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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

When in India, don't just rely on spin

If you're a visiting captain, pick a variety of quality bowlers - fast and slow. And if you're a batsman up against slow bowlers, watch the ball closely and use your feet

Ian Chappell

October 24, 2010

Comments: 78 | Text size: A | A

Richie Benaud bowls in the nets during Australia's 1956 tour of England
It wasn't always that spinners went to die in India. Richie Benaud took 52 wickets under 20 in eight Tests there © PA Photos
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When his Australian team was enjoying unprecedented success, Steve Waugh described India as "the last frontier". It's time to scrap that title and adopt a new one: India, the place where Australian spinners go to die. On recent tours there has been a steady parade of Australian spinners who have "died" quicker than a dull comedian.

Even the best of them, Shane Warne, while he didn't expire, didn't prosper. The most successful of the recent Australian spinners was Jason Krejza, and even though he took a bundle of wickets in one match, he paid a heavy price for each. And since that tour Krejza's been banished to the back blocks of Tasmania.

Is it the ability of India's batsmen to counter good spinners or are the selected tweakers not up to the task? It's a combination of both.

There's no doubt Indian batsmen are superior to their counterparts in other teams when it comes to playing spinners. I asked Warne how he thought he performed, following the 2000-01 tour. "I didn't think I bowled that badly," was his response. "You didn't," I replied, "it was just that batsmen like VVS Laxman played you so well."

As good as he was, Warne couldn't combat a player who could dance three metres out of his crease and caress the delivery past mid-on and then sashay back to the stumps and pull the next one to the midwicket boundary. I haven't seen a batsman with better footwork than Laxman during that superlative 281 in Kolkata.

However, there's no doubt the Australian spinners offered up in 2008-09 were a bunch of sacrificial lambs. The idea of using Cameron White, himself a part-timer, with a series of batsmen who bowled slow, was a flawed plan right from the outset. It received its just desserts: a 2-0 flogging.

By the time Australia played a frontline spinner, the series was all over bar the shouting, and Krejza's wicket-taking spree was wasted. On that tour Australia planned to rely on their pacemen to take the bulk of the wickets, hoping that batsmen who bowled slow would then pick off a few of the rabbits.

Australia is not the first team to try this ruse. The difference is the quality of the West Indies quicks who achieved success in India during the eighties. For president Bill Clinton, it may have been the economy, but for cricket selectors "it's the quality of the bowlers, stupid".

I asked Warne how he thought he performed following the 2000-01 tour; "I didn't think I bowled that badly," was his response. "You didn't," I replied, "it was just that batsmen like VVS Laxman played you so well."

I'm not surprised Indian batsmen play spinners without fear. I thought I knew a thing or two about playing spin before the Australian tour of India in 1969-70. However, I learned lessons about playing spin on that tour that stood me in good stead for the rest of my career. I never feared spinners or pitches that assisted them ever again.

Watch the ball out of the bowler's hand and then follow it even more closely off the pitch was lesson No. 1. Finding a way to survive the first 20 minutes was next on the list. These were important lessons.

I would have hated to enter the contest with the Indian spinners thinking I wasn't going to leave my crease. This is a huge failing in modern coaching and the sooner young batsmen are taught the correct footwork, the better equipped they'll be to tackle all conditions.

On that 1969-70 tour, Australian offspinner Ashley Mallett bowled brilliantly and took 28 wickets at under 20. Certainly the quality of the Indian batting line-up didn't match that of the present team, but they were still good enough to combat John Gleeson. The Indian batsmen forced the Australian selectors to omit the man dubbed "the mystery bowler" from the last two Tests.

Prior to Mallett, Richie Benaud took 52 wickets at less than 20 in eight Tests in India. However, it's worth noting that left-arm fast bowler Alan Davidson, in Benaud's time, and right-arm fast bowler Graham McKenzie, on Mallett's tour, had good success, taking their wickets at below 20.

The moral of the story: if you want to experience success in India, pick a variety of quality bowlers - both fast and spin. There has only been one team - the West Indies of the eighties - that could survive on quality fast bowling alone.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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Posted by Karthik_Ram on (October 26, 2010, 15:56 GMT)

(Continued....) So I deem this as an absolutely ridiculous article by an absolutely ridiculous critic. Be a neutral when you are criticizing or praising a player or a team. He also says that India is number one "by the computers". This again goes on to show that he is completely biased and not a neutral critic.

"Mirror Mirror on the wall. Am I a mindless lunatic critic who writes artlices to get footage and not to reflect the real state of the player?" The mirror would have answered, "HELL YES, stop writing such articles and go feed your grand children".

