Aakash Chopra
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Former India opener; author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season

What's going wrong with India's spin tradition?

The call for seamer-friendly wickets, and the spinners' own over-defensive mindsets may be to blame

Aakash Chopra

December 5, 2012

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A

Amit Mishra releases the ball, England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 2nd day, August 11, 2011
India's second-string spinners haven't exactly been setting the Ranji Trophy on fire © AFP
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What was supposed to have been a strategically planned relentless spin assault against England by India seems to have backfired. After the vociferous demand for rank turners, and a denial of any spin practice to the English during the warm-up games, the world expected India to spin a web around the visitors. But that was not to be.

Under normal circumstances a one-off loss at home for Dhoni's team (it was only his second loss in 22 Tests as captain at home) would have been easily shrugged off, but against the backdrop of India's 4-0 drubbing in England last summer, the Mumbai defeat was dissected threadbare. It was made more agonising because India were beaten on a raging turner by a team infamous for its lack of batting skills against the turning ball. On a pitch that offered vicious turn and disconcerting bounce for spinners from the first day, the onus was on the Indian spinners to deliver the goods; there were three of them, after all. Kevin Pietersen's brilliance and Alastair Cook's dogged approach must be acknowledged, but it would not do to turn a blind eye to how the Indian spinners performed. On a pitch where Monty Panesar was bowling spitting cobras, India's bowlers didn't spew much venom.

There were calls - if slightly unwarranted after a solitary poor showing - to find new faces to replace the existing ones. These demands were enough to get me thinking about the spinners in line to replace the ones playing for India at the moment, and also the ones who are likely to become lead spinners for India in the future in the long format.

When I looked at the list of the leading wicket-takers on the Indian domestic circuit for the last few seasons, it shocked me a little, for it was heavily dominated by medium pace. Even the most experienced spinners (some of whom have played for India in the past) had very ordinary figures.

Leading spinners in the Ranji Trophy, 2010-2012

  • Piyush Chawla 41w at 45.36 from 15 matches
  • Amit Mishra 37w at 29.37 from 14 matches
  • Murali Kartik 36w at 35.77 from 15 matches
  • Akshay Darekar 52w at 28.36 from 16 matches
  • Vikas Mishra 35w at 27.71 from 13 matches
  • Jalaj Saxena 27w at 43.18 from 17 matches
  • Rahul Sharma 14w at 51.57 from six matches

These statistics are alarming for a country that has a tradition of producing world-class spinners. India should be churning out quality spinners by the dozen, but unfortunately isn't. In fact, medium-pacers are stealing a march over spinners almost every season - and on Indian domestic pitches at that. What has led to such a huge paradigm shift in the way cricket is played in this country?

There has been a loud chorus demanding "sporting" pitches in Indian domestic cricket for quite some time now. Docile Indian pitches, quite rightly, were blamed for the Indian batsmen's failure overseas. But while making sporting pitches is the right thing to do, the very meaning of the term has been lost in translation: whenever there's a demand for a sporting pitch, our curators dish out a greentop.

Yes, bounce, pace and lateral movement off the pitch will make Indian batsmen better players against fast bowlers, but it curtails the role of spinners drastically. Instead of regarding themselves as wicket-taking options and bowling accordingly, most spinners have developed the defensive mindset of keeping things tight. Their role in the new ecosystem seems to be to give the faster men a breather while ensuring that not many runs are scored in the interim.

It may sound bizarre but spinners don't cause concern anymore in the Ranji trophy - at least on most pitches. There are aberrations, like when the host association dishes out a dustbowl to ensure an outright victory and spinners end up with exaggerated figures. Karnail Singh Stadium (Railways' home ground till last season) used to regularly dish out these underprepared pitches over the years. No wonder the centre has been banned for a year for doling out dustbowls.

 
 
The poor performances of Indian spinners are also adversely impacting the ability of batsmen in the country to handle spin. We don't often find young Indian batsmen using their feet to get to the pitch of the ball and play along the ground
 

While the call for pitches with a lot of green, bounce and moisture is fine to an extent, we must not go overboard with it, for the spinners are feeling the pinch.

But pitches hostile to spin aren't the only culprits to be blamed for the deterioration of spin bowling in India. Spinners themselves are cutting down on flight more than ever before. Previously, even on pitches that didn't offer much assistance, good spinners managed to create deception in the air by putting plenty of revolutions on the ball. Such deception can only be achieved if the bowler is willing to flight the ball and take it over the batsman's eye-line.

