April 27, 2012

Where did all the offspinners go?

There are more than a dozen left-arm spinners in the IPL, but hardly any traditional offies
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Having watched relentless, frenetic Twenty20 cricket for three weeks, I thought I would watch some Test cricket, to allow its beautiful, lazy rhythm to lull me to sleep. I needed to, the incessant T20 action was keeping me awake. Instead, I came upon Shane Shillingford bowling some really eye-catching offspin. He was getting the ball to kick off the surface and had Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke, two good players of spin, caught high off the bat. It helped, too, that two of my favourite broadcasters, Tony Cozier and Michael Holding, were on air. But it got me thinking about what the game is doing to offspinners.

Nathan Lyon bowled an impressive spell later in Dominica, and Saeed Ajmal and Graeme Swann, in their own styles, are bowling beautifully, but in the IPL the offspinner is going extinct, fenced in as he is by medium-pacers who are forsaking their seam-up bowling style for slow offbreaks, and by left-arm spinners who have cropped up from nowhere.

One obvious reason is that modern bats deposit anything that is tossed up into the stands. For long I have worried about short boundaries, but I barely see any small sixes these days. More sixes have hit the concrete than the boundary rope. It could be, of course, that free of the worry of being caught in the deep (courtesy the boundary distances) batsmen are actually hitting the ball better. But it doesn't dilute the argument that T20 is best played with long boundaries.

The other factor is the preponderance of right-handers. There are a lot of left-handers around the world but in the IPL only three of the top ten run-getters bat left-handed - Chris Gayle, Jesse Ryder and Shaun Marsh. It gets a little better if you expand the base but still it is only nine out of the top 30. (Now this works on the assumption that offspinners cannot bowl to attacking right-hand batsmen, and I hope there are some young bowlers out there who want to vigorously contest that.)

Also worrisome is the fact that there are few classical offspinners around. Among those in the IPL, Muttiah Muralitharan, R Ashwin, Marlon Samuels and Sunil Narine don't fit that bill. Go further and you find Johan Botha and Harbhajan Singh, and then the part-timers. It would seem that if you want to watch offbreak bowling, you need to look beyond T20s.

On the other hand every team has a left-arm spinner, and some are willing to play two. And while there are some whose actions suggest they studied angles in high-school geometry rather than straight lines, there are others who are looking very acceptable and impressive. Why can't more spinners possess the beauty of Murali Kartik's bowling action?

But quality of actions apart, the left-arm spinner has become, like rice in a south Indian thali, an integral part of the offering. Compared to the drought of offspinners, we have Ravindra Jadeja and Shadab Jakati (Chennai), KP Appanna and Daniel Vettori (Bangalore), Pragyan Ojha (Mumbai), Shakib Al Hasan and Iqbal Abdulla (Kolkata), Ankeet Chavan and Brad Hogg (Rajasthan), Kartik (Pune), Shahbaz Nadeem, Roelof van der Merwe and Pawan Negi (Delhi), Ankit Sharma (Deccan), Bhargav Bhatt and Bipul Sharma (Punjab). Bafflingly, out of these only Hogg bowls the chinaman variety (speaking of which, not a player in the league has picked his wrong'un yet). Maybe someone can explain to me one day why more young men don't bowl left-arm wrist spin.

It must worry Indian selectors too that only three of the top ten wicket-takers and four of the top ten run-getters (and eight of the top 20) are Indians. It would be easy to explain that away by saying that the overseas players are among the world's best, but if the IPL has to develop local talent we should start seeing some new names soon. In earlier editions Ambati Rayudu, Saurabh Tiwary and Paul Valthaty forced us to look at them, but none of them is likely to break into the Indian limited-overs team in the immediate future.

There is another month to go. I hope I can see much more of Appanna and Nadeem, Rahul Sharma and Ashok Dinda, but I have given up looking for an offspinner, unless Harbhajan goes back to his roots.

Harsha Bhogle is contracted to the IPL. He also commentates on other cricket, and is a television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on April 30, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    There is fabulous Left arm spinner Who Bowls with more than 100 kmps with huge turn.But its too late becuase his age 27 ..........He himself lost the change to play cricket.....