Posted by Karthik_Ram on (October 26, 2010, 15:54 GMT)

How can Chappell once again take a nothing-topic in hand when there are loads to write about the true performers of the game? He just does not want to accept that fact that Indians are way ahead of Australians at the moment and Sachin Tendulkar is miles out of reach for Ricky Ponting. Consider the reverse situation here: Australia won India 2-0 / Ponting made scores of 98, 38, 214 & 53* / Sachin scores 3 70's & a single digit score. Now what would Chappell write about?? will he be talking about how Indian spinners should have bowled better and will he be quoting how Harbhajan took 28 wickets in the series in 2001? He will be pouring laurels on Ricky and will again ask Sachin to take a look at the un-existing mirror. He would have said Sachin has lost it in him to reach hundreds. (To be Continued...)

Posted by narayanm on (October 26, 2010, 2:17 GMT)

absolutely right .. but even than you are not guaranteed success in india ... obviously the steve waugh's team had it all but they lost ... but without it . obviously there is no chance .... i think the current indian team are the strongest side at home in the world .. since the 20 odd years of cricket i have been watching

Posted by   on (October 26, 2010, 0:05 GMT)

Interestingly I think the Pakistani spinners have done well in India... Iqbal Qasim and even the lesser known Tauseef Ahmed have tormented Indian batsman at times. I think Tauseef used to frustrate Indian batsman with one on the leg turning away... Perhaps that may all not work with the current Indian team... But may be worth finding some good slow bowling options on flat wickets....

Posted by PlayOnlyCricket on (October 25, 2010, 18:03 GMT)

"If you're a visiting captain, pick a variety of quality bowlers" --- on earlier tours Australia had bolwers like McCgrath,Warne,Lee,Gillespie and Steve Waugh himself was very good medium pace bowler.. what variety Ian is talking about? or he is saying all these bowlers were not good enough?

Posted by jay57870 on (October 25, 2010, 14:38 GMT)

(Continued). Which leads me to issue Chappell another simple challenge (similar to the one he had once asked of Sachin): Ask "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best - Sarah or me?" It would have answered: "Sarah, of course. Doubly. She's fair (honesty) and fair (looks)." Again, if Ian asked the same mirror now: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, should I retire?" The answer would be:"You're fired" - Famous catchphrase of the other famous Donald (Trump), host of the NBC TV reality show "The Apprentice." Because Chappell is not meeting the high standards expected of a responsible columnist, is losing credibility and is wasting time trying to eke out a writing career and should go immediately. Truth be told, this is the same sort of free unsolicited advice Ian gave Sachin after the Indian team had unceremoniously made a first round exit from the 2007 World Cup and his brother Greg thereafter had been sacked as India's coach. Lesson: If you dish it out, be prepared to take it too.

Posted by jay57870 on (October 25, 2010, 14:27 GMT)

Here he goes again: Chappell the Spin Doctor spinning stories about spinners in India. Exposed. By picking such lazy flavour-of-the-minute topics, he reveals his true colours: Hiding from Reality and dodging the most relevant story to rivet the cricketing world this month -- A most thrilling and hard-fought Australia-India Test series, India's top Test ranking and Sachin Tendulkar's amazing heroics as the world's best batsman. Worse, he avoids my simple challenge: Look at himself in the "honest mirror" (see my post in his last column on VVS). What would Ian see? Two faces: His own covered with egg; the other Sarah Murdoch's horrified face. Recall Murdoch had mistakenly announced the wrong winner while hosting the finale of "Australia's Next Top Model" TV show. However, she had the guts to admit her gaffe, promptly apologized and declared the rightful winner. Lesson: Be honest. You cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Truth prevails. TBC

Posted by Proteas123 on (October 25, 2010, 11:39 GMT)

@spinkingKK - I agree that all the current teams would need to out bat India to win in india, but only because there arn't many quality bowling attacks around. With a good pace attack, the job can be done. SA white washed India in 2000, ending Tendulkar's captaincy career, with Boje and a very good pace attack backed up by a decent but not brilliant batting line up.

Posted by Nuxxy on (October 25, 2010, 8:15 GMT)

I think the thing foreign spinners miss most in India, to quote Bedi is: "On a turner the most dangerous ball is the one that goes through straight." It's like when pace bowlers arrive in England, they have to learn to bowl a different length. In India, spin bowlers have to learn to rely on flight and control over big turn.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (October 25, 2010, 6:05 GMT)

The Indian team over the past 15 years have had good batsmen, who could always hold their own when it came to scoring runs against any competition. It's their bowlers who have been pathetically weak historically, giving away huge runs even if they do manage to get the opposition out. Thus one has always seen the opposition scoring big time ( because of lack of ability of the Indian bowlers rather than the ability of the batsmen themselves ) and the Indian batsmen struggling to match up. India could win all the matches they wish in any format, with their current batting strength, on any ground, if only they had bowlers who consistently took wickets. Bhajji and Zaheer are the only ones now, but 2 wicket taking bowlers is never enough to nail 20 opposition wickets in a test match. When India has 4 top notch wicket taking bowlers it would become unbeatable. India has all the best batsmen and Pak all the talented bowlers (fast and spin) in the world.

