Aakash Chopra
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Aakash Chopra looks at various aspects of cricket from a player's perspective

Be bold, decisive: How NZ should play Indian spin

A quick course on playing spin in the subcontinent

Aakash Chopra

August 29, 2012

Comments: 67 | Text size: A | A

Brendon McCullum is solid in defense, India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad, 4th day, August 26, 2012
You must look to attack the spinner early in the innings to force him to push back his field, which will help you rotate the strike © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: New Zealand tour of India
Teams: New Zealand

After losing 2-0 to a weedy West Indian side, New Zealand slumped to an innings defeat in their first Test in India. It would take a brave man to put his money on them in the second Test in Bangalore. The loss in Hyderabad only underlined the gap between New Zealand and the major Test-playing nations.

Over the years though, New Zealand had gained the reputation of a team that always punched above their weight. Their courage and the never-say-die attitude made up for the lack of the skills needed to excel in different conditions.

On their tour of India in 2003-04, which was my debut series, New Zealand drew both Test matches, and even had India follow on in Mohali. They were routed in the ODIs when they visited in 2010-11, but secured two draws in the three-Test series. They have rarely won in India but haven't surrendered before as feebly as they did in Hyderabad, and that must hurt their fans. The pitch deteriorated a lot faster than many expected it to and had enough in it for the spinners from the second day, yet it was far from being unplayable.

Susceptibility to pace and bounce tends to get far more attention than weakness against spin. That's perhaps because, unlike pace bowlers, spinners don't pose a physical threat but the truth is that being bamboozled by spin can cause long-lasting mental scars.

With the second Test only two days away, New Zealand must be working overtime to find ways to counter India's potent spin threat. Here are a few things their batsmen should keep in mind while taking on R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha in Bangalore.

Decisive footwork
Read the ball from the hand, not from the pitch, because it will give you a little more time to react. Use both feet to either get to the pitch of the ball with a long forward stride or to go deep inside the crease to shorten the length. Spinners are at their most dangerous when the batsman refuses to get to the pitch of the ball to smother the lateral movement off the surface. That's what New Zealand did in Hyderabad. Most of their batsmen were rooted to the crease and offered unconvincing forward prods to everything that was pitched up, in hope that the ball would find the middle of the bat. Their shots lacked conviction and resulted in many bat-pad catches. Some New Zealand batsmen started shuffling to counter the spin, but little did they realise that sideways movement within the crease can only be effective against fast bowlers because it helps you play in the second line. Only a decisive forward-and-backward movement can save the day against spinners. In England, Hashim Amla did that beautifully against Graeme Swann.

Pushing the fielders back
On turning pitches, you must be aggressive, for no matter how good your defensive technique, the odd ball will turn and jump unexpectedly to abruptly end your stay. If you only concentrate on defending, as New Zealand did in the second innings, the spinners won't feel threatened and will continue to flight the ball. To extract optimum spin and bounce off the surface, spinners must give the ball some air. This becomes easier if the batsman has gone into a shell. All quality players of spin take the aerial route really early in the innings, because it forces the bowler to not only push the fielders back but to also cut down on flighting the ball. Once the fielders are pushed back, batsmen find it easier to rotate the strike, and the moment a spinner starts bowling flatter, he plays into your hands. MS Dhoni did it efficiently against Jeetan Patel the moment he walked in to bat in Hyderabad.

To many batsmen the sweep shot is the only attacking response to the turning ball. But they must understand that they'll get the right balls to sweep only after forcing the bowler to bowl flatter and shorten his length by stepping down the track regularly. Wait for the bowler to release the ball so that he can't alter his length or line, and advance against balls that go higher than the eye level.


Ross Taylor is bowled by R Ashwin, India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad, 4th day, August 26, 2012
Let the ball come to you © AFP
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Playing late, using soft hands and getting the weight transfer right
Since spinners bowl a lot slower than the quicks, it's tempting to reach for the ball. But if you're defending, you must resist the temptation and allow the ball to come to you, as you would when facing a fast bowler. Once you have allowed the ball to come to you, play it as delicately as possible with soft hands. Let the top hand remain firm while barely holding the bat with the bottom hand.

