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Play two spinners overseas - Kumble

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 14, 2014

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R Ashwin reacts to M Vijay dropping a catch off his bowling, India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 1st day, November 14, 2013
R Ashwin played only one of the four Tests in South Africa and New Zealand © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Anil Kumble | VVS Laxman
Teams: India

Anil Kumble has said India must choose their best bowling combination in away Tests even if that means including two spinners in the line-up. In the four Tests India played in South Africa and New Zealand, India went with only one spinner in each Test, with Ravindra Jadeja being preferred over R Ashwin in three of them.

"If your two spinners are among your best bowlers they should play, irrespective of the conditions," Kumble told the Hindu. "Do you change your batting line-up just because you are playing abroad? You expect your batsmen to adapt. It's the same with bowlers.

"You cannot go in with a pre-conceived notion that the spinners will only play a defensive role away from the sub-continent," he said. "For instance, you cannot expect Virender Sehwag to play differently whatever be the country. It depends on the kind of bowler you are."

Kumble also took a dig at India's tactics in the recent away Tests saying the players were not proactive on the field. "You cannot sit and wait for things to happen," he said. "In India, the two spinners will attack and pick wickets from either end. It doesn't happen that way abroad. You have to strategise.

"The batsmen play a lot of shots these days, even in Tests. Even a mid-on, a midwicket or a cover becomes a catching position. But you need to have a plan."

VVS Laxman, however, spoke out in support of the seamers, who he thought bowled well in the Tests, but said that as a unit, the bowlers needed to develop skills with the Kookaburra ball.

"We need bowlers who can swing the ball at a telling pace to strike when the pitch flattens," Laxman said. "The Kookaburra ball does not swing after the first 30 overs or so and we need to maintain the ball.

"Often when we see big partnerships develop, we forget small things like maintaining the ball and retaining its shine for a longer period. It's not about reverse swing alone. It's also about conventional swing with the older ball."

Terming Ishant Sharma as the "most hard-working pacemen I have seen," Laxman said the bowler's wrist position, which has been frequently pointed as the reason for his lack of movement, was good in the Wellington Test.

"He was brilliant in New Zealand," Laxman said. "A lot has been said about his wrist position. But I thought his wrist position was upright and exemplary in the Wellington Test.

Laxman added that India's seamers also needed to work harder to improve their ability to bowl at the death in the limited-overs matches. "Yorker is all about practice," he said. "Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have useful yorkers but they should work more on their control. It's not an easy delivery to bowl and execution is important.

"He [Ishant] never had a good yorker. His strengths as a bowler are his bounce and seam movement."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

@Nampally, To cut it short. 1. Indian should accept the fact that Speed has no subsitute. If you try n bowl yorker at 120-130 KMPH, it will be slaughtered out of the ground. 2. I am talking of bowler who can bowl in excess of 140 KMPH 3. There is no point from the fact That India is missing genuine fast bowlers... Pace has NO SUBSTITUTE. We Indians have to accept this fact rather than looking for shortcuts in mediocre spinners. 4. As regards to Ashwin / Ojha,... 5. Finally look for pacement (Real stuff) and we need to make upcoming generations about the benefits of Fast Bowling in Cricket else they will also continue to hide behind the fact and will keep pushing for Spinners just to save the face from ignonimity.

Posted by Nampally on (March 17, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

@Rohit Kumar: Taking 20 wkts. in any Test Match is a tough task for any team. It requires skilful bowlers be it Fast or spinners. You also need the strategy of getting each of the opposing batsmen out with a certain bowler with specific field setting. Pace Bowlers are important part of the Bowling Combo because the New ball moves in the air as well as it seams of the pitch. Bowlers like Fazal Mahmood of Pakistan were superb in bowling leg cutters. But you cannot make the Fast Bowlers do the "Donkey work" + take the wkts. This is what the Indian Captain, Dhoni expects with his naïve thinking. He bowled Shami, Ishant & Zaheer (>35 years) each over 50 overs in a single Innings. Strangely enough these were the only 3 Bowling specialists. All rounder jadeja was the 4th bowler. Spinners in the squad were Chawla or Ojha but permanently benched. Only Off spinning All rounder, Ashwin was dropped as well. Can you Pl. explain how can Dhoni expect 20 wkts with 3 bowlers - "No Tactics but Antics"!

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 7:37 GMT)

@Nampally, I agree with you on the point made by you that Dhoni keeps 3 bowlers (although he clearly favors some bowlers, who does not deserve to be in Team).

See, India issues has been weak bowling for the last 100 years, they could in all be considered average bowling attack even with India great spinners during their playing days. We need to be a fearsome bowling attack, that can take 20 wickets on all surface. For that too happen we really need to start appreciating what speed brings to cricket, that extra edge which no spinner can bring. Yes we do need spinners to take wickets, but thinking that only spinners can take 20 wickets is beyond logic. Only a genuine quick bowlers can take the advantage of swing / reverse swing / 2 short balls per over... We cannot miss these opportunity. can we?