Posted by redneck on (October 25, 2010, 5:27 GMT)

@cricnanda i think your overrating your crowd factor! do the people of mohali/chandigara even get told theres a test match on in their city? cos it looks like crap when tests are played their infront of those cement steps! and even a hostile crowd at mumbi or eden gardens can actually spur a visiting player on in certain situations. and lastly indias not the only place that can get 50000 plus supporters to a days play, just watch boxing day and the new years tests! players are used to it by now! i would say those massive insects and bee swarms flying around at bangalore are more of a distraction to the players than anything the crowd does!

Posted by JustLoveCricket on (October 25, 2010, 4:26 GMT)

You need to have quality bowler - not pretenders. SA did well in India as they had quality bowlers. AUS is not doing well because they lack quality bowlers. SIMPLE

Posted by   on (October 25, 2010, 3:27 GMT)

Another Great Article by Ian Chappell. Funny how we heard excuses about Warne shoulder problem in 2001 series loss and here he made no such excuses. McGill said the same thing about India batsman after the 2003-04 series in Australia. But, it's not just about footwork. Sehwag has none but has tremendous hand-eye coordination. Dravid is a lot about mental strength and sound technique, Tendulkar about innovation and adapting and balance. And all these together average 50+ oversees. Enjoy these fab 4 while it lasts. It is indeed a one in a lifetime chance to see all play in the same team at the same time.

Posted by   on (October 25, 2010, 2:21 GMT)

Absolutely agreed with what chappel says, Pakistan performed well against India in last tours. Yousuf & Younis doing their best with footwork, Performed very well against Harbhajan & Kumble. Cricket has changed, Science is more involved now, Its more technical now a days. I am glad India beat Australia, If we form team with indian batsmen & Pakistani bowlers they will be the world's best.

Posted by Yorker_ToeCrusher on (October 25, 2010, 1:19 GMT)

@Alexk400..Mate,you are alays paranoid and u always open your mouth to have a say a bad thing or two against indian batsmen.Check your facts.You think they play only ordinary spinners?Thats a stupid observation.

Posted by Yorker_ToeCrusher on (October 25, 2010, 1:12 GMT)

As one of the readers pointed out,England's Swann has the potential to be very successful in india.He has got the class to bowl against the best batsmen of spin bowling and we will have to wait till England's next tour of India.Thanks.sreek,bangalore.

Posted by Peter_Walters on (October 25, 2010, 0:27 GMT)

A spinner in order to be very successful in India must be either very accurate with no flight or beat the batsmen in flight. Prassana, Bedi, and Venkat were very successful in the domestic competitions because of this. Warne and Qadir did not have these extreme traits. Qadir was dropped for a test in India. The Indian great spinners of the good old days were defending very low scores, 200-. Yet, Prasanna and Bedi had the courage to flight the ball and deceive the West Indian greats. I know Prasanna personally well and admired the way he analyzed the batsmen.

Posted by CricketkaFunda on (October 24, 2010, 23:26 GMT)

@ Valavan, Do you seriously follow cricket, dude? What major tournament are you talking about? India has won every ICC tournament. They won test series in WI when mighty WI were the best in world. Infact, they were the first Asian team (or second after WI, overall) to win one world cup, only after WI. First team to win t20 WC. Most times Asian cup winners. Champions trophy winner. Stopped mighty Australians winning streaks two times in test. They were the one who gave always good competitions to Australians, when they were at top. Holding ICC top ranking since one year and just beaten top ranking Australians in ODI .As far as, umpire decisions are concerned, world knows how rough decisions they got in Australia because of which they were robbed of series win. The fact is fact and I just stated that. Srilankans alongwith their captain Sangakkara are cry babies. They always have some reason or other for their loss and never gives credit to opposition.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 22:48 GMT)

While I partly agree with Chappel about the spinners, pacers who can reverse the ball are equally important. The fact that Zaheer Khan took more wickets than any other bowler in the series testifies to that.

Posted by hatrick26 on (October 24, 2010, 22:46 GMT)

Continuing on @Alex's Theme...Bradman's avg. only around 50 during Bodyline so his weakness is short pitched..aimed at the body...dont you wonder the WI Pace of 80s/Aus with Lillee/Thomo would have taken care of him. Next up.. Sobers had poor record in Australia..so hard bouncy wickets are his problem. Lara's record is poor in India and rather than spinners troubling him his weakness is he does not play well when the pitch is slow and does not come onto bat. Oh Sir Viv had all sorts of problems against genunine leg spin & Chandra (Viv himself said so.) and is also evidenced by Hirwanis match. Ponting..one word:Bajji enuff said.. his pathetic record in India particularly 1998 tour...see if you pick up any batsman in history we can come up with some thing like this.