It's imperative to transfer the body weight at the right time. Whether you are defending or playing an aggressive shot against a spinner on a turning pitch, if you transfer your weight a fraction earlier, you will commit yourself to the stroke and struggle to play the ball along the ground. And if you are a fraction late, you won't get any power in your shots.

Playing the turning ball on a crumbling pitch requires just as much expertise as playing the moving ball on a fast and bouncy pitch. Even after taking a crash course in playing the turning ball, New Zealand may not be able to avert defeat, but it's worth using every ounce of their energy to at least delay the inevitable.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (September 1, 2012, 2:56 GMT)

@Nutcutlet, Jose Puliampatta, Cpt.Meanster, Selassie-I, jb633: Your thread regarding overseas players entering Ranji 1st Class competition in India is the most important to emerge on this page. It could address all sorts of interesting issues for cricket as a global sport with decisively varying environmental conditions: among them fairness, pitch preparation, and Test matches as a proper measure of skill. The English County Championship has long served to introduce players right across the cricketing world to English conditions. Should not Ranji Trophy and perhaps others serve the same larger and important purpose? This is already done on a limited basis in the "white-identified" former colonies (AUS, NZ). It could also end the last bastion of colonial inequality (i.e. County Championship in the colonial homeland is superior to 1st class competitions based in the former colonies, particularly the subcontinent & Windies).

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 20:45 GMT)

Maybe Akash should be NZs batting coach

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (August 30, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

I was surprised to see NZ batsmen falling like bowling pins to Ashwin and Ojha as they are not by far the best spin bowlers India have ever produced. If you cannot play Ashwin or Ojha then one must be a relly bad player of spin.

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 30, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

its pure assumption that NZ players do not aware of that points. For me NZ players know all that. Knowing is one thing doing is other at crunch time. What nz needs is more practice and a plan of attack especially what stroke is very effective against each bowler. When to step out when when to defend. ALways try to hit first ball of the over. Even if you miss the ball you show the intent. What nz show is that they are here to fight, With ryder around NZ had some confidence. I think there is lots of self doubt among nz players. I think they should fight and fall than not fight at all.

Posted by Alexk400 on (August 30, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

Its feel...NZ do not have feel. Simple as that.

Posted by ssndestroyer on (August 30, 2012, 18:10 GMT)

Well said thenoostar. Cricket is a beauty to watch only when the bowlers dominate the batsman, not by much, but a little. That is when there will be competition. The batsman should fight for their runs. Everything is a fun to watch when there is a competition. Hope in the future cricket would be like what i imagine!

Posted by SpartaArmy on (August 30, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

Akash I think you are right, but don't you think that NZ batsman are aware of these tactics. In fact your average against spin at test cricket level is not good enough. I am just saying that, even after playing for most of the career in dust bowls, you still don't have impressive figures, how come poor NZ chaps can become good at it all of a sudden

Posted by njr1330 on (August 30, 2012, 17:03 GMT)

I am going to take endless copies of this article, and make sure our club's young players sellotape it to their pillows!!

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

Though, for many of us old-timers, both Aakash Chopra and Sanjay Manjrekar appear to be trying to punch above their weight, there is a big difference. Aakash has more substance, though may be obvious to those who had played enough, but the other guy has little more bombast than his experience deserve (In his attempt to be the next Ritchie Benaud, he appears quite contrite, at times). In any case, let us not forget the gap between theory & practice. For those who do not have enough talent, stepping out had resulted in misreading the revolutions and the angle of revolutions (sometimes the line too) and consequently resulting in mishit & catch. Some who tried to play late, had been so late that the ball hit the stumps before their bat could even air-kiss the ball, let alone hit it.

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

Of course, guys like Aakash Chopra and Mark Greatbatch can give good lectures; but are they taking into account the pupils they are lecturing to. The pupils' cricketing upbringing, their experiences in their formative years, lack of opportunities provided to them to tour sub continental countries more often. In short, providing them with the right (even the one Wright they had, they lost) developmental environments?