  • annon on April 30, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    you need a brillient captain to gromm a spinner, offie or leggie. They need ime to mature. look at shane warne ot muralitharan. you'l see that their early figures are not good. They need to gain mental stength to toy with the batsmen.

  • henchart on April 29, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    Adding to what Kiteflier has posted,even Tony Greig was good against spin .Ofcourse ,Asif iqbal,Majid Khan and Javed Miandad spelt doom for Prasanna and Venkat in Pakistan in 1978 but out came Kapil Dev.But as someone said,tendency of batsmen these days to hit across the line and pick the length early has killed the art of looping the ball and letting the pitch do the rest. Swann is good but runs the risk of bowling flatter to avoid being slaughtered ,especially on sub -continent pitches.But he is cut above the rest from the current crop.

  • on April 29, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    test cricket made off spinners and t20 ruined them..as simple as that.pick anyone bhajji,bhota,ashwin,swann due to this t20 trend each one of them have turned into flat slow cum fast paced bowlers from the turners of the cricket bal.disappointingl

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on April 28, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    Harbhajan is an off-spinner? I thought he is a slow right arm bowler who fires the ball flat in the air onto the batsmen's legs so that he can't get hit. Too bad he is not even able to do that now a days. Anyways, let him get a 3 for 45 and the experts will grab their pens to announce that Harbhajan has proved his critics wrong. Lollll what again?

  • on April 28, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    @Muhtasim, primary goal should be to win test matches @ home, with this kind of spin attack only Ashwin and to an extent Pragyan Ohja what can we think of winning games against perhaps New Zealand later this year, far shout against England after that??

  • on April 28, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    India has a bright future in the spin department. Pragyan Ojha, Rahul Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin should all be picked in the T20 WC

  • spintl on April 28, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Harsha, here is my take on why there are no genuine off spinners in IPL. (a) There are more Righthand batsman than Left Handers, so a claasical off spinners line is middle & leg, which falls into the normal line of Right hand batsman's batspeed towards legside.(b). The IPL has shorter boundaries and even mishits go for 6s (c) the primary role of a bowler in IPL is containment, not taking wickets..Based on these theories, there is no genuine off spinner which is a luxury in IPL.

  • SouthPaw on April 28, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Harbhajan has finished yet another IPL T20 with an "economy" rate of over 10. And he has just one wicket (is that right?) to boot! He doesn't do anything with the bat either except throwing the bat around. So what is the value that the Ambani's see in him, I wonder...

  • Percy_Fender on April 28, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    It is nice that henchart has sought to explain what is classical off spin bowling and who the finest exponents of this skill were. He has also mentioned some names. the best were without doubt Prasanna, and before his time Ghulam Ahmed, Hugh Tayfield and Jim Laker. Despite their varying hieghts, all of them bowled what many people refer to as 'Classical Off spin bowling'.Those days there was no need for the doosras and the teesras because with just the big off spun ball, and the straight one were enough with the right kind of flight to be above the batsman's eye brow and the drift and angle of delivery.Prasanna was the ultimate master of flight, swerve and use of the crease that there ever was. It is not as someone suggested, that the batsmen then were not good enough. Far from it they played spin much better.Ian Chappell and Doug Walters played spin better than most of the present crop of Aussie batsmen.So like Shane Warne revived leg spin I hope a Prasanna comes along for off spin.

  • on April 30, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    There is fabulous Left arm spinner Who Bowls with more than 100 kmps with huge turn.But its too late becuase his age 27 ..........He himself lost the change to play cricket.....

  • annon on April 30, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    you need a brillient captain to gromm a spinner, offie or leggie. They need ime to mature. look at shane warne ot muralitharan. you'l see that their early figures are not good. They need to gain mental stength to toy with the batsmen.

  • henchart on April 29, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    Adding to what Kiteflier has posted,even Tony Greig was good against spin .Ofcourse ,Asif iqbal,Majid Khan and Javed Miandad spelt doom for Prasanna and Venkat in Pakistan in 1978 but out came Kapil Dev.But as someone said,tendency of batsmen these days to hit across the line and pick the length early has killed the art of looping the ball and letting the pitch do the rest. Swann is good but runs the risk of bowling flatter to avoid being slaughtered ,especially on sub -continent pitches.But he is cut above the rest from the current crop.