Posted by Alexk400 on (October 24, 2010, 22:44 GMT)

Remember Bombay test against england. india all out for 100 in second innings. No name udal was killing india. Because he was aggressive. http://india-england.cricket.deepthi.com/india-england-mumbai-test-2006.html check scoreboard.

Same thing. India choked in srilanka against spin. If you remove sehwag india would have lost many many matches against srilanka.

Posted by Alexk400 on (October 24, 2010, 22:38 GMT)

Funda, I play devils advocate.Everyone have weakness. Sachin has weakness. Sachin strength is good analysis of situation for him to score runs. he is tentative at the beginning because he need more balls to get a feeling. He is a big lbw candidate if you can bowl fast straight. Also if u can bowl at chest length on the off stump he will knick one. Mcgrath was the master in getting sachin. The problem is always find a right bowler who can bowl right ball at different batsman. Not all teams possess good bunch of fast bowlers. Strauss will kill india if india don't have zaheer khan. ZK is antidote to strauss. Same way some batsman gets out particular bowler often because their technique has been found out. Good thing about sachin is that he correct his flaw compare to other batsman like sehwag. Sehwag flaw is he can't control himself when the ball is up and outside off. if sewhwag only judge the situation , he will be awsome. Also sehwag should let go of ego of master batsman. KP is same.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 22:34 GMT)

Watch the ball out of the hand? Use your feet against the spinners? What are you going to tell us next time, Ian - that it's important to bowl to your field? That catches win matches? Disappointingly trite article. Cricinfo needs better quality control going forward.

Posted by Zigor on (October 24, 2010, 21:23 GMT)

Ok guys! This is not fair. I think we all have to give some credit to India. They deserve it. They are performing well and they are beating the best. I am a neutral fan. I would like to say that as much as I don't like ranking systems, Indians are still the best. I seriously feel they will beat SA in SA this time around, that to comprehensively.

Posted by Trishcric on (October 24, 2010, 21:22 GMT)

Well, in the recently ended test series between Australia and India, it's seamers who took most of the wickets

Wicket taken by seamers : 40 Wicket taken by spinners: 29

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 21:17 GMT)

2 or 3 genuine quality quiks will bother any team in virtually any conditions not only India

Posted by Graeme_Swanns_Cat on (October 24, 2010, 21:01 GMT)

You're right Ian, especially when you guys have such rubbish spinners ;-)

Posted by sahil_cricrazy on (October 24, 2010, 18:28 GMT)

Ian i don't agree with ur choice as Laxman's footwork being the best.....If u really want to see someone's better footwork then watch the 1998 series when Sachin just smashed Warne all around...That's Sachin at his best and the best footwork at display.......His slog sweeps,pulls, paddle sweeps.drives and square cuts were just majestic........Alas after that series Sachin just changed his approach and the world couldn'r see the same Sachin again.........

Posted by Shash28 on (October 24, 2010, 17:25 GMT)

You only got to look at the success of South Africa in India to know the solution is not spin. A good spinner helps, but if you 3-4 guys who can bowl 90 mps and do a bit of reverse swing... you should have a good chance.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 17:15 GMT)

@CricketkaFunda, india is not till the top of ODI table, its only tests. Lot of wrong decisions in SL series. Indians are of one kind, when opposition gets wrong decision, its umpire's decision but if they get thats it its end of world, loads of time india got favorable decisions as well. Wake up guys first win a major tourner and then chest thumppp. even bengalis white washed NZ, the same team lost in ODI series in NZ against India.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 16:53 GMT)

If you really want to win in India, pick some very good fast bowlers. Period. Indians don't play swing and reverse swing well - and about the only way you can get Indian batsmen cheap is with some quality pace and swing. Dale Steyn proved it, so have the Pakistanis and West Indians in the past. The bad part for touring teams of this generation is - even if you pack quality fast bowlers in your team - 2 sessions of of Sehwag can nullify that effect. So let's just wait for the Fab-3 and Sehwag to retire - we might see some foreigners gaining success in India.

Posted by Mark00 on (October 24, 2010, 16:39 GMT)

Lara was the only batsman who could rival laxman's footwork.

Posted by cricnanda on (October 24, 2010, 16:31 GMT)

Not quality spinners or fast bowlers. Every visiting team must bring hundred thousand supporters along with their squad. It is because of the crowd that the visiting teams suffer and then ultimately loose the match. The visiting teams shiver to death once they step inside packed stadiums like Eden Gardens, Mumbai and Bangalore. So, first get your crowd and then talk about quality spinners, fast bowlers, batsmen. Nothing works in India mate. The crowds will kill you.