Posted by Nampally on (March 16, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

@Rohit Kumar: You ask where are all the Indian spinners? My answer is count all the guys on the Bench in the past 100 matches. You will always find guys like Rahul Sharma, Chawla, Mishra, Ojha, Rasool & even Ashwin on the bench. The Indian selectors have a squad of 15 but some guys-spinners- are permanently confined to Bench. Sir, you develop the Bowlers, be it spinners or Pacers, by playing them in the XI on a consistent basis so that they play confidently & perform well. Captains like Pataudi, Wadekar or even Ganguly & Dravid in the recent times developed Spinners by playing them in the XI. Pataudi was not afraid to play 4 spinners in the XI in Australia! When Captain Dhoni has no room for more than 3 Specialist Bowlers, how can any bowler let alone a spinner play in the XI. India needs Pataudi's to Lead Indian XI Not Dhoni's- always defensive & lacking in strategy, tactics & zero confidence in his bowlers. This (-) approach has brought Indian bowling to its knees as the weakest!

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

Talking of spinners, where are the spinners in India at present, there is this guy Ashwin who is a total ...failure in bowling abroad… Does not possess any art like Saqlain, Vettori, .. He needs to understand that he will not get RANK TURNER like he gets them in India., Besides miserable bowling everyone knows his credential as a fielder.. I guess he can give a tough competition to munaf patel… Also his inability to throw from deep is another factor that should be concerned as fielding is of utmost importance. He is not the most athletic around and you can very well see how he misses those catches that could be easily taken by raina, kohli, rahane… each DROP catch can COST us heavily considering the plight of our bowling…. Can we really afford this??? Coming onto Ojha… he should rather coaching from monty panesar as to how to turn the ball in overseas condition. his weak and half follow thru can only be useful in great indian truners...

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

I dont think Kumble has assessed the situation very well on the contrary VVS is absolutely right..

1. We need pace bowler who can actually bowl quick Unlike the likes of Venkatesh prasad , Vinay kumar & co.

2. In India , people have this notion that if anybody who will bowl quick then he will not have control over line & lenghth... What crap.. Compare the likes of Brett lee, Mitchel Johnson, Steyn vs Prasad, Vinay, .. you will get the answers.

3. The upcoming pacers like Umesh Yadav, varon , Shami should be encouraged to bowl quick.. We can definitely take some cues from great leaders like Imran Khan, Ricky ponting, Steve Waugh who encouraged their bowler to bowl quick and become wicket taking bowlers ( Lee, Wasim, Waqar are the beneficiary of such leadership) owling 4. We must understand that there is ABSOLUTELY NO SUNSTITUTE FOR REALLY FAST BOWLER, the sooner we understand this the better it is for Indian cricket.

Posted by ProdigyA on (March 14, 2014, 17:11 GMT)

India's pace attack always keeps taking the blame for overseas losses but the real problem is with the spinners. Many times we have seen that pacers take wickets with the new ball and the openers are dismissed cheaply, even in ODI but the spinners fail to pick middle order wickets.

I agree with Nampally, Dhoni's team selection is just baffling, picking all rounders who neither contribute with bal or bat is useless. Pick specialst wicket taking bowlers like Ohja or Mishra who can win matches.

Posted by Nampally on (March 14, 2014, 14:45 GMT)

Mr. Ramnarayan wrote about need for 2 spinners in the Indian XI in a separate Blog. Now Kumble is reinforcing the same. The big problem is Dhoni! He used just 3 specialist Bowlers in 5 day tests consistently in SA & NZ. He even made ZAK, Shami & Ishant do the Donkey work by bowling >50 overs each in a single innings! Dhoni shows gross lack of understanding in selection + handling of his Bowlers - single most important quality for any Test or ODI Captain. His craze for using All Rounders as opposed to "specialist Bowlers" has rendered Indian Bowling so weak that it is last in all Major Nations. Irrespective of Kumble or Laxman's views, Dhoni will follow his own rationale. Spinners were always backbone of India till Dhoni took over the captaincy. The Selectors always gave a squad with spinners like Mishra & Ojha. But Dhoni promptly benched them, Batting alone cannot win matches. India needs 5 Bowlers in Tests with a strategy to get 20 wkts. India needs a NEW Captain who can do IT!

Posted by Cric_savy on (March 14, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

I won't blame Dhoni. Even the best of captains would struggle to win matches with this pathetic bowling line up !!!

Posted by wolf777 on (March 14, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

If Kookaburra ball does not swing after 30 overs or so, than a bowler like Bhuwaneshwar Kumar become useless for 45 overs. That leaves the lone remaining other fast bowlers and two spinner to complete 45 overs. Not possible. Only way two spinners could work is by taking either Rohit Sharma or Rahane out. Besides, India need someone other than Ashwin as he cannot perform overseas.

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