August 3, 2012

India forgets its spin bowling legacy at its own peril

Indian spinners need to go back to the masters to learn guile, but they also need a bit of help from the administrators
  shares 30

In the way dynasties used to rule (and still do in political life), countries seem to dominate sport in a somewhat peculiar way. The United States rules the pool, Jamaica produces track and field athletes who belie the size of their nation, for most of the last century and this one, the Russians have only allowed two outside their fold to win a world chess championship, and for about 50 years India produced spin bowlers who left the cricket world mesmerised.

And yet these countries aren't powerhouses at other sports, or even sometimes at aspects within the same sport. India, for example, produces fast bowlers like it does chief ministers: with a lot of fanfare and only occasional success. No more than a hundred kilometres separate the Indian Punjab and its Pakistani equivalent. The culture, the idiom and the food are almost identical, but only one of those regions produces fast bowlers. Karachi was once part of the Bombay Presidency but it seems to have lost the art of producing batsmen.

There must be a culture of handing down knowledge from one generation to another, sometimes sharing it within a generation - a bit like it used to be with Hindustani classical music - that produces these dynasties. Those who care for that tradition, and nurture it, continue producing champions; those who ignore it and let it fade away, who let the knowhow drain away, seem suddenly incapable of being as good.

It is something that India needs to think about seriously, for, quite apart from the real drought that threatens many parts of it, there is another in the sporting world that is as dangerous. You can scan the horizon in India, you can map it with sophisticated gadgetry, but you will not find a spinner who makes your heart rejoice, who plays with the ball with the joy a child might reserve for a favourite toy. The tradition is broken and the knowhow lies like a dusty book in an old library.

Two things reminded me of what we possess. Setting aside some pretty well-known differences, Sourav Ganguly recently invited Bishan Bedi to train spinners in Kolkata, saying the old wizard was still the best man to teach spin bowling. And, during a 20-over game a few months ago, I interviewed Erapalli Prasanna and he spoke of the joy of spin bowling. "If you have guile and you have control, you shouldn't worry about the batsman," he said, putting into words what he practised so many years ago.

If bats are going to be what they are, boundary lines cannot be where they are. You cannot have loutish blows going for sixes off leading edges

When Prasanna and Bedi were playing for India as part of the famed quartet, they were part of a tradition that included, other than BS Chandrashekhar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, some other great spinners; dare I say, they were everywhere, like fast bowlers were in the West Indies in the seventies and the eighties. In Chennai you had VV Kumar, in Bombay, Padmakar Shivalkar, and up in the north, Rajinder Goel. These were masters, as Dilip Doshi was in Kolkata, but apart from them you also had B Vijayakrishna, V Ramnarayan, Naushir Mehta and Mumtaz Hussain in the south; Sharad Diwadkar, Bapu Nadkarni and Chandu Borde in the west; Sarkar Talwar in the north; and Salim Durani and CG Joshi in Rajasthan. Surely India was the crucible of all knowledge in spin bowling. Even as the tradition declined, India were still able to throw up Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, with 1100 Test wickets between them.

But Kumble, himself so unorthodox, and Harbhajan were the dying embers. It was as if the gharana (the musical school) had been dismantled. Newer spinners say that the game has changed, and with modern bats you can no longer be the spinner you were. But knowledge must adapt to changing times, not get buried under, as was the case with Indian hockey, which lived so long in the past that even the present grew to be out of sight.

Indian spinners need to go back to the masters to learn guile, but they need a bit of help from the administrators. If bats are going to be what they are, boundary lines cannot be where they are. You cannot have loutish blows going for sixes off leading edges. Either world cricket legislates on bats or makes a 75-metre boundary mandatory. When javelins began threatening people at the other end of the stadium, the authorities had to clamp down.

Cricket cannot live with the mistaken belief that people want to see big hits. People like to see goals, but no one is talking of moving the goalposts a metre wider either side. A goal is something special; a six must be too. And we need to work on that now because increasingly bowlers are going to come into Test cricket from the 20-over game not the other way around. Guile and control have to be in the syllabus early.