Posted by mumbaiguy79 on (October 24, 2010, 16:18 GMT)

Sounds like an article written just for the heck of it. We all know Ian that Indians play spin better than anyone. But look at Saqlain's record here in India. He had variations in his bowling and could bowl 6 different balls in an over. Warne no doubt is in the same league, but his confidence was shattered at Brabourne against Ranji Champions Mumbai in 1998 and he never recovered well after that. Hauritz is a one dimensional bowler. I'm sure someone like Ajmal or Swann can and will do better than Hauritz in India.

Posted by Icyman on (October 24, 2010, 16:16 GMT)

Chappelli is right. Jason Krezja is just one example he has taken. If I am not mistaken, there was a Colin Miller and another one in 1998 by the name of Robertson who survived only because of his batting. Hogg,is perhaps the only one who did not die out post the series success in 2004.

Posted by CricketkaFunda on (October 24, 2010, 16:02 GMT)

@ Alexk400, you showed so much grudge against Indians. Is there any thing good about Indian batsmen or bowlers? I wonder still they are top of the table in test and ODI and winning almost every series. Other team players think that Sachin has three metres wide bat and you think he has this shortcoming and that shortcoming. Why don't you become bowler against India in every match only then you'll share the pain of bowlers who bowls against Indian batsmen. Give credit where it is due, Indian batsmen are best in world and their bowlers do reasonably well. Even in recently concluded series. It was other team who made more than 400 still India chased down that target and their bowlers including fast bowlers did really well to bowled them out cheaply in second innings. You are talking of Srilanka series, there were so much wrong decisions against Indians in Srilanka still they managed to drew series there which not other country does. It is Indians who solved their mystery spinners mystery.

Posted by ultrasnow on (October 24, 2010, 15:31 GMT)

Indians love Jason Krackjack biscuit

Posted by waspsting on (October 24, 2010, 15:08 GMT)

Saqlain and Kaniera did well in India. There was something magical about Saqi's flight - he's the only guy i saw who kept Navjot Sidhu in his crease. only Tendulkar played him well, and even he was very 'respectful' of him. Kaniera is harder to explain, he had leg break and googly, but not particularly good flight. Lara massacared him.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 14:54 GMT)

I think its a very silly article. When was the last time, Aus, NZ, SA, Eng ever played two spinners in india. Not in the last decade at least. Its very well known that the indians are good players of spin. And he seems to be contradicting himself a little bit. First he says don't rely on spin, and then he says that don't just rely on pace because only one team has been succesful in history in doing so. If his point was to have both quality pacers, and quality spinners then he really does know how to point out the obvious. Every team has at least one spinner, so there is no real point to this article.

Posted by Stark62 on (October 24, 2010, 14:35 GMT)

With the WC cup so close now, why don't we have a look at the odi stats per team in India against India with the win/loss ratio.

Pak: 1.88 WI: 1.53 Aus: 1.35 SA: 0.69 Eng: 0.61 SL: 0.39 NZ: 0.31

However, Aus and WI have won the most odi matches in Ind with 23 a piece.


Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 14:21 GMT)

@Alexk400 - Lolzz.... u were so desperate.... lolzzz.... :D I can understand - 0-2 n 0-1 is not easy to digest!! Take care buddy.... :)

Posted by kvirdi on (October 24, 2010, 13:01 GMT)

Hey Alex good observations and hope other teams would be benefited from the same.

FYI- All teams nowdays prepare themselves against each other and study strenght and weakness of players. If you think that Warne and Murali are medicore spinner then I agree that India can only counter medicore spin :). If you will check the records, SL and Aus still use to lose test matches in the presence of these greats. I do agree with Mr. Chappel that you need to have a balanced attack like SA and Eng to compete with India in India at present.

Posted by Hindh on (October 24, 2010, 13:01 GMT)

@alex what abt Ojha a less experienced bowler than hauritz but took more wickets than him on the same pitch without big runs backing him. In both the matches India barely took 1 innings lead. So big runs u mentioned by ind were absent this series.

Posted by UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on (October 24, 2010, 12:47 GMT)

Ian, please tell Greg to make Alex400 Australia's coach cum captain....he knows every opposition's weakness...ha..ha..ha.......Ian is right, its very rarely that opposition spinners have succeed against India in or out of India.....ask Warne & Murali.....& its only quality fast bowlers who can win matches in India......one of the reason being batsman friendly pitches in India...by the way Australia have also been graveyard for many an opposition fast bowlers....especially from the Indian sub-continent.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 12:45 GMT)

alexk400 ...looks like you have figured out every weakness of Indian batsmen...great discovery..I think now australian cricket board should appoint you the coach so that they can win in India....although I am just wondering why previous coaches never thought about these weaknesses and tried to get indians out before they score even 10 runs.