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

Yes, many Engishmen seem to thik that it is infra-dig to play in Ranji. Of course IPL is different; there it is a question of Money, Honey!

Posted by no_second_chance_for_batsman on (August 30, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

Well written article Aakash ! Totally agree with you. Mixed aggression is a MUST to keep the bowlers guessing & to make it more interesting to watch as well. Lets hope there will be a change in tactics of NZ batsmen in the second test. Regards, Kumar

Posted by raindelay on (August 30, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

Mr.aakash if u played well by the instructions you have given your avg will not be 23.00 in test matches

Posted by   on (August 30, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Sorry but VvS, Dada and Dravid played spin much better than Msd...... Mentioning MSD as a batsman of any technique is an insult to batting! EXCEPT THAT THE ARTICLE IS GOOD

Posted by premnauth on (August 30, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

NZ should attack the spinners as soon as the come on don't let them settle with brendon macullum at the top that could be useful.

Posted by Sinhaya on (August 30, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

Well explained Akash. Great tutorial for any batsman having trouble with spin. But anyway, teams like England, Australia, SA and NZ will never be the best against spin bowling.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (August 30, 2012, 2:57 GMT)

I would print out this article and refer to it often as it says the top-3 things that a batter needs to do to tackle spin. As most things in life, success depends on knowledge, which this article provides, and execution which the batter needs to provide.

Posted by Nerk on (August 29, 2012, 22:57 GMT)

Are you listening England and Australia? This is how you play spin bowling. Learn.

Posted by thenoostar on (August 29, 2012, 22:24 GMT)

well said @Nampally. As A New Zealand fan, I like different pitches for test matches. How boring would cricket be if we played on a standardised pitch, even for T20. One of the things that makes cricket good is the different types of bowlers and watching batsmen counter them in testing conditions.

It would be good to see the blackcaps loft strait using their feet. Richardson, Wright and Macintosh more recently, some of NZ more sedate batsmen did this effectively.

Posted by Rooboy on (August 29, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

This guy is a great analyst. Always a good read, regardless of what others think his qualifications should be

Posted by Rajags on (August 29, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

One of the things that has worked for me is "overstepping out". To accomplish this, the batsman has to read the length and flight quickly, while watching the bowler's hand and if the ball is flighted, then overstep out and create a full-toss. This negates any turn, and at the same time takes out the feeling of uncertainty of whether you have reached the pitch of the ball. That feeling of uncertainty leads to a double-mind, a feeble stroke and (in my case) inevitably a dismissal. One additional thing to look for is any drift. The drift is the only thing that can cause you to miss the "full-toss" and end up getting stumped. I do hope the NZ batsman can put to practice some of Chopra's tips and make the contest more even.

Posted by dannyhill on (August 29, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

aakash - really like the article - completely logical and correct, but like as @keecha said, they would have had this dished out to them on numerous occasions. having played to a reasonable level in NZ, I can assure you this is the case. the issue seems to be a mental one and particularly because I think many batsmen have a fear of being out stumped by spinners, hence why they dont use their feet. a stumping by a spinner is a complete psychological victory (much like being bowled through the gate by a googly or past the outside edge by a carrom ball), its embarrassing for the batsman involved. maybe more NZ players (and others, particularly english) should look at spending time playing first class or grade cricket in india? is this possible? it would markedly improve their skills against good spinners in tricky conditions.

Posted by ashok16 on (August 29, 2012, 19:41 GMT)

I find it unfair when commenters make references to Akash' modest international career and ask whether he is fit to write whatever he has written. By that token, none of us (who haven't played first class cricket) should be commenting at all.

At the same time Akash should realize he is a columnist on its own merit. This is a good column, and is written with good command of the language. Ex-players mouthing incoherent opinion are dime a dozen. The writer would be well served by eliminating all references to his playing career unless to offer an insight that wouldnt otherwise make sense (eg. a dressing room experience with Rahul Dravid that reveals a hitherto unknown aspect of his character).