Spin bowling is not the only art that is spurning the knowledge that exists in India. Kapil Dev didn't have anyone to learn from, but learn he did, and that knowledge still resides in him. Zaheer Khan got a bit more help. Unless we tap people like him and Kapil, crops will grow and wither away. Already so many have, either because of reluctance to acquire the knowhow or not having access to it.

Rebuilding a tradition, like spin bowling, will take a long time. It will take even longer if we let the knowledge that resides within fade away.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 6, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Warne-Murali-Kumble -Saqlain magics will never come again....

  • on August 6, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    DRS in its current form is very fair and can help encourage bowlers to bowl attacking lines and look for bold and lbw. Besides DRS has indirectly increased the proportion of correct decisions as umpiring standards have remarkably improved esp as far as lbw is concerned .............When DRS started it definitely was too biased towards bowlers as in case of lbw balls only clipping stumps would have been declared out as was the case with Sehwag's lbw on SL tour.

  • soumyas on August 6, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    naturally talented spinners can't sustain and succeed for longer periods, they need to be intellectual too, Kumble wasn't a big turner of the ball still he read the minds of batsmen and got 600 plus test wickets. he was a intellectual. Ashwin seems to be intellectual but flat indian tracks and T20 cricket is spoiling the spinners. they are happy to contain rather than experiment and trap the batsmen.

  • on August 6, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    I agree that quality spin is a dying art in India. Defensive field setting and the reluctance of bowlers to flight the ball have contribued to the spin bowlers being containers rather than wicket takers. it is pathetic to see almost all the bowlers stick to the leg stump line and then hope for wickets.

  • Naresh28 on August 5, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Its not only spin but pace bowling that requires action. BCCI wake up and do something about this. AT least in the past we had SPIN now we dont have both pace and spin. As a team INDIA will SLIP further in world cricket. BATTING alone wont carry them.

  • Smithie on August 4, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    Harsha as a keen student of the game I am surprised that you fail to ask an important question in your quest for a revival of Indian spin skills. Clearly DRS has revealed that many spinners have been deprived of valid LBW decisions for years with batsman getting away with pseudo shots but really just kicking the ball away with a high degre of impunity. Therefore in your call for a revival of Indian spin skills why are you not calling for Indian acceptance of DRS in all International games?

  • Bilal_Choudry on August 4, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    pakistan has always had good spinners and has rich tradition too .. from the time i have watched cricket we have seen intikhab alam, qadir-tauseef-iqbal qasim trio, mushtaq ahmed and saqlain .. danish kaneria and now ajmal with rehman not to forget the limited overs success of afridi

  • on August 4, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    It is a very peer statement "If bats are going to be what they are, boundary lines cannot be where they are. You cannot have loutish blows going for sixes off leading edges "......Only a poor craftsman can give such statements.....like they say "a poor craftsman blames his tools"......The same applies to Indian spinners.....Bowling on similar small grounds and with oppositions having same bats, Saeed Ajmal holds economy of 4.19 and avg 24 in ODIs ..Sunil Narine (who is perhaps of Indian race) holds economy of 3.6 with avg 18 in ODI's ....Murali and Sunil Narine were the best IPL bowlers despite big bats, small boundaries and batsmen with licence to kill them .....Why don't short boundaries effect Murali, Sunil Narine and Saeed Ajmal ??...The reason is that they excel the art of spin bowling and they are confident of their skill level in this art therefore they employ their full repertoire of the art of spin keeping attacking fields and completely deceive avg batsmen.

  • Dubious on August 4, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Arthur Mailey, Clarrie Grimmett, Bill O'Reilly, Jack Iverson, Richie Benaud, Ashley Mallett, Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill--wait a minute, they're not Indian. Perhaps it's Australia that lays claim to having the richest tradition of fantastic spinners.