  • on April 29, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    test cricket made off spinners and t20 ruined them..as simple as that.pick anyone bhajji,bhota,ashwin,swann due to this t20 trend each one of them have turned into flat slow cum fast paced bowlers from the turners of the cricket bal.disappointingl

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on April 28, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    Harbhajan is an off-spinner? I thought he is a slow right arm bowler who fires the ball flat in the air onto the batsmen's legs so that he can't get hit. Too bad he is not even able to do that now a days. Anyways, let him get a 3 for 45 and the experts will grab their pens to announce that Harbhajan has proved his critics wrong. Lollll what again?

  • on April 28, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    @Muhtasim, primary goal should be to win test matches @ home, with this kind of spin attack only Ashwin and to an extent Pragyan Ohja what can we think of winning games against perhaps New Zealand later this year, far shout against England after that??

  • on April 28, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    India has a bright future in the spin department. Pragyan Ojha, Rahul Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin should all be picked in the T20 WC

  • spintl on April 28, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Harsha, here is my take on why there are no genuine off spinners in IPL. (a) There are more Righthand batsman than Left Handers, so a claasical off spinners line is middle & leg, which falls into the normal line of Right hand batsman's batspeed towards legside.(b). The IPL has shorter boundaries and even mishits go for 6s (c) the primary role of a bowler in IPL is containment, not taking wickets..Based on these theories, there is no genuine off spinner which is a luxury in IPL.

  • SouthPaw on April 28, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Harbhajan has finished yet another IPL T20 with an "economy" rate of over 10. And he has just one wicket (is that right?) to boot! He doesn't do anything with the bat either except throwing the bat around. So what is the value that the Ambani's see in him, I wonder...

  • Percy_Fender on April 28, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    It is nice that henchart has sought to explain what is classical off spin bowling and who the finest exponents of this skill were. He has also mentioned some names. the best were without doubt Prasanna, and before his time Ghulam Ahmed, Hugh Tayfield and Jim Laker. Despite their varying hieghts, all of them bowled what many people refer to as 'Classical Off spin bowling'.Those days there was no need for the doosras and the teesras because with just the big off spun ball, and the straight one were enough with the right kind of flight to be above the batsman's eye brow and the drift and angle of delivery.Prasanna was the ultimate master of flight, swerve and use of the crease that there ever was. It is not as someone suggested, that the batsmen then were not good enough. Far from it they played spin much better.Ian Chappell and Doug Walters played spin better than most of the present crop of Aussie batsmen.So like Shane Warne revived leg spin I hope a Prasanna comes along for off spin.

  • muski on April 28, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Harsha- You are talking of classical offspin. The same is the problem with Classical leg spin. Who was the last left arm leg spinner for India- Was it Shastri or Ojha or Maninder. Traditionally and historically, left arm spinners have been doling out lolly pops in terms of pace and they depended more on the guile of the turn which they achieved. Even the legendary Sardar of Indian cricket was doing the same thing. Now with fantastic footwork from batssmen, these leg spinners dream to flight the ball. Guys like KP will walk down the wicket and blow it away. That is the reason you will see more fastish right arm leg spinners of the Kumble mould in world cricket now. Summary- As the skills of the bastmen change, certain category of bowling will get obsoleted.

  • henchart on April 28, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    @Kishore Rao:If you call Harbhajan a genuine offspinner in classical mould and put him alongside Prasanna then I guess you have'nt understood the term classical off spin.Classical off spinners were ,to name a few ,in past four decades- John Emburey,Pat Symcox ,Graeme Swann,Arshad Ayub ,Shiv Lal Yadav ,Vic Marks and of course Venkat and Prasanna.All these players had lucid ,free flowing action .One must not jerk the right elbow under the garb of doosra like Muralitharan,Saqlain,Harbhajan ,Ajmal etc and claim to be classical off spinner.