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 29, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

@Nutcutlet: I think it's unfair for you to say that there are no English players playing Ranji Trophy presently when the BLAME should clearly fall on the heads of your players and the ECB. I think English cricket thinks so highly of itself that it probably doesn't value the Ranji Trophy as a worthy domestic system. I don't think the BCCI would ignore such a proposition should an England player wish to represent a Ranji Trophy state team. It's up to the ECB to cut it's ego and allow English players to play in the Ranji Trophy. The BCCI as far as I know doesn't stop any cricketers from playing county cricket. Then again, it's up to each individual player to ask for a consent from their board before doing so. If England are to succeed in India, it's time the English players RESPECT Indian conditions and play in Ranji cricket. Both the ECB and the BCCI should work together to allow players from each side to play in opposite domestic games before a major series.

Posted by mrmonty on (August 29, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

@street_smart, I guess Mark Nicholas can write about "Fortress England" and so can Ed Cowan, Daniel Brettig, but Akash Chopra had to have played 50 Tests to write about correct technique against spin.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (August 29, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

@Randy. I think instead of teaching NZ how to play spin bowling he should have tought to ponting as he is the worst player against spin

Posted by LetThereBeLogic on (August 29, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

@RandyOZ: And still Australia or any team for that matter, can't play them well in India. And the australian bowler who could spin, Shane Warne, used to get hammered by Indians. So stupid of you. What happened last time Australia toured India? Have they won any test in last two tours to India?

Posted by atul.houston on (August 29, 2012, 18:49 GMT)

NZ "Fans".. what a joke!! Ex-player with Avg. of 23.00 writing lessons..what a joke! Mr. AC, please stick to match analysis, you dont meet the required coaching credentials

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (August 29, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

@RandyOz, as if Nathan Lyon spins it 90 degrees, lol. Just watch out for your mediocre Aussies' humiliation when they tour India.

Posted by Nampally on (August 29, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

Aakash, as a youngster, I followed a book by Don Bradman called "Teach yourself Cricket - the best book at that time. I am sure every NZ player would have gone thru' such books and more. There was photographic illustration of items such as "jumping out to drive" in a step by step manner such that if it was put on a slow motion movie. it showed from start to finish of the stroke. Bradman's book had a whole section on how to play spin too. Every Cricketer learns by practicing what is in the Books, which is a guide & inspiration to learn.You always hear "Practice makes one perfect".Just as Indian team cannot win vs. pace bowling on SA, NZ, English or Aussie pitches, it will be tough for players from these countries to win vs. spin on Indian pitches. In 60's teams had plenty of practice matches before Tests to get used to - greatly helped. In present day Cricket, you have to be ready on arrival with little or no practice. So home ground advantage is huge. Cricket is all "Business" Now!

Posted by rajpan on (August 29, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

Looks like some people here think that Chopra is revealing some great secret. Whatever he has said in this article is just commonsense for players who have reached the level of representing their country in test cricket. But all that is easier said than done !! Actually, if any NZ player reads it, he is likely get even more confused than at present. Aakash is doing great service to indian cricket. Keep it up !!!

Posted by keecha on (August 29, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

Lolz, These and in fact more theoretical classes would have been dished out to the Kiwi batsmen. But nothing like getting down to the field and learning there. They have a very inexperienced side and Ashwin cold be too much or them especially on a bouncy track. In Bangalore not much bounce is expected and so they would do much better.These guys will learn over time. But is is important like seniors like Mccullum, Ross and Guptil to lead the way for them.

Posted by Selassie-I on (August 29, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

Surely every pro cricketer knows these basics, however the more important thing is to have previous experience of the conditions to draw from and enhance confidence. I think young Englishmen, NZers and Aussies should go over to the Ranji, and likewise the subcontinental players should come over tot he counties, shield or grade cricket etc. then they will improve in foregin conditions. Look for example at the foregin players who performed most in last years in England series - Dravid, Tendulkar, Chanderpaul etc. the ones with county stints to their names.