Posted by K_RAJEEV on (October 24, 2010, 12:29 GMT)

India certainly got better batting line up than the current Australian team at least under Indain pitches. Can they show the same domination out side India?. Which time and time again showed an emphatic no You don't need quality spinners to beat India in India. look at the Windi es of the 80's. If my recollection is right, they bulldozed the Indian team to 4-0 or something in that series soon after the world cup You don't need quality spinners to win in India- what you need is 4 guys who can bown higher 80mph through out the day.

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (October 24, 2010, 12:28 GMT)

Key to success in India is genuine wicket taking bowlers either fast or spinning variety. On Indian pitches there is value for every test wicket and some of the grounds do offer -albeit little, help in each ground be it Chennai ,Mumbai or Eden Gardens. That morning breeze or the afternoon breeze would make an old ball wobble a bit and players need to be really switched on to take the opportunity.India has lost tests at home to bowlers like Windies of '80s, Hadlee-Bracewell duo,Botham , Imran-Akram, Mcgrath-Gillespei, Donald-Deviliiers, Steyn etc. they are from the spectrum of cricketing nations but crucially they are all Hall-of-Famers too who performed at the peak of their careers (after abundance of experience). In a way Indian wickets are like Adelaide just all of them are like it :)

Posted by Biggus on (October 24, 2010, 12:26 GMT)

@Jay Kamdar- I'm not sure that we haven't learned that we need quality spinners in India, it's just that the cupboard is a little bare at the moment.

Posted by Vkarthik on (October 24, 2010, 12:24 GMT)

Pakistan is an average team. Nobody worries about performing against Pakistan. Sehwag has singlehandedly destroyed Pakistan bowlers time and again. Sehwag is enough for Pakistan. So All pak fans stop crying about your "bowling talent". You guys got 2 innings defeat in your own backyard where Sehwag finished Saqlain's career.

Posted by smile2010 on (October 24, 2010, 12:22 GMT)

Alex, i am amused at your comments. You claim that indians choke against aggressive spin bowling. Well in that case you are admiting that your greatest leg spinner, warne is aftwr all an ordinary spin bowler as warne never had any great success against the indians! Well the fact is that india has beaten the aussies more often than not in the past few years ans for that matter has won against most teams and rightfully the no.1 team in test cricket. No point in being envious buddy!

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 11:12 GMT)

Good article; but hardly any insights for an aspiring batsmen who sets out to play spin. While I agree that one needs variety in bowling, captains always do not have that luxury; the visiting SA team employed mainly fast bowlers and did not lose wickets to spinners; they did alright and considering the results in this aussie series, SA did very well to draw their last series 1-1 in India. So the best bet is to back what you have best (be it fast or medium or slow bowling) rather than make up a mediocre something (like aussie spin in 2008) cos the weak link will almost always be taken to cleaners; and this is not just in India but in countries like SA or ENG or AUS or SL (in SL).

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 10:34 GMT)

I think the key is to not lose wickets in heap. If you see in most home series in India there will be 3-4 wickets lost in a heap which would change the direction of the match. Also the Indian bowlers don't like the challenge of bowling at a set batsman. Hence when a wicket is lost bringing a new batsman to the crease the bowlers will be pepped up and bowl with a lot of energy. Ricky Ponting understood that in this series but couldn't capitalize on it. SO THE KEY IS NOT LOSE TWO SET BATSMEN TOGETHER. WHEN ONE IS OUT THE OTHER HAS TO CONSOLIDATE AND TRY TO FORM A GOOD PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NEW BATSMAN INSTEAD OF TRYING TO DOMINATE.

Posted by sameersky on (October 24, 2010, 10:14 GMT)

go alexk400.. everyone including the aussie cricket team know about it.. the thing is there is a difference between knowing something and doing it perfectly ... otherwise cricket was as easy as u wrote.. other thing indian spinners bowl well because they have big score behind them???? answer: because batsmen have played the bowlers who already had plans like u wrote but did not put it correct on the ground... even kenya ,ireland,scotland make plans...but the difference shows on the field.... EVERYONE KNOW THEIR HOME BETTER THAN OTHERS..that includeeveryone

Posted by Alexk400 on (October 24, 2010, 9:18 GMT)

Indian spinners do well because they always have big runs to back them up. Opposition do not. That is da only reason. Also the crowd gives lots of energy. All it need is one mistake from batsman.

So what you need is a clever spin bowler not a machine against indian batsman. Hauritz is a monotonous giving of a 4 in every over relieve pressure.

Indians never like fast and bouncy ball. you really need 2 bowlers who can bounce them out and also one accurate swing bowler. I thought hilfenhaus bowled very well in indian conditions.

