too, but to end their career at a 70 S/R there's only 2 options: 1) either they weren't as good wicket takers as everyone thinks, or 2) they bowled with a more defensive focus ie. maybe they were 50-60 S/R bowlers, but just chose to be conservative. It wasn't until Shane Warne arrived that real, quality attacking spin arrived and suggesting that this should continue is a bit ambitious. Warne and Murali are 2 absolute legends, and just expecting more of them to roll of the production line is wrong.

  • Rauf on June 28, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    Warne and Murali, both the super spinners have left a void big enough. They have raised the bar for spinners to come in the next 30-50 years. They are irreplaceable. IPL Bazaar allows lesser number of test matches. Ind-Pak test matches are gone. Anil Kumble was never in the same leauge as both warne and murali.

  • Sajee on June 29, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    an article written which is ultimately biased towards India. When the author considers the current crop of spin bowlers he has included a bowler in Harbhajan who hasn't even played a test for over a year while omitting Herath who stands as the second best spin bowler according to current rankings. Also there is atleast 4 or five names that could have been mentioned as the current crop of fast bowler before Zaheer khans name is added. And it is just a matter of time before the next great spin bowler of the caliber of murali/warne arrive till then we've got to sit back and enjoy the next new generation of pacies like cummins/pattinson/de lange/yadav