The inevitable reason for spinners cutting down on flight is to bag IPL deals, for IPL scouts look past bowlers who flight the ball too much. T20 cricket prefers a lower trajectory over revolutions on the ball. It goes without saying that the easiest way of lowering the trajectory is to lower your arm and bowl with a slightly round-arm action. When a bowler stops taking the bowling arm close to his ear, the natural dip, and the bounce off the surface, suffer. While the development of one skill keeps the legacy of spin alive, the other brings monetary advantages for the players.

And if that's not all, the poor performances of Indian spinners are also adversely impacting the ability of batsmen in the country to handle spin. We don't often find young Indian batsmen using their feet to get to the pitch of the ball and play along the ground. The next generation of Indian batsmen prefers taking the aerial route while staying in the crease.

It's turning out to be a depressing downward spiral - in order to produce batsmen who can play fast bowlers better overseas, India started dishing out green pitches, which meant the spin department deteriorated. If that is not arrested in time, India's batsmen will cease to be the best players of spin in the world. After all, a player is a product of the environment he grows in.

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   on (December 8, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Stop your spinners to play in IPL they will be fine again.

Posted by parthspartan on (December 8, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

I think our spinners are trying to be unorthodox and bowling faster.

go through run up slower , n joy it complete your action bowl a lot slower results will be there for seeing

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 8, 2012, 2:29 GMT)

India's batting needs a revamp. These batsmen don't understand that they have to fight it out in the middle. It shouldn't be like, if they can't get boundaries, they will rather stay outside the boundary.

Posted by SoverBerry2 on (December 7, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

The answer is simple! They only know how to bowl "carrom coin" and "stop and deliver" stuffs. Learn from Swann...

Posted by spinkingKK on (December 7, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

I don't live in India to comment on the domestic wickets. However, it appears that Chopra is right. Many years ago there was the call by Srikanth to develop green wickets in India. At that time, I feared that India will become a good-for-nothing team if that develops. Their batsmen can never play fast bowlers well anyway and they can never really have a fast bowler for long term anyway. But, by taking out their batsmen's ability to play spin and their spin bowlers' ability to attack, they have achieved the unachieveable - A team which is good for nothing. They can now lose at home and and possibily improve overseas performance by not losing all the matches. Indian batsmen never really fight hard to score when it matters. Only three players, Gambhir, Kohli, Ashwin, can be termed as the fighters in the team and their fighting level itself is not enough. Where is Mohd.Kaif ?

Posted by PadMarley on (December 7, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

Murali and Warne are born only in hundred years.... if you have basic skills and want to learn how patience and use of simple tricks can be used in longer version of the game.... watch Rangana Herath!

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (December 6, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

If a bowler can't deliver his stock deliveries, irrespective of the pitch, then why is he in the team, in the first place? Spinners cannot bowl on green top is a poor excuse. As you mentioned, they need to experiment with pace/length of their deliveries. I thought that's why you have coaches for national teams....i.e. to plan. What a waste of money.

Posted by InsideHedge on (December 6, 2012, 22:10 GMT)

Perhaps losing the ongoing series - and losing it badly - will prompt the administrators to order a review similar to what we saw in England and Australia in recent years. Further, some serious and HONEST introspection is required.

Maybe, just maybe, we will benefit in the LONG TERM because we look useless now in ALL the FORMATS: Tests, ODIs and T20s.

Just look at the team, they look un-athletic, disinterested, lacking in pride and loyalty. The captain is as quiet as a mouse in the field.

Posted by Rahulbose on (December 6, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

Aakash obvious can't find the guts to speak the obvious. But hopefully Cricinfo can at least tolerate the truth in the comments section. Is it a surprise that this sudden vanishing of spinners coincides with rise of T20 and IPL? At a time when the BCCI president is an IPL team owner, why are people surprised that Indians can't produce test quality bowlers?

Posted by MiddleStump on (December 6, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

Agreed that the IPL has played a part in the declining standards of bowling overall and spin bowling in particular. IPL changes the mentality of spin bowlers permanently. They don't like getting hit by the batsmen even in the longer formats of the game. And once a spin bowler gets uncomfortable when a batsman goes after him, he is doomed to fail. Spinners must master their craft and buy their wickets. Even when the likes of Sobers and Lloyd went after the spin quartet, they continued to challenge them with flight. In fact one could see wide grins on the faces of Bedi and Prasanna when batsmen went on the offensive. They were so confident that the batsman was close to getting out. Invariably they were right.