  • Stouffer on April 28, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    Not sure what the problem is here really. Off-spinners that are learning the game are probably better off not playing T20 whilst they are learning their craft, and concentrating on learning variations of flight and spin in longer formats of the game. A young spinner must just turn in to a defensive bowler of flat deliveries, rather than develop in to a crafty bowler like an Ajmal or Swann.

  • johnathonjosephs on April 28, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    There's a reason for this. A CLASSICAL offspinner (meaning no "extra deliveries" like Murali/Harbhajan/etc) can only bowl 3 deliveries. The one that turns, the one that doesn't turn, and the topspinner. If you look at today's batting, there is such class that such bowling is not enough. You just have to have another delivery to fool the person. Legspinners have it easy, they have soooo many deliveries they can bowl and they do so with some real pace.

  • on April 28, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    they have gone to their home!!!!!!!!!!

  • Muhtasim13 on April 27, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    @ deepak_sholapurkar, I would have to agree with you. In fact,the most surprising thing by far is that India plays only 1 full time spinner during ODIs (Ashwin). Even in home games. Every other spinner in the team are all part-timers. If a team from the sub continent doesn't have a strong spin attack, then its really sad. I may be speculating, but in my opinion, if India stick with only 1 full time spinner they might struggle a lot in the upcoming T20 WC in SL

  • deepak_sholapurkar on April 27, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    I believe India will struggle to produce not only off-spinners but bowlers in general. Its due to the pitches available in India.

    Fast bowlers need assistance from pitch, so that they can ball aggressively and fast. Due the hard-work they undergo they need support from pitch to assist the aggression. does not have the pitch support they will become medium pacers. Just content in stopping batsman from scoring runs.

    Opposite to this due to nature of there job, spinners need to learn the art to deceive the batsman, get the turn of the pitch.But in Indian domestic cricket pitches are too spinner friendly. So they are getting easy wickets.

    So spinners are not learning the art to spin and fast bowlers are bowling defensively

    Now a days even a England spinner (Swan)is successful against Indian batsman, as he knows how to buy the wickets and deceive the batsman.

    So end result is we only get IPL heroes but when they put in Test Cricket they will struggle

  • Rally_Windies on April 27, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    I think WI and Indian standards of classical off spin are different. In West Indian terms, Samuels is as classical as you get ..but here he is listed as non-classical (look for Rangy Nanan - the best WI offie EVER ... he could not break into the WI team because of the excellent fast bowlers available ... but Mulitharan is the only offie better than Rangy, Swan, Ajmal and Harjaban are not in Rangie's leauge.......btw guess who trained Narine...)

  • on April 27, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Genuine offspinners in the classical mold are a rare species in India. Harbhajan is the last of them. Between him and Prasanna in the late sixties and seventies, I cannot think of anyone of genuine class that came by. One-day cricket is to blame. Even Harbhajan's skill has been severely dented by it and T20.

    Why, I would go the extent of saying genuine spinners of the class of Bedi/Chandra/Prasanna/Shivalkar/Vaman Kumar or Subhash Gupte - whether leg spin or off - have not been seen in India for a long, long time. We just seem to have forgotten the art.

  • MANEESHROY on April 27, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    How come commentators develope interest in actual cricket ? What is most fruitful in terms of money,it's twenty twenty cricket.Twenty Twenty cricket has no demand for genuine bowlers.If a bowler can just hustle through his overs that is enough. Too much cricket,inefficient selection policy at national level are the main reasons for non-emergence of new spin talent.