  • on August 4, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    As far as younger players going back to yesteryear gems, talk about Greame Swann. He is the best spin bowler in recent times. Talk about ODI or test, he depends on flight, turn and bounce; the three qualities which define spin bowling. I never heard that he used to go and have a chat with Giles or Tufnell. Swann himself told during his early stages that he wants to spin the ball rather than fire it in. Irfan pathan also (though hez a fast bowler) never went to wasim for improvement. Irfan showcased some talent during 2003 and wasim was impressed and supported him. Same should be the case with the younger players. If the ex-players see some hunger and talent in next generation, they themselves come forward to help and make them improvise. All they need is someone to display the talent, hunger to learn and apply the same on the field with utmost confidence.

  • on August 6, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Warne-Murali-Kumble -Saqlain magics will never come again....

  • on August 6, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    DRS in its current form is very fair and can help encourage bowlers to bowl attacking lines and look for bold and lbw. Besides DRS has indirectly increased the proportion of correct decisions as umpiring standards have remarkably improved esp as far as lbw is concerned .............When DRS started it definitely was too biased towards bowlers as in case of lbw balls only clipping stumps would have been declared out as was the case with Sehwag's lbw on SL tour.

  • soumyas on August 6, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    naturally talented spinners can't sustain and succeed for longer periods, they need to be intellectual too, Kumble wasn't a big turner of the ball still he read the minds of batsmen and got 600 plus test wickets. he was a intellectual. Ashwin seems to be intellectual but flat indian tracks and T20 cricket is spoiling the spinners. they are happy to contain rather than experiment and trap the batsmen.

  • on August 6, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    I agree that quality spin is a dying art in India. Defensive field setting and the reluctance of bowlers to flight the ball have contribued to the spin bowlers being containers rather than wicket takers. it is pathetic to see almost all the bowlers stick to the leg stump line and then hope for wickets.

  • Naresh28 on August 5, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Its not only spin but pace bowling that requires action. BCCI wake up and do something about this. AT least in the past we had SPIN now we dont have both pace and spin. As a team INDIA will SLIP further in world cricket. BATTING alone wont carry them.

  • Smithie on August 4, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    Harsha as a keen student of the game I am surprised that you fail to ask an important question in your quest for a revival of Indian spin skills. Clearly DRS has revealed that many spinners have been deprived of valid LBW decisions for years with batsman getting away with pseudo shots but really just kicking the ball away with a high degre of impunity. Therefore in your call for a revival of Indian spin skills why are you not calling for Indian acceptance of DRS in all International games?

  • Bilal_Choudry on August 4, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    pakistan has always had good spinners and has rich tradition too .. from the time i have watched cricket we have seen intikhab alam, qadir-tauseef-iqbal qasim trio, mushtaq ahmed and saqlain .. danish kaneria and now ajmal with rehman not to forget the limited overs success of afridi

  • on August 4, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    It is a very peer statement "If bats are going to be what they are, boundary lines cannot be where they are. You cannot have loutish blows going for sixes off leading edges "......Only a poor craftsman can give such statements.....like they say "a poor craftsman blames his tools"......The same applies to Indian spinners.....Bowling on similar small grounds and with oppositions having same bats, Saeed Ajmal holds economy of 4.19 and avg 24 in ODIs ..Sunil Narine (who is perhaps of Indian race) holds economy of 3.6 with avg 18 in ODI's ....Murali and Sunil Narine were the best IPL bowlers despite big bats, small boundaries and batsmen with licence to kill them .....Why don't short boundaries effect Murali, Sunil Narine and Saeed Ajmal ??...The reason is that they excel the art of spin bowling and they are confident of their skill level in this art therefore they employ their full repertoire of the art of spin keeping attacking fields and completely deceive avg batsmen.

