Bangladesh v India, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 28, 2014

India flourish in spin-friendly conditions

21

Just over a week ago, if anyone had said that India's bowling would set up three successive wins to take them to the semi-finals of the World T20, he would have been laughed at. This was a side that had not won a single game in any format on its previous two tours, to South Africa and New Zealand. Things had gone so bad after the ODI series in New Zealand was lost, that MS Dhoni had said he had no clarity on which fast bowlers he could take with him to the 2015 World Cup.

In Bangladesh, an India bowler has been Man of the Match in all their three games so far. The major headache has become a major strength, as India have restricted Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh to below 140 each. Just what has changed so quickly from South Africa and New Zealand? It is all about the conditions favouring the India spinners, according to MS Dhoni. The India captain felt that with their inconsistent quick bowlers, India tended to find it hard on batting-friendly surfaces which did not assist their spinners.

"Where we have struggled in limited-overs format - both T20 and 50-overs cricket - it is wickets which are good to bat on and which don't support the spinners," Dhoni said. "That means even the part-timers have struggled in those few overs apart from (Suresh) Raina in the subcontinental conditions. If there's not much lateral movement, they bowl at the right pace to get hit may be.

"The bowlers who bowl quick, they don't bowl in the same areas. We have got definitely some potential when it comes to sheer fast bowling. Varun (Aaron) is someone who can bowl quick, Umesh (Yadav) is someone who can bowl at 140-plus. But still they are struggling to find their line and length. It may take a bit of time. Because once they go back and play domestic season, they can bowl back of length and get away with it in most games. But in international circuit it doesn't really happen."

In Bangladesh, and particularly in Dhaka, the pitches have afforded sufficient turn and some bounce for the spinners. There has not been too much dew around as well, even though India's games have all been night ones. India's spinners have taken 14 wickets compared to their fast bowlers' four strikes in their three matches so far. While Ravindra Jadeja has been a touch expensive, R Ashwin and Amit Mishra have thrived in helpful conditions and have not only taken wickets, but have economy-rates of 5.16 and 5.50.

"In this tournament particularly, I think, there is a bit of purchase for the spinners," Dhoni said. "We are playing with three spinners and even the part-timers... Raina has been bowling well, we have still not used Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli is there, Rohit (Sharma) is there. When the conditions favour us, I think our bowlers become very exciting and they make the most out of it. But they have struggled on wickets where there is no purchase for spinners."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 30, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    It will be more interesting if Yuvi start bowling for today's match against Aussies.

  • Nampally on March 29, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    Luckily for Dhoni, Kohli paved the way for Mishra by including him in the XI in the Asia Cup. Mishra performed brilliantly. Dhoni had benched all RH leg spinners in the past such as Rahul Sharma, Chawla & Mishra. After Mishra's great showing in the Asia cup, he was forced to include Mishra in XI. To the surprise of Dhoni, Mishra was the trump card which helped India win all 3 T20 2014 WC matches. Mishra even showed that he can bowl the "death over" better than Kumar or Shami by claiming 2 wkts. in the "20th over"! So Kohli deserves most of the credit for Mishra's Rise . It is unfortunate that Dhoni had little or no knowledge of great leg spinners like Subash Gupte or Chandra. He Played with Kumble briefly. India won matches via spinners during 50 years before Dhoni. When you have "Specialist" bowlers like Mishra, the part timers become redundant! Now India needs few good pace bowlers by trying out Aaron, Pandey, Yadev & others. Dhoni needs to focus on Developing Not Benching Bowlers!

  • insightfulcricketer on March 29, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    The biggest lesson for Dhoni from here is bowler win matches. Its a cricketing truth. This should be his mantra in the next 12 months play 5 batsmen and 5 bowler in test/odis/t20 will lead to decent results and not white washes.I know this is T20 but the more gruelling games are ahead starting summer.

    Hopefully he takes this lesson to heart and not get fooled by captain Cool nonsense.

  • sweetspot on March 29, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    India have quality and quantity in their spin ranks, enabling them if they choose to, to bowl 20 overs of spin, with about 12-14 of them being very decent, controlled stuff. Brave of MSD to go with three front line spin options, despite having the part timers.

  • on March 29, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    @Realfan And there comes the brigade. Why should I bash somecountry when my own aren't performing too well? Before you come all guns blazing just remember I said NZ are rubbish outside home too. The best we gad were 80's and 200-2004. NZ were no. 3 at start of 2010 and 7 (even 9 in 2012) in odi's. But in past they had victories in south africa, england overseas. Still rmthey got from 8 to 7. Thus is where I said why don't India get to 4th or 5th after loss to no. 8 ranked team? And why aren't they shifted to 5-6? We have been consistent if you remove Bangladesh series.

  • on March 29, 2014, 10:02 GMT

    such a really good swing bowling nd really superb batting...