  • Philip_Gnana on April 27, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    There are no easy teams in ODI or T20. The shorter form always gives the teams a better chance of performance. As for the spinners, the offies have always been a target for aggressive batsmen. Left arm spinners seem to be having more success these days. You only have to look at test level at the success these spinnesr have been having. There was time when it was hard to find left arm spinners, but those days are gone now. The left offie sure has a better strike rate these days compared to the traditional offie. You have to only look around and you will find this to be true. Ashwin is an unorthodox spinner. This gave him the edge initially and batsmen have now mastered him. Remember Mendis? He is no where to be found now. Sewag is a useful spinner and so is Raina. They have better luck as they seem not to flight the ball. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • TRAM on April 27, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    Harsha, Muali Karthik is the best classical offy in India (I agree), why is he not playing for India? He was dropped after he performed exceptionally well against Aus looong back. If even if they are successful they are treated like that, why would any youngster choose that line? Note that young minds copy the existing stars. Kapil became a star and India produced good next generation of medium pace bowlers. Gavaskar and Vishwanath were the stars that produced next generation Dravids, Sachins etc.. Imran Khan produced so many nextgens in Pak. Two things must happen, be it off spin or pace bowliung , or whatever. 1. Current talent must be selected & encouraged by the selectors 2. Those current talents (today's Ashwins) shoudl work hard and become match winners & stars in the country for youngsters to copy them. IMO, selectors not picking talents like Murali Karthik - means they, the selectors, have killed that future talents of that kind.

  • TRAM on April 27, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    @KiwiRocker, "Epic failures like Jadeja, Raina and Rohit Sharma who are sitting ducks against quality bowling will now score tons and walk into Indian team!" Absolutely!! It is not the IPL that killed spin bolwing of India. It is the flat tracks that killed ALL KIND OF BOWLING in India, not just spin. It also made ordinary batsmen score tons of runs. Today's income and entertainment block the vision on tomorrow's cricket

  • greenhawk on April 27, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    I think there might be a little less to this than a lack of offspinners. Having watched basically all of this IPL one pattern stands out, most players are good at hitting sixes straight and over the legs side but not through point and cover. This means that bad or good balls from left arm spinners are less likely to be muscled for six, whereas if an offie starts spinning them, like Botha did a few times in early games it is much easier for a batsmen to get on the back foot and hit the ball for six. Those offspinners that do play all have a variation that stops this being the case, a fast one, a carrom ball or a good wrong 'un. This difference is best shown by the inability of richard levi, a good hitter of the ball on the legside to play the ball turning away from his bat, see his battles against Nadeem and Kartik.

  • The-love on April 27, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    I don't find Ravindra Jadeja any world class talent.He has been riding on his luck.I wish he doesn't perform anymore and kept outside Indian Team.Neither he can good bowlers nor he can take wickets of world class batsmen.Let the other allrounders have their chance.Irfan his putting his best efforts.Manpreet Goni is a strong man bowling in 140's.If he works little harder.There is no any reason why he can't be indian flintoff.

  • gimme-a-greentop on April 27, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    Left arm wrist spin has always seemed to me an almost exclusively Australian domain, besides for Paul Adams from my own country, the only other ones I can think of are Aussies..Hogg, Katich, Bevan. Anyone know of any others in recent (say from the 1990's onwards) times ? Here is a huge gap in my cricket knowledge...

  • Cricket_fan85 on April 27, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    I am not sure if BCCI would look into this more seriously given the fact that they are in the process of making more money than investing in local talents .. I would like to ask this .. who is the best leg spinner now in India.. Look at Amit Mishra and Piyush.. they blow hot and cold on the same day.. Left arm off spin .. I am impressed with Nadeem and Appanna.. Let's see if they make it to the bigger stage .. Bhajji is a tremendous talent .. He is going through that stage of his career where he is absolutely short of self confidance and my suggesstion or request to him is to go back to his roots and start from the rust .. He is a match winner .. PLEASE DONT WRITE HIM OFF .. but I would love to see some new talent coming up and show to the world and India is still capable of producing matchwinning spinners in foreign soil .. all that BCCI needs to do is to switch their view from money to making more talents who can deliver in bigger in foreign soil ..