Posted by THINK_BEYOND on (August 29, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Well my generous Indian friends, can you please stop advising NZ or any other team for that matter in terms of HOW to play well against the spin.

Is there anyone who is advising on how to play against Swing and Bounce in Oz, English conditions to our Indian team?? Even Greg Chappell also avoided teaching us that during his brief tenure.

Be practical, and learn from the Aussies and English to hide your strength.

Posted by svenkat02 on (August 29, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

Aakash can preach whatever he wants because he has learned all this from experience and from close quarters by seeing the way the game is played. And here, Aakash is talking about playing spin. All Indian players are almost born to play spin well. Our Achilles heel has been playing pace bowling. And Aakash was an opener, so he had to face mostly the toughest part - playing pace. And I should say, Aakash was a very good batsman who gave excellent support to Sehwag in that Australia series. Though he himself didn't have the ability to make big scores, he could hold one end up and let Sehwag play freely at the other end. Our performance in that 2003 Aussie series should be partly credited to Aakash's batting at the top with Viru.

Posted by jb633 on (August 29, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

@Nutcutlet- I agree about Indian players playing county cricket but no English in the Ranji trophy. Personally I think the ECB became obssessed with beating Australia (particularly in 90's) and they encouraged youngsters to go and play cricket there. I would dearly love to see young English talent go and play either Ranji or even good club cricket in India or Sri Lanka. I think the ECB should get over their obsession with Aus and look at how we can improve in the SC. The more youngsters are exposed to spin the better they become at playing it. In wet conditions spin is virtually non existant in England and the techniques of batsman deteriorate because of it.

Posted by street_smart on (August 29, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

Why cricinfo requests Akash Chopra to make technical comments?? He himself couldn't weather at the international level & making comments. All these things written above can only come naturally while playing when it is backed up by rigorous training day after day... only very very high talented cricket can get in right on a match day after knowing the technicalities withough much practise...

Posted by raghavan88 on (August 29, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

Good Article Akash,But are the NZ batsmen going to apply this?One factor they can take heart is Bangalore will assist their seamers a bit more thanks to the overcast conditions and a bit of bounce and carry in the pitch compared to other Indian pitches which will assist stroke making.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 29, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

I find it weird that Aakash is talking about the kiwis playing spin, when none of the Indian bowlers actually spin it.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 14:01 GMT)

Very simple and useful tactics. All of this is intuitive but when you step on a pitch, it's harder to follow these simple rules unless it is absorbed in your system. Batsmen should practice hard and get these into their system.

As a league level player, I learned a few things I could use too. So, thanks Aakash.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

Not skill issue. Its confidence issue and muddled thinking issue.

Posted by Naresh28 on (August 29, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

This article highlights weakness against spin. Please write an article or disect Indian batsman's inability to play PACE. Why is that Indians fail in pace and swing conditions?

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

All looks fine on paper. I am sure the Kiwis know these fundamentals as well. The important thing is how you play in the middle. And only long hours of practice of playing spin, will help in using your feet decisively, playing late, playing with a straight bat or with soft hands !!

Posted by shibuvin on (August 29, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

You must look to attack the spinner early in the innings to force him to push back his field, which will help you rotate the strike........What an idea chopraji? Is it your tactics for a job as NZ coach????? Please be noted that, Everything easier said than done.....

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Yes, I agree India struggle on overseas pitches, so do English, AUS, NZ struggle in Indian pitches, but most of the Indian pitches are flat which are called neutral pitches, which are neutral for both spin and fast bowling, as always mentioned why don't we make spin pitches and let Aus struggle in India like Aus make fast pitches and we struggle. Is not correct calling us flat pitch bullies. What if we call you Fast track bullies.