Posted by Alexk400 on (October 24, 2010, 9:11 GMT)

Indians play mediocre spin very well when fast bowlers are not upto the mark. Hauritz lacks killer bowler instinct. I always felt indians choke against aggressive spin bowling. Also in INDIA , indians gets energy from crowd. So spin can only work if fast bowlers are threatening. Problem with aussie spin bowling is that it relieves the pressure. To really good in India , you have to be on the stumps and spinning big. VVS laxman has a weakness. The problem is aussie never had a bowler who can bowl incutter like muhammed asif. Asif owned VVS laxman and ate him alive in pak tour. Every one has weakness based on their technique. Sachin is big LBW candidate. Sehwag out on big tennis ball bounce on offstump. VVS laxman is BIG zero in IN SWING. DRAVID outside off stump...he pokes at it if the ball pitched on middle stump and leave.yuvaraj is out on every slow trajectory ball. Dhoni out on fast outswinger every time. Raina out on every slow short ball chest high because he tend to mistime.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 9:03 GMT)

Haha-mister Chappel forgot that SA has probably been the most succesful team in India over the last 2 decades without ever having a quality spinner...it can be done with fast bowlers...ask Dale Steyn and Allan Donald

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (October 24, 2010, 8:56 GMT)

Why to cry australia, you just won a series in 2004 in India. Its enough to win one series in 10 years in India. Its really hard to win in India. Like its hard to win in Australia against australia. Keep on playing with all options and once in 10 year you will click. All is obselete.

Posted by spinkingKK on (October 24, 2010, 8:36 GMT)

I think the key to winning in India is to find the batsmen who can play the Indian spinners very well. This is what happened in 2004 when Australia won, because Damien martin and Michael Clarke consistently tormented the Indian spinners and the Indian batsmen will struglle against any kind of quality bowlers, whether it is spin, medium pace or fast, when under pressure. India's poor record in SriLanka is also due to the dominance of the SriLankan batsmen over the Indian spinners. To put the Indian batsmen under pressure, the opposition should score more than 500. This was usually enough to get India all out within 300. However, these days, Tendulkar's consistency is getting India out of trouble in those occassions as well. So, having a plan against Tendulkar, albeit difficult, will be a good idea.

Posted by Biggus on (October 24, 2010, 8:24 GMT)

Any spinner with some experience should know that on slower wickets you have to put a lot more overspin on the ball. I learnt this lesson when I played on slow turning pitches in Sydney after learning my craft on the fast, bouncy wickets in Perth. This will make the ball drop much more suddenly, increase the chances of beating the batman in flight, generate more bounce, and of course help the ball to hustle off the pitch. Having said that though, the Indian batsman are so good at playing it that they may murder you anyway, but at least you give yourself a fighting chance.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 8:20 GMT)

sorry Ian next time you try ur luck for Aussies..........

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 7:48 GMT)

Ian hasn't mentioned Greg matt hews who I thought was brilliant and did perform well in India and did trouble the Indians occasionally but he was a quality spinner. I think it's more the quality and variety in spin that matters . If you are good you will trouble the best . Mediocre spinners don't have any role on good batting wickets and will be butchered. Aussies haven't learned that after so many recent tours . Send some of your spinners to train in India learn the art and you will see success on that front

Posted by catalyst213 on (October 24, 2010, 7:34 GMT)

Great article Mr.Chappell, it was beautiful how you started it with 'Steve Waugh' then with Warnie. simple true and nice. Good work !!

Posted by manasvi_lingam on (October 24, 2010, 7:22 GMT)

Nope, Ian you got it wrong... again. The SA teams have always done well because of their quality pace bowlers such as Donald, Pollock, Ntini and Steyn. Another team that did well was the Australian team of 2004 which had McGrath and Gillespe around.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 7:21 GMT)

nicely written article.....Indian batsman are as good as playing spinners as Aussies against fast and rising deliveries, someone need to be exceptionally brilliant (e.g. Murli, warne, Saqlain) to taste the success against India. ..no matter how superb spinner any team has, its important to take early wickets in the first session against India, and that is the job of seamers. that's where Pollock, Donald, Wasim and Waqar, Mcgrath quite good at.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 7:06 GMT)

I think horses for courses. Australia should of disregarded Hauritz for the tests and played 4 paceman. Even though Ian says otherwise. I think it would of been better, if you look at how the pacemen bowled. Just my take on the tour and article.

Posted by usman_nile1994 on (October 24, 2010, 6:34 GMT)

So It is impossible to beat India at home even if you have great tem. Indians are almost impossible to defeat at home. But when they play the same batsmen (barring Dravid) away they become bunnies. I know India had become no.1 by beating top class teams but only at home? If India could defeat SA at their backyard this year they can truly deserve no.1 slot.