  • S.Jagernath on April 27, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    The problem with Indian bowlers is that they are effective in T20 but not the longer forms of the game.Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to become a predictable bowler as Ajantha Mendis did.Indian spinners struggle to perform away from India,thats just a fact.The next problem is Indian selection.Rohit Sharma,Suresh Raina,Ravindra Jadeja,Virender Sehwag & even M.S Dhoni have failed continuously but are constantly selected.Ajinkya Rahane has been a standout for a while,such a standout that people here in S.A even knew about him.It makes no sense how he has not had a season of English County Cricket or a test debut.Rahane had to sparkle in a T20 tournament to catch the selectors attention & hope for a test debut.Other players being illtreated are Manoj Tiwary,Wriddhiman Saha.Dhawal Kulkarni & Pankaj Singh.Hopefully the world will get to see more of Rahane,Yadav,Saha & the other high quality first class cricketers.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on April 27, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    @ramli,ashwin z orthodox off.spin bowler whil z more of a control bowler,i dn't know about future,bt for time being,hafez z better of 2,ask any unbiasd and impartial cric expert pls also check stats then comment here

  • bestbuddy on April 27, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    Does no one actually read what the article says?? It clearly states that there are few orthodox off spinners, and he is right. Ashwin is not an orthodox offie, and neither is narine. Both utilise the carrom ball, almost as their first choice ball (certainly narine does). Neither does mendis, though he is not playing right now. And none of swann, hafeez and ajmal are in the ipl. Harsha's assertions thus clearly are correct.

  • KiwiRocker- on April 27, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    ramli: Your comment that R.Ashwin is better spinner than Hafeez makes no sense. Hafeez is a seasoned performer with around a decade experience and has won matches with his bowling. R.Ashwin is not even close to any such achivements. Hafeez has close to 100 wickets in ODI's at an excellent economy rate of just over 4. Ashwin( depsite playing against easy teams) has not done anything extra ordinary. Problem with Indian fans is that they hype their players too much. Kohli has played couple of good innings and he is being touted as the next big thing..Kohli was pretty average in first part of Australian tour and in England..Similarly, Irfan Pathan was hyped as next Wasim Akram and now poor man bowls slower than Afridi's quicker one...Reality is that India has no spin or fast bowling resources and Harsha is bang on with his analysis..IPL is doing more harm to Indian cricket than what they realise...T.20 is a quick nibble and not a full meal. India has stopped producing Rahul Dravids..

  • on April 27, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Ashwin is not a thinking bowler..only two type of balls he knows 1.off break 2. carrom ball.....he doesn't know how to bowl in abroad countries....according to me he is a worthless bowler..........bhaji always great.........

  • on April 27, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @KiwiRocker SAEED AJMAL WAS ACTUALLY TAKEN TO CLEANERS IN AUSTRALIA IN 2010. You are trying to fool the world by pointing to Ashwin but forgetting Muralitharan's struggles in Aus. HUH? Pitches in IPL have been low and slow NOT flat. IT HAS BEEN A BOWLERS IPL. EVEN LAST YEAR ONLY GAYLE GOT ANY CONSISTENT RUNS.

  • on April 27, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    we cant forget harbhajan...even on his bad day he is avarage.... on the otherhand on his bad day ashwin looks very ordinary

  • satish619chandar on April 27, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    ZApart from Ashwin, is Raina the best second offie in the country??

  • on April 27, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    few months ago every1 was talking abt the art of fast bowling is dying due to t20....hv u seen dale styne,m.morkel or awana and dinda? Why cnt we sit back and enjoy the t20 action rather than counting how many left arm spiners r there

  • on April 27, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    Why what wrong with Ashwin. He is the best spinner we got in India. Harbajan is completely useless these days.

  • on April 27, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Harsha never fails to bring down Ashwin. It is a very good strategy for him to highlight Harbhajan and portray him like a Champion spinner. In IPL or any T20 you really cant keep bowling classical off breaks. Even if Swann gets into IPL, he will keep varying with the straight ones and the quicker ones. Seldom will he use the classical off breaks unless he wants to go over 50 + in his 4 overs.

  • ramli on April 27, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    Ashwin is certainly a better bowler than Hafeez .. that is for sure ... just because a bowler was taken cleaners in one game does not brand him as ordinary ... it takes time for a bowler to evolve as an international ... just wait and see ... Ashwin will scale great heights ...