Posted by sharidas on (December 6, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

Very similar to the way sub continental Hockey went.

Posted by ramu27689 on (December 6, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

Firstly, can people get over the misconception that has being imprinted into our brains that India has the tradition for producing the best spinners in the world. This is far from the truth. Benaud, McGill, Warne...are part of an Aussies spin tradition that has mastered the much more tougher art of Leg Spin, which requires much more skill and is much more effective than the finger spin that our spinners follow. Just because we produce loads of spinners doesn't mean that we have best tradition. Australia wins that honour. Stats wise too they are much better. And, we dont have a fast bowling tradition too. Our fast bowlers love bowling at 120 and our spinners love bowling at 110. All in all a sick bowling tradition, one that never existed.

Posted by IndiaNeedsBowlers on (December 6, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

I am a big fan of your analysis, and really appreciate the details of play that you put in your article. But it is intresting you say this Aakash, as sometime back you had published an article asking for pace freindly wickets in domestic cricket. You had also suggested using Kookaborra ball - which doesn't help spin as the seam diminishes very quickly. In my opinion each Ranji team should be allowed to prepare pitches that suit the home team. So if a team has good spinner, prepare rank turners, if the team has good fast bowlers, prepare green tops/ bouncy wickets, if a team has good bastman, prepare flat tracks. Let the players play in different conditions rather than restricting them to play on same conditions and make them unidimenional. And also winning should be the main motive, so for winning if a team thinks green tops will help them, so be it.

Posted by AB99 on (December 6, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

Foreign coaches Aakash, these foreign coaches. Our spinners forget that they have to give revolutions to spin the ball ... aka Bedi and Prasanna. In the series against England, Ashwin bowled right arm over running between the umpire and the stumps - now he is supposed to spin the cricket ball and now spin and turn while in his bowling action ... this is where we have come to ... a barren cupboard ... Someone shd tell Harbhajan to forget going round the wicket to left handers and use the blind spot from over the wicket while bowling to left handers with a middle and off stump lenght ...

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

On the other hand, Pakistan's domestic competition is heavily influenced by fast bowling: - Ehsan Adil:- 53 wickets - Average 17.00 - Imran Khan:- 50 wickets - Average 17.22 - Aizaz Cheema:- 46 @18.82 - Samiullah Khan:- 45 @ 15.86 - Junaid Khan:- 41 @ 16.78

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/bowling/most_wickets_career.html?id=7672;type=tournament

Posted by truthfinder on (December 6, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

It is unfortunate that the man as knowledgeable as Akash Chopra had written this article of wrong perception. If india's domestic circuits are producing green tops -- which we actually want-- then where are the fast bowlers ? Still India's fast bowling strength is nearly the worst in the world. I think still India's pitches helps spin but in a different way. The slow and low turner reduces the spinner's capability to turn the ball huge and turn it fast.They emphasize on bounces by varying pace such that uneven bounce --not the traditional sharp turn-- would fetch the wicket. In a rank turner where even bowler who can turns sharp with more pace can easily win out. Because sharp turn with more pace is the most lethal form of spin bowling but that won't work effectively in a very slow,low dusty wicket.

Posted by Atifkhan3489 on (December 6, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

My all friends, i m from pakistan and pitches are not bouncy in pakistan but pakistan has produced so many fast bowlers and good spinners.i think pitches don't affect cricketer mind.in pakistan every young boy want to become waqar or wasim. And in india every player want to become sachin and dravid or sehwag.that's the matter.

Posted by Humdingers on (December 6, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

If it seams it will spin. India need to play to their strengths. But at the same time need to expose the youngsters to play outside of India - think County cricket in England or do a deal with Sth.Africa or Australia or NZ to play in their domestic seasons.