Posted by since7 on (October 24, 2010, 6:31 GMT)

Interesting that you didnt mention south africans who have mostly been succeesful in india.They arrive with a battery of seamers but have always manged to trouble indians more than the aussies.Maybe the lack of a quality spinner has made them choose this strategy but an all out seam attack which may not be the west indian one but still a good one nevertheless has always troubled india at home.(even england in india at times)

Posted by hatrick26 on (October 24, 2010, 6:19 GMT)

One can go by history to a point but as Chappell noted the Indian batsmen during those R.Benaud/Mallett's time is nothing compared the golden generation of this era's Indian batsmen. According to me, this set of (from Azhar,Sidhu onwards to Ganguly,SRT, Laxman, Dravid,Sehwag etc.) batsmen are vastly superior and possibly the best players of spin all time. If I had to choose a set of batsmen from same country & same era for a match where only spin bowlers are allowed, easily this set of batsmen would win it hands down and this includes Bradman's invincibles.Their record against possibly the greatest spinners - Murali & Warne - is testament to that.

Posted by tanstell87 on (October 24, 2010, 6:08 GMT)

Chappell is rite....as an Indian fan i love his commentary skills & his columns...India last lost test series in India in 2004 against Australia who had McGrath, Gillespie, Kasprovicz & Warne in their ranks...the absence of Sachin Tendulkar & Zaheer Khan put India on backfoot in first two tests...India had a chance to win second test at Madras...unfortunately rains had the final say...or else the series would have been drawn 2-2...& Australia would not have won the Final Frontier !!!

Posted by azitabhajit on (October 24, 2010, 5:50 GMT)

u missed one other team ian.... south africans have drawn their last two series in india with paul harris being their only specialist spin option.... i don't think a bowler with a strike rate over 80 and an average over 37 can be considered "good".... they relied on their fast bowlers and the bowlers responded.

Posted by RaghuramanR on (October 24, 2010, 5:46 GMT)

An Indian batsman, even at a district level , will play spin very well. If we take even Ranji trophy matches (which is just below 'national' level), bulk of the overs will be and can only be bowled by spinners. The pitches, weather and their physical structure simply prevents fast bowlers to survive, forget thrive, in India. Even among spinners, we know that the most successful, Anil Kumble, is not a big spinner of the ball. It is the nagging accuracy and persistence that will reap rewards in India. Having played so many spinners at first class level and below, it will be surprising if Indian batsmen dont play spin well. It was thus surprising that Indian batsmen fumbled against Ajantha Mendis, who is also quite accurate.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 5:46 GMT)

Ian, whatever you say, comment or suggest is always with a feeling to make a point that Australia is was and will be a better team than India. I understand how painful it's for you to accept the fact that India of late has given so much pain to Australia and Australian Cricket. Your personal grudges against Sachin are known to all and I only wish hope and pray that you realize and understand that Final Frontier is indeed a final frontier that though conquered remains an obsession. The irony is Australia not only struggles in India but if there is any team in last 10 years who made Aus struggle in Aus is India. Live with it and accept it, that won't give you sleepless nights rather a peaceful comfortable sleep and please for God sake stop giving examples of 70's 80's 90's… we are in 2010's with Australia on #5 in current ranking and that's what matters and yeah just an FYI, India is # 1.

Posted by amarkin on (October 24, 2010, 5:19 GMT)

It wasn't always that spinners went to die in India. Richie Benaud took 52 wickets under 20 in eight <b>wickets</b> there ??

Posted by intcamd on (October 24, 2010, 4:27 GMT)

Pick a variety of quality bowlers?

You can't pick what you don't have.

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (October 24, 2010, 4:23 GMT)

As a well known spinner said about Indian batsman's ability to play spin, "it is not that they pick me out of my hand, they don't, it is like they don't care". That says it all. If great Murali and Warne could not dominate Indian batsman then no one will for a long long time.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 4:20 GMT)

It is a very nice observation, that beating India in India with pace is almost impossible. I think Aussies did manage it once in 2003 though.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2010, 4:15 GMT)

in my cricket viewing lifetime, the only overseas spinner who has been successful in India was Saqlain in 1999, when he took 5 wicket hauls in all the 4 innings in the series. Apart from him, I have not seen any spinner hold sway in India. Aussies were successful in 2004 because of their pace attack and the Bangalore and Nagpur pitches suiting them. so they need to have a battery of good pacers, to be in the reckoning here. but then, the current lot of fast bowlers are not really mature enough. maybe when Aussies tour next time, they would have become more mature with experience.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (October 24, 2010, 3:55 GMT)

Maybe the reason Indian spinners dominate in India is because they had to learn how to bowl on absolute rubbish while growing up, against good batsmen.

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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