  • Dubious on August 4, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Arthur Mailey, Clarrie Grimmett, Bill O'Reilly, Jack Iverson, Richie Benaud, Ashley Mallett, Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill--wait a minute, they're not Indian. Perhaps it's Australia that lays claim to having the richest tradition of fantastic spinners.

  • on August 4, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    As far as younger players going back to yesteryear gems, talk about Greame Swann. He is the best spin bowler in recent times. Talk about ODI or test, he depends on flight, turn and bounce; the three qualities which define spin bowling. I never heard that he used to go and have a chat with Giles or Tufnell. Swann himself told during his early stages that he wants to spin the ball rather than fire it in. Irfan pathan also (though hez a fast bowler) never went to wasim for improvement. Irfan showcased some talent during 2003 and wasim was impressed and supported him. Same should be the case with the younger players. If the ex-players see some hunger and talent in next generation, they themselves come forward to help and make them improvise. All they need is someone to display the talent, hunger to learn and apply the same on the field with utmost confidence.

  • Nutcutlet on August 4, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: thank you for your response, & I'm sure that you views are fairly representative of the majority of fans in India. That's the choice you make, for good or ill. You should, however, be aware of what you are surrendering if you reject the PRIMACY of tc. Forget the true arts of the spinner (that Harsha has so eloquently explained); forget the patiently constructed century - it's often like waiting for a beautiful flower to bloom; forget the generalship that the Test captain needs to show; forget the thrills of a rearguard action as the true mettle of the players concerned is fully examined.. Most of all, perhaps, forget the uniqueness of tc; it is like nothing else in sport & it has given rise to a history & a literature that other sports can never aspire to call their own. It's no accident that tc appeals to many of the most educated & most discriminating members of society - men & women. They know the true value of it: beyond rubies, beyond the grubby dollar. Now choose.

  • on August 4, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    Spin bowling is an art for sure but for me spin bowling defines indian culture more than anything the attitude which says U know what i thought him out rather than knocking him out

  • CanTHeeRava on August 4, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    Thanks Harsha for a timely article. I particularly liked the comparison between the classical music gharaana and the spin garadi (=old school gym, in Kannada). The two things you have highlighted that would give some hope to spin bowling seem improbable. Making the boundaries big (>75m) may not be possible in most stadia in India and if done, it could prove expensive. There are some grounds that have deliberately pulled the ropes in. They must be forced to use the full field. Grounds in New Zealand are tiny compared to those across the pond in Australia. The second option of new limits for bat specifications might make many batsman fail. The meatiness of bats (2" thick!!) has made some ordinary batsmen into good ones. If bats become thinner, we might have a thinner batting population (which is a good thing, but unlikely to happen).

  • buntyj on August 4, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    excellent article but that horse (indian spin) has long bolted- in mid80s a uk paper after speaking to bedi, pras etc had already indicated that because young indians in urban areas no longer spent as much time outdoors in the sun playing so bones (including of shoulders, arms, wrists n fingers) were no longer as strong as needed for long spells of high quality spin (indian wickets slowing down further after 50s also killed genuine leggies, indian leggies since have succeeded with bounce n unorthodoxy rather than traditional wrist spin), youngsters no longer played other sports (as young bedi played marbles) to strengthen their bodies, spin requires more skill and practice than other cricket skills and this cant be sacrificed for fitness, the emphasis on limited over cricket since 83 including at schools level, decline of varsity, defensive captaincy, n now pursuit of quick n easy money in ipl in a country with lots of poor but aspirational people; indian spin is already dead

  • Nampally on August 4, 2012, 1:06 GMT

    Harsha, the important point here is potential bowlers decide in childhood what type of bowler they wish to be. The IPL money mint for the cricketers has been the greatest point against developing truly great spinners like Vinoo Mankad & Subash Gupte. Both these guys were deadly with their accuracy & bowled with just 3 or 4 paces. You could put a dime on the pitch & Mankad could bowl on it for ever while varying the flight, direction & spin. Gupte was the best leg spinner India has ever produced. In this era such bowlers are rarities.Chandra bowled fast leg breaks which did not turn much like Kumble's but had bounce, pace & accuracy to get the best batsmen caught in leg trap. Rahul Sharma is closest to Chandra. By benching him consistently, Dhoni has destroyed his development. The same applies to ojha (2 examples). How can you ever develop spinners when they never play in the XI? Pataudi played Tests with 4 spinners whilst Dhoni consistently benches Spinners. That is the real issue!