Posted by Street_Hawk on (December 5, 2012, 21:01 GMT)

Wait Akash..if what you said about green top is true, then how come England are producing attacking spinners like Swann and Panesar, how Australia produced spinners like Warne and MacGill? Even in recent series between SA and Aus, we did not see spinners (Lyon and Peterson) to be happy playing the containing roles...they were aggressive..sure they got hit all around but they produced wickets too...Did not see any of that from Ashwin last Aus tour..Yes, pitches matters but what matters most is your mentality..how you approach the game, how you build your strategy around a defensive mind set or an aggressive mind set...also, as a bowler you need to do your homework for every batsman and more than one plan ready and be patient..you can't just go into a game on a green top assuming fast bowlers will be aggressive and spinner will just be containing..it depends on the situation...if situation demands spinners needs to be aggressive too

Posted by Nampally on (December 5, 2012, 20:21 GMT)

Akaash, Past Indian spinners did their art much better than the present guys because they loved what they were doing. A spinner should be able to spin the ball by pitching it at the right spots. Subash Gupte the best leg spinner India has ever produced turned the ball about a foot on most pitches. He bowled to packed off side field to 3 W's from West Indies who could not beat the field. I think he got about 35 wkts. in a 5 test series. How many leg spinners of Gupte's calibre exist in the World, let alone in India? We have the off spinner Ashwin who tries about 4 different balls with uncontrolled length, direction & not to his field. The present leg spinners in India - Mishra, Chawla & Sharma are rarely outstanding. This is because they are not dedicated to their art the same way as past greats like V.Mankad, S.Gupte. Bedi, Kumble, Chandra, Prasanna, Ghulam or Venkat. Present spinners cannot even bowl to a field accurately. How can they succeed? Blaming th pitch is not the answer.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 5, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

Blaming IPL is really awful excuse. Good spinner is good spinner. Basically indian spinner got exposed. We need to find spinner who has more revolution in the ball. Chawla , mishra floats because their fingers are small and it look basically look like slow full toss. Ashwin and Ojha also do not spin but they are always control spinners than attacking spinners. Jumping one excuse to another do not solve problem.Accept responsibility is best solution. India do not have good spinner or fast bowler. What we have 100s of clones of mediocre fast bowlers I feel when young bowler come into picture he was not given the confidence for them to improve upon. If there is no chance of getting into indian team people will quit. Why pankaj singh fast bowler did n't get chance is a mystery. I feel Tall bowlers should be given first chance than short bowler. India still lacks knowledge in identifying priority. Short guy needs more energy and he get hurts because of that.

Posted by USIndianFan on (December 5, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

Simple. Provide a variety of pitches for local cricket. Up North, it should be possible to have greentops and in the south/ center pitches that favor spinners. Places like Saurashtra may always favor flat pitches.

To ensure this kind of picking, weight the points so that winning and losing is more important than drawing. Finally, maybe add a constraint of local performance as a factor in being picked for the IPL. That will add the fiscal incentive.

Posted by luks on (December 5, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

Pitches in India are not green tops or pace friendly. The typical Indian pitch has become one where the edges don't carry to the slips and wicket keeper, whether bowling spin or pace, which doesn't do anyone any good. Eden Gardens pitch is an abomination, because on the first day, genuine edges are not carrying to slips (off both spin and pacers). Anyway, green tops or pace friendly pitches are not to blame. How do you explain the fact that Shane Warne and Grame Swann grew up on supposedly pace friendly pitches? Shane Warne benefited from the bounce in Australian pitches and edges carrying to the slips, which we unfortunately don't get in India. Our spinners don't put enough revolutions on the ball, certainly not as much as Swann or Warne would.

Posted by VickGower on (December 5, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

How hard can it be to come up with a synthetic surface that has a little bit for all types of bowlers. Come up with one. Bowlers thrive. Batsmen get better. And we have a standard pitch that can be used all over the world.

Posted by anilkp on (December 5, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

Hi Aakash, you are right to bemoan the pitches for the sorry plight of spinners in India today; your logic sounds reasonable. However, you also recently bemoaned docile pitches for the sorry plight of the fast bowlers (http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/beyondtheblues/archives/2012/12/fast_bowlers_turning_extinct_i.php). Both cannot be correct, right? And if we are, then we are seriously in to some nasty consequences for sure. What I am surprised that brillant cricket minds and administrators fail to make a potent distinction: the need to make different wickets for practice matches and actual games. Fast pitches must be used rigorously to regularly train players for foreign tours. However, players must also be trained on dustbowls so that our own batsmen learn to play spin and not be destroyed by Monty. Then only rank turners will help beat visiters. Domestic matches must regularly be held on specialized pitches.