  • on April 27, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Off spinners havent gone anywhere,they are just not many playing in tha ipl ,let me count how many are there playing in t20 format INTERNATIONALLY: H,SINGH,R.ASHWIN,A.MENDIS,S.AJMAL,M.HAFEEZ,J.BOTHA,G.SWANN, S.NARAINE,N.MCCULLUM,only 5 of these 9 are playing in the ipl2012.

  • venkatesh018 on April 27, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    Nice to hear words of appreciation from Harsha, for the ageless Tony Cozier and Michael Holding.

  • iitr on April 27, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Hey Harsha........ there are still some classical off-spinners that remain in the fold, but are yet to get a game in the IPL, case in point being Ramesh Powar of Kings XI Punjab, who is yet to get a game this year.....the guy bowls with a pleasing loop and flight..

  • abhijeet1in on April 27, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    @crichil, Rahane has already broken into the Indian team. The (so called) balance of the team did not allow him to be in the playing 11 most of the time. But now, with Dravid retired he will most definitely become an integral part of the team; given selectors are willing to end their irritating obsession with Rohit Sharma and want to go for a real "class" player, not just an eye-candy. As far as the spinners are concerned, i think there is an even bigger dearth of leg spinners, isn't it? Rahul Sharma seems the only viable player compared to Mishra and Piyush. But one thing that really irks me is his frog like jerky action. It seems he is constantly looking for what the batsman is looking to do, instead of bowling according to his own plan. It makes his action less smooth compared to guys like Warne or Kumble, and also slows down the deliveries. Unlike other leg spinners he doesn't have a quicker one. If he doesn't have much faith in his bowling then no one else will either.

  • Sivaaditya on April 27, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Tell you what harsha, there is no lack of off spinners, but probably sue to IPL no one would want to take the risk of being hit and not catching the eye of the selectors. a drawback of t20. but then again, i would have loved to see harbhajan bowl with more flight and aggression. he is contented to be being the second fiddle to any bowler.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on April 27, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Honestly speakng,ipl z for indian youngstrs but i havn't seen genuine playr coming 4rm this ipl.Rahane z gd bt he z already a used entity,so its same old story 4 india,intrnatnl superstars stealng al d shows i mean Ab,gayle,polard,hodge,hussy,morkel,malinga,levi etc etc

  • varadhamaddur on April 27, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    If Ashwin gets more test match experience, he could well be one of the better off-spinners around the world. Because, he bowls good wrong one's, having patience as a spin bowler, never afraid to toss the ballup, and a typical off-spinner action and sytle. Unfortunately, he is not getting as much as test match practices as Harbajan got in his earlier days. Nevertheless, it is a good article Harsha and the right time to worry about India's future off-spin bowling...

  • tauhid_aks on April 27, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    IPL is not benefitting India. It is also harming other players. It is time we look beyond it.

  • KiwiRocker- on April 27, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    The anwer is very obvious Harsha!..Pakistani players do not play in IPL. Pakistan at present posesses the best off spin bowlers...Saeed Ajmal is easily the top spinner in the world while Abdul Rehman has proven to be excellent in test conditions..Lets do not forget Muhammah Hafeez...Now, these are top performers in all formats of the game. R.Ashwin was hyped too much, he is just an ordinary run of the mill Indian spinner who was taken to cleaners in Australia and in Asia cup against Pakistan. IPL's impact on bowlers is obvious in India..Why will anyone like to be a bowler when you can clear you front leg and hit sixes on flat Indian tracks with short boundaries! I do not think that spin bowlers are exinct but instead no quality bowlers from India are on display in IPL. This clearly shows the damage IPL has done to India..Epic failures like Jadeja, Raina and Rohit Sharma who are sitting ducks against quality bowling will now score tons and walk into Indian team!

  • on April 27, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    @crickhil he is talking about bowlers...not batsmen

  • crickhil on April 27, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    "...none of them is likely to break into the Indian limited-overs team in the immediate future..." What about Ajinkya Rahane? He can well be the pick of this IPL for India.

  • pai11 on April 27, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    I dont think we much expect much from Bhajji. he has lost the confidence on himself. He doesn't even bowl in one match where spinners in his opponent team got lot of help!! he doesn't even think of coming to bowl in powerplay overs... on the whole, he is afraid of being hit & doesn't want to take challenges... he is a spent force i think. invest elsewhere..