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 4, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    @Nutcutlet: You disappointed me when you called T20 'junk' cricket *sob sob* haha. I love T20 and I am one of the very few who can proudly say i LOVE T20 more than any other form of cricket. It's easy to understand, easy to watch, all in a matter of 3 hours. I ain't got 5 grand days to sit and prod around for a result. While I respect test cricket, I don't think it belongs to the 21st century. Especially in India, people don't wish to watch test matches. It's a reality. India will always be a limited overs haven. The pitches, the people, the money etc all echo the T20 and ODI sentiment. Being the world power of cricket, India will naturally look to reap the benefits of the T20 revolution. It's correct if you ask me given the current trend. I am a happy consumer of T20 and am proud of it. Though I would take in the occasional test match here and there, when I feel like it.

  • on August 3, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    It's rather amusing that there is a consistent notion within many Indian writers that young players need to talk to 'the masters'. Other countries don't have such hassles. Shane Warne owed much to Terry Jenner's influence, a man who never made it into double figures in terms of Test appearances. Troy Cooley and David Saker played not one Test between them and influenced two different English attacks. Bishen Bedi was a fantastic spin bowler but is he really the right guy to go and teach young Indian spinners about, say, handling a batsman prepared to reverse sweep you? By insisting that young players consistently go to the players of yesteryear, I'd suggest that it keeps Indian cricket coaching looking back instead of pushing forward. Young players need modern coaches just as much as guidance from those who played four decades previously.

  • on August 3, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    Harsha, the critical difference between the Indian and the Pakistani diet is the lack of protein in the former!

  • on August 3, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    My generation saw only 3 bowlers who could actually make an impact: Kumble, Srinath & Harbhajan. And even Harbhajan's faded gradually.

    Then comes Zaheer, who's marginally above average.

    And I've just been wondering, JUST wondering about how we are magically winning matches only because of our batting (in the subcontinent, mostly). We Simply can't be a consistent quality team unless we have good players in all aspects of the game, period.

    I think this is the biggest hurdle we've to overcome. We are not always going to be as lucky as the 2011 World Cup, where we bowled well miraculously (in the subcontinent).

    Biggest hurdle indeed!

  • on August 3, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    There is a reason that Pakistani side of Punjab produces fast bowler, because they have had some fast bowler heroes to idolize. Initially, it was Fazal Mahmood, Khan Mohammad, Asif Mehmood. Then it was Sarfaraz and Imran Khan - it was really Imran who became an idol of all the emerging fast bowlers. Imran also infused this mentality of bowling without any containment. He was quite opposed to the idea of bowling line and length in English counties (which is where lot of youngsters improved their batting skills). In the famous 1992 world cup he asked his ace bowler Wasim Akram to bowl fast and not worry about any thing else. India's fast bowlers on the other hand start off well and quickly go to line and length by cutting their pace. Unless this mentality is changed, nothing else is going to change. Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result will be stupidity.

  • Nutcutlet on August 3, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    Re yr last parag, Harsha: the only 'tradition' that India/BCCI seems interested in is just over five years old. The subtle arts of the true spinner, scheming the downfall of a batsman over a number of overs, is no longer required. All that the spinner needs to work on is going for under 5 or 6 rpo in some meaningless, instantly forgettable T20 game played out in the company of the happy, smiling faces of rich & non-Indian mercenaries thinking warmly of their improving bank balances! There's a place for sponsored T20 as there is a place for the fast-food outlet. Whether the product in either case is worthy of the consumer is the wrong question. Does it bring in the cash is all that matters. The market doesn't know of aesthetics, & judging form the behaviour of financiers round the world it doesn't care a googly about morality either. Still, India must decide whether it's worth honouring the true traditions of cricket, or just going for broke on junk cricket & its money-making potential.

