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Leg spin is argued to be one of the toughest arts to master, as New Zealand know very well. Since their last premier exponent, Jack Alabaster, retired in 1972, there have only been three others have made it to the national side, and unobtrusively vanish. But Ish Sodhi, the fourth and most recent entrant, exhibits both skill and intent that tempts Andrew Alderson, in the New Zealand Herald, to suggest their 40-year wait for an attacking legspinner might be over.
In the second test against Bangladesh, Sodhi demonstrated enough to suggest he is something special. Rhythm, loop and speed were packaged into an action reminiscent of India's Anil Kumble. Sodhi possesses an attacking mindset. His three first innings wickets for 59 runs from 18.5 overs made you sit up straight on the couch. If he can eliminate the four-balls which release pressure each over, he'll threaten.
Still yet to play first class cricket, Pravin Tambe pipped one of the best T20 bowlers in the world, Sunil Narine, to become the leading wicket-taker in the Champions League 2013. Writing in Mint, Ayaz Memon is not just surprised by the Mumbai-born legspinner's story, he considers it "freakish".
Now, leg spin is a most difficult art to pick up even early in life, and even more daunting when you are in your 30s. It requires not just a different skill-set, but also a completely different mindset. This unlearning and relearning can be terribly disorienting, except to the most persevering. It redounds to Tambe's credit that he became so proficient that he was in the Mumbai squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy early this year, though he never got a chance in the playing eleven
Shahid Afridi marked his return to one-day cricket with the second-best bowling figures in history, to go along with a typically swashbuckling half-century that powered his side to a 126-run victory over West Indies at Providence. Aditya Iyer of the Indian Express, explores the Pakistan allrounder's previous comebacks, most of which had begun with a spectacular performance and nothing of note thereafter.
Again, you were the Man of the Match. Of course you were. In a career where you have been dropped five times, each of the returns have been marked with you being the standout player of the match. You were one of stalwarts from the 2003 World Cup squad to be axed after the loss to India. But when India visited your land in 2004, you were picked for the Rawalpindi ODI. You opened and scored a 58-ball 80 to give Pakistan a 12-run win. But you wouldn't score a total of 80 runs over your next eight innings. And that has been the true story of your comebacks.
Sandeep Dwivedi in The Indian Express analyses how the 'away-going ball' has troubled generations of Indian batsmen and why the Australian pacers should make it a part of their bowling strategy, instead of using it merely as a variation.
"Several generations of Indian batsmen, including the current crop and the old masters in the commentator's box, have grievously chased balls that head towards the slips after pitching. It's a given that before an India game, the rivals plot to attack the off-stump, pitch it up and move the ball away. Meanwhile, the fielding coaches pay special attention to the slip cordon and wicketkeepers sweat it out as they practice holding onto fine edges."