Posted by CricketMaan on (December 5, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

@Aakash - are you following Tony Grieg on twitter too much..you seem to give IPL and the reason for every failure in Indian cricket..have you forgotten that every other nation have thier own T20 as well yet succeeding. So your remedy is to BAN IPL? and all problems in India cricket will be sorte out. I feel sorry for you, had you got the same number of chances that GG or Rohit Sharma gets/got you would played long for India..i admire your writing, but this obsession to ridicule IPL and reason it for every failure is a sure shortcoming. Move on mate!!

Posted by CricketMaan on (December 5, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

OK, now Aakash wants spin friendly pitches, which is what Dhoni wants but he is crucified. First greentops to prepare batsmen for overseas, then spin friendly for batsmen to play spin, what next..a 18 yards pitch to learn to play bouncers and short pitched? This is why our standards are spiraling downwards, the focus should be on skills and cricket..we are obsessed with coach, captain and pitches..and now curators..

Posted by HyderabadiFlick on (December 5, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

For me these are the reasons for decline in spin bowling in India. 1. IPL needs to be blamed not T20 Intl's. 2. Defensive bowling techniques. No flight, no gain for a spinner. 3. Defensive field settings. When a Captain sets wide spread fields for the strike bowler of the team. Bowler will lose confidence and that rubs on to the team. 4. Bowler must be given a chance to set the fielding and not the Captain. 5.Common sense must prevail and the Captain & the bowler must out think the batsmen by setting in/out field. Horses for courses kind of field setting. 6. Fielding must be top class and must keep the same batsman on strike for the bowler to set and strike. 7. Make the Batsmen play more n more. Avoid bowling on middle & leg from over the wicket as an off-spinner. For leg-spinners never bowl full-tosses, short pitch. 8. Bowl fast in test cricket, even if you flight the ball. When Captains think of a sweeper cover from the first hour of play then what will the bowler be thinking.

Posted by groggyme on (December 5, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

I don't think we should blame just the IPL it is a combination of problems.Chief among them is the points based system that gives points for first innings lead in a Ranji game. Bowlers / Captains/ Home associations would be satisfied in a sedate boring draw for the "vital" first innings lead instead of attacking and trying to win a game. What is a spinner if he cannot attack?

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (December 5, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

I usually like all Aakash chopra articles ( be it with No.3 successor, Viru midset prob.). However, in this article, i don't find he analyzed deep enough or may be its too early to press the panic button. However, the thinking is in right direction. Spin cupboaard seems to be empty with too much t20 extravanza. What i would like to the dimension is 1) No.of off Spinners/Leg Spinners in different teams 2) Wickets taken by them respectively 3) which part of country is the match played 4) left arm spinners % wickets as compared to total wickets. These might throw some light on both batsmen mindset/spinners flight

Posted by Biggus on (December 5, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Indians are seeing greentops EVERYWHERE these days. Mr Srinivasan claims last years wickets for the series Vs Australia were 'super fast' too. Any excuse will do it seems, no matter how silly. If you really want to see a greentop come down to Bellerive oval and play on an underprepared pitch there, then at least you'll have seen a real greentop and be able to tell the difference between one and a normal test wicket.

Posted by AdityaMookerjee on (December 5, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

The great urgency is, that Ashwin is batting like Laxman, when people want him to shine as a spinner. I saw him hit a boundary, and a boundary which should have been was stopped. I mean, how is a Chennai lad batting like a Hyderabadi? I just hope he remains a spinner, and becomes a spinner to be remembered in India.

Posted by SouthPaw on (December 5, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

Blame the flat pitches for this. The medium pacers and faster bowlers at least have some part of the air to move the ball but for the spinners, unless they beat the batsman in the air (an impossibility if the batsmen are patient), they don't get much purchase from the pitch :(

Posted by tony122 on (December 5, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

I disagree with your premise. Pitches in the domestic circuit in India have not become pace friendly by world standards. We made our pitches more seam friendly but it was only done by tinkering the top surface. There was no large scale relaying of surfaces. That just made Indian pitches neither conducive for pace or spin. And the result is batsmen who can neither play good spin,bouce or seam. In my view the solution is to prepare all kind of surfaces. Lets say: 10% surfaces like Perth. 30% like Melbourne. 30% like Adelaide. 20% like Chennai. 10% -Headinley. Of course we can have different ratios but you get my point. India is a large enough country to do that. We have the largest domestic circuit and a very diverse geograhy and climate for this plan to be feasible. If you make all surfaces spin friendly batsmen will not be equipped to handle pace, if you make all surfaces super pacy -batsmen will be good horizontal bat players but a certain elegance will be lost. Balance is the key!