  • hhillbumper on August 3, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    Wish i had seen the great spinners such as bedi instead of having to put up with the current poor state of left arm spin.Vettori seems to have lost his way and Monty can't bat or field so the field looks a bit thin.Please don't tell me Ashwin will ever amount to much away from Asia because it just aint going to happen

  • on August 3, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    Coming to Indian Batting in Past 1 year then Ind is the best Ind have batting avg and SR 38, 90 followed by SA 39, 88 and so on.

  • on August 3, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    1). India's bowlers have had only three five-wicket hauls in the last five years in ODIs, worst among all Test playing countries. Sri Lanka have most in this period - 19...2). All world bowlers have poor record against Ind and all world batsmen have great record against Ind bcz Indian batting is world's best and Indian bowling is world's worst-There is false perception that the pitches on which India play are batting friendly but the fact is that on the same pitches the avg scores in Indian matches are 50 runs per inning higher compared to non Indian team matches- we have seen this in WC2011 and all multi-nation tournaments that involve Ind e.g. Asia Cup ....3). Indian death bowling is world's worst proven from stats....4). Indian bowling economy is world's worst 5.41 even below Zim 5.38, Ban 4.63, Asian teams with flat tracks: Pk have 4.48, SL have 5.1, Ban have 4.63...5). Indian batsmen's big scores are hiding this Indian huge weakness...TIME TO SERIOUSLY OVERHAUL BOWLING

  • Alexk400 on August 3, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    I blame indian culture. Same punjab region making 100s of fast bowlers but indian punjab produces no fast bowler. They are there and BCCI not picking them or no one there. For me BCCI selection policy state level is the issue. Even there may be 100s of better spinners but they do not get chance to showcase in state level. India has talent pool for 5-10 all star team with 1.3 billion people. It is just that system is not good.

  • Scrop on August 3, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    It was a nice piece of article. I liked the following lines

    "knowledge must adapt to changing times, not get buried under"

    "People like to see goals, but no one is talking of moving the goalposts a metre wider either side."

    It sums up the article.

    Unless the administrators act smartly to help the dying art of spin bowling as well the spinners learn to equip themselves with changing aspect of the game. The present story will continue - Spinners never bowl like SPINNERS.

  • diabetes on August 3, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    harsha u rock,and the 10th paragraph was a masterstroke about six and fours being special ,cricket is losing its shine and glory ,class has become temporary and sometimes absent from the game ,authorities and people should respect and carry on the rich heritage of cricket

  • Sky-Walker on August 3, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Harsha, I have lived breathing and watching these grates however you are forgetting that the first 50 overs game and now 20 overs game with wickets being so pata you are not going to get Bedi, Chandra and Prasana. It is a market driven system . How good bowler you are in India and SL you are bound to give 8 to 10 runs per over. In such situation you are not going to produce spinners. Also these days beside off spinners you are not seeing any good legies or left hander spinner. With off-spine you can at least check some flow of runs .

  • on August 3, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    No indian star players play First class cricket in India. The youngsters never learn those technical skills and no legacy builds. IPL infact causes Seniors to emulate youngsters' brash hitting and they themselves become poorer strokemakers. Overall standard Goes down.

  • venkatesh018 on August 3, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    Really it is a great puzzle that the Punjab region on our side of the border, does not produce fast bowlers of the quality which regularly come out of Pakistan.

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  • venkatesh018 on August 3, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    Really it is a great puzzle that the Punjab region on our side of the border, does not produce fast bowlers of the quality which regularly come out of Pakistan.