Posted by HawK89 on (August 29, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

All this info is open to everyone, yet NZ will still make the same school boy mistakes. I've seen ZIM batsmen play spin using their feet. Get to the pitch of the ball with their front foot, or rock back on the backfoot if pitched short enough to see how it reacts off the pitch. Maybe they should start at the beginning, learning where your OFF STUMP is.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 29, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

@gagguv: I have to disagree with you! There is a corps among the brotherhood of top cricketers (retired & still playing) everywhere that will and do freely share tips about all aspects of the game. Of course, there may be a few closely guarded secrets by teams for specific series or situations but even those will, in due course, reveal themselves to close observation/ analysis on the field of play. And as for developing techniques to cope with specifically English conditions, there have been and are many many Indian & Pakistani players who have/ have had considerable experience playing county cricket, which is surely the best preparation of all for coping with England in Test matches in England. Are there any examples at all of English players taking part in the Ranji Trophy? I think not.

Posted by luks on (August 29, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

"Wait for the bowler to release the ball so that he can't alter his length or line, and advance against balls that go higher than the eye level. "

Obviously, he is the expert, but this doesn't sound right. It is usually difficult to advance out of the crease against balls that go higher than eye level, no? Or, maybe, he is talking only about taking them on the front foot as opposed to back foot and not going out of the crease?

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

@Ramesh Polur - Chopra was a good player of spin for an opener. Although, I agree that he was not a shot-maker as some other candidates for opener position.

Posted by Siva_Cric on (August 29, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

@moBlue: Well the problem I had with Aakash was he did not have a good repertoire of shots. One good thing i saw about him was a tight defence - but he just could not play his shots.I agree he supported Sehwag well in Australia. But his own batting was not a big success given his performances in Ranji matches. He belongs to the group of players who aren't naturally talented but are required to sweat it out - Gambhir mould. Nothing against Aakash and agree with you that the selectors should have given him a decent run.

Posted by satish619chandar on (August 29, 2012, 9:07 GMT)

How to play spinners - especially in SC.. Just ask the players to see the video's of Amla and Kallis playing the spinners and copy the technique. Don't allow maiden to the spinner, play as late as possible and rotate strike. Make the captain's job tougher by not giving wicket to lead bowler. As i saw the fields, either the fineleg or the thirdman region will be usually vacant for the spinners. Use that to advantage and milk it.

Posted by Simoc on (August 29, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

Good article.But most of what you say is basic and these guys are supposed to be test batsmen. England were similarly pathetic recently against the Pakistan spinners. You won't see Michael Clarke standing still and being dictated to by spinners. There has to be a plan to keep the runs coming. Hanging around for an hour for ten runs isn't good for anyone in cricket. Above all its capitulation and boring.

Posted by playinrain on (August 29, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

well writen! couldn't agree more...there is a mental process about playing spin, and it's not rocket science...armchair critics know it, and professional cricketers should be able to implement it...But unlness they play against it regularly, it will not become second nature, as it is clearly with subcontinental batsmen...fascinating stuff !

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

really nice article...if only he had played as well as he writes....shows its a different ball game out there in the middle playing and not commenting...in short this generaton of players are less talented than previous as they lack exposure in the hard grind...its a fast and easy way to success nowadays..in future there is going to be two groups of countries...spinning countries and pace countries...the divide is getting even bigger by the dayr

Posted by Craggydev on (August 29, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Good one Aakash! I could remember myself thinking abt these things while playing spin. Really amusing how Indians find it a lot easier/internal than others while playing spin.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 29, 2012, 7:50 GMT)

A fascinating article with direct relevance for Gooch & the England team due in India later this year. I'd ask Indian & Pakistani fans, preferably with long memories, to post a short list of those players from Eng, Aus, SA, WI & NZ who have impressed them as quality players of spin IN TEST MATCHES. Indeed, if Aakash Chopra feels inclined to add his list, it would be much appreciated. There is no doubt that the most complete batsmen round the world must master the required techniques to play in the subcontinent as well as the seam & swing-friendly conditions found elsewhere. No batsman can be considered truly top class unless he has mastered the techniques required in all conditions & has the necessary temperament to accompany his technique.