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (December 5, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

But the sporting pitches are made for Ranji mathes ONLY IN THIS YEAR. How that could that be the reason for good spinners to vanish ? I guess its only the desire to play in IPL that is driving this downward spiral

Posted by Nuxxy on (December 5, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

There is too much emphasis on 'spin' for spinners and not enough on the flight of the ball. Spin means nothing if the batsmen can get to the pitch of the ball. Spin might beat a batsman, but it won't deceive them. Flight, loop and dip are what is important to beat a batsman. After that, the spin takes the ball to the edge, but only after the batsman is already beaten by getting into the wrong position. And unfortunately when you bowl defensively and with a flat trajectory, it's the flight, loop and dip that you lose.

Posted by vik56in on (December 5, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

Aakash Chopra seems to fathom that the reason for India's poor quality of spinners is green tops in Ranji Trophy.No,that is not the case,there are no green tops in India.Otherwise,why would sub standard batsmen make merry.How can Monty Panesar become a better bowler than India's when he grew up on seaming pitches in England.The only reason for India's poor quality of spinners is IPL and excessive ODIs.

Posted by dhr_acharya on (December 5, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

this is really very fine artical by aakash sir

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

Very True Akash, I wonder why playing out Spin on a turning track is given less importance, than playing against hostile pace bowlers on a bouncy track. Both require different sets of skills, & both test Batsmen to perform in conditions that are favorable to bowlers. A sporting Pitch should be one which offers consistent Bounce throughout the duration of the match & offer turn from day 3 onward. But this obsession with pace & bounce is not helping Indian Cricket much, if you want to help our batsmen to get accustomed to foreign conditions, allow them to play in county, & arrange more A tours, not change the nature of our wickets, after all Australia, South Africa, Newzealand & England are not preparing Turners to master Sub-Continental conditions.

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

As always Aakash, you've hit the nail on the head. What the dunderheads that run our domestic cricket don't realize is that the way to produce better cricket is not greentops, but normal Indian tracks with a bit of bounce. We saw that the excellent Mumbai pitch recently evened the game out for both India and England, as the hard red soil assisted both all kinds of bowlers including spinners. These are the kind of pitches that will improve our techniques when playing abroad as well -- it's not like every pitch in Australia or England is a greentop, it's in fact the extra bounce that gets our players every time. There's not point producing greentops when the ball doesn't bounce -- all it serves is to inflate the averages of dobby medium pacers who then get found out at international level. You're absolutely right, I looked at the Ranji charts this season and all the wickets are taken by medium pacers who don't even bowl that fast.

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 6:01 GMT)

Awesome article Aakash...hope this will induce some turnaround. Calling for sporting pitches destroying our strength. Sad :(

Posted by   on (December 5, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

this is seriously sad state of affairs in india...if spin is gone indian cricket is dead!!

Posted by venky2010 on (December 5, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

Dear Akash,

This is a good analysis of the problem, but will be better if you can pin point the solution, say 1,2 ,3 these need to be done. I belive this article covers only One part, the problem. Appreciate if you can provide/suggest solutions too.

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (December 5, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

This concept of Indian players being the best players of spin is a bit exaggerated. True VVS was probably the best i've seen, but from the present crop Mahela is easily the best, followed by the likes of Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq and Thilan Samaraweera. The fact is people like Dhoni and Raina are flat track bullies. Indian cricket needs to invest in the likes of Kohli who have real talent. I don't like Kohli the person, but i am in awe of his talent and application, in all conditions whether in rank turners, green top or flat track.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (December 5, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

Its is absolutely amazing that despite the fact that we are a one-sport nation with the richest cricket board, and with mediocre players fawned over by the media and fans, and thousands of academies all over the country, we still have a dearth of talent. Maybe its on our genes, as Indians are scarcely renowned for their work ethic.

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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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As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history

Busy keepers, and Waqar's bowleds

Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player

'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

The umpire's bowling change

Plays of the day from the CLT20 game between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings

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