  • on August 3, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    No indian star players play First class cricket in India. The youngsters never learn those technical skills and no legacy builds. IPL infact causes Seniors to emulate youngsters' brash hitting and they themselves become poorer strokemakers. Overall standard Goes down.

  • Sky-Walker on August 3, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Harsha, I have lived breathing and watching these grates however you are forgetting that the first 50 overs game and now 20 overs game with wickets being so pata you are not going to get Bedi, Chandra and Prasana. It is a market driven system . How good bowler you are in India and SL you are bound to give 8 to 10 runs per over. In such situation you are not going to produce spinners. Also these days beside off spinners you are not seeing any good legies or left hander spinner. With off-spine you can at least check some flow of runs .

  • diabetes on August 3, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    harsha u rock,and the 10th paragraph was a masterstroke about six and fours being special ,cricket is losing its shine and glory ,class has become temporary and sometimes absent from the game ,authorities and people should respect and carry on the rich heritage of cricket

  • Scrop on August 3, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    It was a nice piece of article. I liked the following lines

    "knowledge must adapt to changing times, not get buried under"

    "People like to see goals, but no one is talking of moving the goalposts a metre wider either side."

    It sums up the article.

    Unless the administrators act smartly to help the dying art of spin bowling as well the spinners learn to equip themselves with changing aspect of the game. The present story will continue - Spinners never bowl like SPINNERS.

  • Alexk400 on August 3, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    I blame indian culture. Same punjab region making 100s of fast bowlers but indian punjab produces no fast bowler. They are there and BCCI not picking them or no one there. For me BCCI selection policy state level is the issue. Even there may be 100s of better spinners but they do not get chance to showcase in state level. India has talent pool for 5-10 all star team with 1.3 billion people. It is just that system is not good.

  • on August 3, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    1). India's bowlers have had only three five-wicket hauls in the last five years in ODIs, worst among all Test playing countries. Sri Lanka have most in this period - 19...2). All world bowlers have poor record against Ind and all world batsmen have great record against Ind bcz Indian batting is world's best and Indian bowling is world's worst-There is false perception that the pitches on which India play are batting friendly but the fact is that on the same pitches the avg scores in Indian matches are 50 runs per inning higher compared to non Indian team matches- we have seen this in WC2011 and all multi-nation tournaments that involve Ind e.g. Asia Cup ....3). Indian death bowling is world's worst proven from stats....4). Indian bowling economy is world's worst 5.41 even below Zim 5.38, Ban 4.63, Asian teams with flat tracks: Pk have 4.48, SL have 5.1, Ban have 4.63...5). Indian batsmen's big scores are hiding this Indian huge weakness...TIME TO SERIOUSLY OVERHAUL BOWLING

  • on August 3, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    Coming to Indian Batting in Past 1 year then Ind is the best Ind have batting avg and SR 38, 90 followed by SA 39, 88 and so on.

  • hhillbumper on August 3, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    Wish i had seen the great spinners such as bedi instead of having to put up with the current poor state of left arm spin.Vettori seems to have lost his way and Monty can't bat or field so the field looks a bit thin.Please don't tell me Ashwin will ever amount to much away from Asia because it just aint going to happen

  • Nutcutlet on August 3, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    Re yr last parag, Harsha: the only 'tradition' that India/BCCI seems interested in is just over five years old. The subtle arts of the true spinner, scheming the downfall of a batsman over a number of overs, is no longer required. All that the spinner needs to work on is going for under 5 or 6 rpo in some meaningless, instantly forgettable T20 game played out in the company of the happy, smiling faces of rich & non-Indian mercenaries thinking warmly of their improving bank balances! There's a place for sponsored T20 as there is a place for the fast-food outlet. Whether the product in either case is worthy of the consumer is the wrong question. Does it bring in the cash is all that matters. The market doesn't know of aesthetics, & judging form the behaviour of financiers round the world it doesn't care a googly about morality either. Still, India must decide whether it's worth honouring the true traditions of cricket, or just going for broke on junk cricket & its money-making potential.