Posted by gagguv on (August 29, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

My question is when India go abroad say in Aus or Eng, do their former players teach Indian players how to bat in seaming conditions or how to bowl in this way or that?? If they dont volunteer then why people like Aakash jump in and start teaching the opponents basics? As a batsman he is giving them tips to nullify spin threat. As a bowler, on numerous occasions Bishan Bedi had taught spinners of opponent team during the tour leading to downfall of Indian team. The glaring example was 1987 last test match between India and Pakistan. Its good to share knowledge but at the expense of humbling your own nation??? I dont think it should be the case.

Posted by   on (August 29, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanseter: It is not about making a big deal of 2 tests against NZ. This is an after effect on the issue made on India after their Eng and AUS tour. I agree that India were miserable in the same. BUT on the other hand you need to agree that SA have thrashed Eng in ENG, they couldnt do that to India when India was no 1. NO ONE could beat India in their home conditions. But ENG got beaten in their own backyard with conditions they prefer. Coming back to NZ, it is the same team which had beaten Aus in AUS, but whenever India boosts about anything people have a problem. I believe there is a scope of improvement in the spin balling department but we are not useless. So do appreciate the work done by the 2 spinners

Posted by anuradha_d on (August 29, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

aakash is stating the known and obvious.......and assuming NZ and their coaches do not undertsand any of this ?....How about giving credit to India...that their spinners were too good......and their captain for a change attacking and positive....and much as NZ might have tried...India was too good for them

Posted by moBlue on (August 29, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

@Siva_Cric: aakash *did* have this insight in his playing days! he did nothing wrong while opening the batting with a rampant sehwag in AUS! what are you talking about?!? the selectors dropped him merely because he did not play big innings, and a young gambhir was hot at the time, but aakash did not dishonor himself down under, quite the opposite! even the aussies raved about his batting! in fact, even now, he is a phenomenal first-class opener for delhi, and one of IND's best, proven but forgotten, technically sound test-level openers [along with wasim jaffer and dinesh karthik]...

Posted by moBlue on (August 29, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

you are an amazing writer with a terrific test opening batsman's perspective and phenomenal ability to communicate it, aakash! how i wish you could open the batting again (in gambhir's stead) and teach rahane the ropes with sehwag playing in the middle order...

Posted by sifter132 on (August 29, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

Great article Mr Chopra :)

Posted by Match_Referee on (August 29, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

Aaksah.. No mention about Wrist work in your article... Usually batmen with good wrist play plays spin better than the others... You missed that completly... Article is good except for mentioning Dhoni in the article. Dont u find any player other than Dhoni to mention there...? (you should have mentioned KP,Sanga etc.)

Posted by rockyyy on (August 29, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

come england!!!!!!!!! waiting for that series

Posted by Siva_Cric on (August 29, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

Good insightful article as usual. I have always loved your writing! But Aakash you would have gone places if you had this insight in your playing days ;) I always feel its easy to advise and criticize once you hang up..But situation in the middle is a lot tougher than sitting in an AC room and writing an article.Anways lets hope Kiwis put up a better show in Bangalore!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 29, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

I think we in India are making a BIG deal about this 2 tests affair against NZ. In all honesty, NZ are a mediocre team and India, in spite of being an inexperienced team themselves are playing at home. I wouldn't really pass hefty remarks and praises on the young spinners of India. I would rather wait until the England series to see what these players are made of. England are not very good at playing spin themselves but still they are miles above NZ when it comes to skill level. So we should all take it easy and wait for a few more months. Having said that, NZ can still put up a good show at Bangalore where the pitch usually has decent pace and bounce. I don't think it would turn like Hyderabad.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (August 29, 2012, 4:09 GMT)

playing spin is an art, you cannot become a spin playing batsman in a week or so. It's very hard to play spin on indian pitches. I don't think NZ can bounce back in this series because they have no clue what spin bowling is.

It's ok to lose against spin because they can win at their home with fast bowlers. it's ok to lose.

Aussies just survived spin attack from Pakistan today. It's not that easy to play spin.

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Aakash ChopraClose
Aakash Chopra Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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