  • Narbavi on April 27, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    lol forget about harbhajan, and the thing is left arm spinners tend to bowl flat which is required in t20 to control the runs,

  • Percy_Fender on April 27, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    I am impressed most by Shahbaz Nadeem. He had it all even earlier but probably lacked the confidence. Now he seems to have got that also. It does'nt matter if India does'nt have a decent off spinner if they have a good left armer and a developing leggie. Rahul Sharma could be quite good and it surprised me that he did not get to play in Australia.. But it will surprise many when I say that the one bowler who can really evolve like Vinoo Mankad is Ravinder Jadeja. He has it all but needs to practice only bowling.

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  • Percy_Fender on April 27, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    I am impressed most by Shahbaz Nadeem. He had it all even earlier but probably lacked the confidence. Now he seems to have got that also. It does'nt matter if India does'nt have a decent off spinner if they have a good left armer and a developing leggie. Rahul Sharma could be quite good and it surprised me that he did not get to play in Australia.. But it will surprise many when I say that the one bowler who can really evolve like Vinoo Mankad is Ravinder Jadeja. He has it all but needs to practice only bowling.

  • Narbavi on April 27, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    lol forget about harbhajan, and the thing is left arm spinners tend to bowl flat which is required in t20 to control the runs,

  • pai11 on April 27, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    I dont think we much expect much from Bhajji. he has lost the confidence on himself. He doesn't even bowl in one match where spinners in his opponent team got lot of help!! he doesn't even think of coming to bowl in powerplay overs... on the whole, he is afraid of being hit & doesn't want to take challenges... he is a spent force i think. invest elsewhere..

  • crickhil on April 27, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    "...none of them is likely to break into the Indian limited-overs team in the immediate future..." What about Ajinkya Rahane? He can well be the pick of this IPL for India.

  • on April 27, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    @crickhil he is talking about bowlers...not batsmen

  • KiwiRocker- on April 27, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    The anwer is very obvious Harsha!..Pakistani players do not play in IPL. Pakistan at present posesses the best off spin bowlers...Saeed Ajmal is easily the top spinner in the world while Abdul Rehman has proven to be excellent in test conditions..Lets do not forget Muhammah Hafeez...Now, these are top performers in all formats of the game. R.Ashwin was hyped too much, he is just an ordinary run of the mill Indian spinner who was taken to cleaners in Australia and in Asia cup against Pakistan. IPL's impact on bowlers is obvious in India..Why will anyone like to be a bowler when you can clear you front leg and hit sixes on flat Indian tracks with short boundaries! I do not think that spin bowlers are exinct but instead no quality bowlers from India are on display in IPL. This clearly shows the damage IPL has done to India..Epic failures like Jadeja, Raina and Rohit Sharma who are sitting ducks against quality bowling will now score tons and walk into Indian team!

  • tauhid_aks on April 27, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    IPL is not benefitting India. It is also harming other players. It is time we look beyond it.

  • varadhamaddur on April 27, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    If Ashwin gets more test match experience, he could well be one of the better off-spinners around the world. Because, he bowls good wrong one's, having patience as a spin bowler, never afraid to toss the ballup, and a typical off-spinner action and sytle. Unfortunately, he is not getting as much as test match practices as Harbajan got in his earlier days. Nevertheless, it is a good article Harsha and the right time to worry about India's future off-spin bowling...

  • WickyRoy.paklover on April 27, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Honestly speakng,ipl z for indian youngstrs but i havn't seen genuine playr coming 4rm this ipl.Rahane z gd bt he z already a used entity,so its same old story 4 india,intrnatnl superstars stealng al d shows i mean Ab,gayle,polard,hodge,hussy,morkel,malinga,levi etc etc

  • Sivaaditya on April 27, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Tell you what harsha, there is no lack of off spinners, but probably sue to IPL no one would want to take the risk of being hit and not catching the eye of the selectors. a drawback of t20. but then again, i would have loved to see harbhajan bowl with more flight and aggression. he is contented to be being the second fiddle to any bowler.