  • realfan on March 29, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    @ Shane Bond : looks like you have been offended by some way or the other... i just said you have comented wrong comment in the wrtong article... this article is about how india succed in spin friendly track and you are commenting about rankings.. is it because india reached no.1 in T20 or some other reason??? ok here is why india did not rank 5 or 6 or even lower rank after NZ tests recently... you might have noticed there waas considerable decrease in points before the series and after the series... but the fact is the topp 3 are ( i should say " were " ) too dominating that the points difference in table is too large , if i am not wrong india had nearly 120 points before series and now they have 112, fair enough they have lowered their points...now if they lose against eng in upsoming series they will be dislodged from 3rd spot and may get 4th or even 5th.... i just said i dont see any reason for your coment and you took is offensively.. good for you.. chill.

  • AsifAbbasi on March 29, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    The real test of these spinners will come when they defend a target.

    When the pressure is on, and they have to defend a 150-160 score, it will be a different ball game altogether...

    MSD is lucky to win all the tosses and as long as India chase a smallish total, it is OK.

    Having said all that, the spinners have been amazing as of now...

  • on March 29, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    @Realfan And there comes the brigade. Why should I bash somecountry when my own aren't performing too well? Before you come all guns blazing just remember I said NZ are rubbish outside home too. The best we gad were 80's and 200-2004. NZ were no. 3 at start of 2010 and 7 (even 9 in 2012) in odi's. But in past they had victories in south africa, england overseas. Still rmthey got from 8 to 7. Thus is where I said why don't India get to 4th or 5th after loss to no. 8 ranked team? And why aren't they shifted to 5-6? We have been consistent if you remove Bangladesh series.

  • realfan on March 29, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    @ Shane Bond : india performed well over past few years even outside india ... remember they were no.1 at one time and because of their non performance in recent years they have been deranked to no.3 cant you see there is decrese of 2 ranks... and even if they not perform in future they will agains go down in ranking... simple ... before WC11 india has performed well overseaas ( won test series in NZ, ENG, WI, drew in SA, AUS) and that why they wetre on top at that time.... it looks as if if a team is not performed over 2 years they should rank somewhere between 10 and 15... that gives newzealand a ranking of somehwere between 25 to 30... moreover why did you coment on ranking in this article if not for bashing??? i see no reason for your comment in this article ...

  • on March 30, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    It will be more interesting if Yuvi start bowling for today's match against Aussies.

  • Nampally on March 29, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    Luckily for Dhoni, Kohli paved the way for Mishra by including him in the XI in the Asia Cup. Mishra performed brilliantly. Dhoni had benched all RH leg spinners in the past such as Rahul Sharma, Chawla & Mishra. After Mishra's great showing in the Asia cup, he was forced to include Mishra in XI. To the surprise of Dhoni, Mishra was the trump card which helped India win all 3 T20 2014 WC matches. Mishra even showed that he can bowl the "death over" better than Kumar or Shami by claiming 2 wkts. in the "20th over"! So Kohli deserves most of the credit for Mishra's Rise . It is unfortunate that Dhoni had little or no knowledge of great leg spinners like Subash Gupte or Chandra. He Played with Kumble briefly. India won matches via spinners during 50 years before Dhoni. When you have "Specialist" bowlers like Mishra, the part timers become redundant! Now India needs few good pace bowlers by trying out Aaron, Pandey, Yadev & others. Dhoni needs to focus on Developing Not Benching Bowlers!

  • insightfulcricketer on March 29, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    The biggest lesson for Dhoni from here is bowler win matches. Its a cricketing truth. This should be his mantra in the next 12 months play 5 batsmen and 5 bowler in test/odis/t20 will lead to decent results and not white washes.I know this is T20 but the more gruelling games are ahead starting summer.

    Hopefully he takes this lesson to heart and not get fooled by captain Cool nonsense.

  • sweetspot on March 29, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    India have quality and quantity in their spin ranks, enabling them if they choose to, to bowl 20 overs of spin, with about 12-14 of them being very decent, controlled stuff. Brave of MSD to go with three front line spin options, despite having the part timers.

  • on March 29, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    @Realfan And there comes the brigade. Why should I bash somecountry when my own aren't performing too well? Before you come all guns blazing just remember I said NZ are rubbish outside home too. The best we gad were 80's and 200-2004. NZ were no. 3 at start of 2010 and 7 (even 9 in 2012) in odi's. But in past they had victories in south africa, england overseas. Still rmthey got from 8 to 7. Thus is where I said why don't India get to 4th or 5th after loss to no. 8 ranked team? And why aren't they shifted to 5-6? We have been consistent if you remove Bangladesh series.

  • on March 29, 2014, 10:02 GMT

    such a really good swing bowling nd really superb batting...

  • realfan on March 29, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    @ Shane Bond : looks like you have been offended by some way or the other... i just said you have comented wrong comment in the wrtong article... this article is about how india succed in spin friendly track and you are commenting about rankings.. is it because india reached no.1 in T20 or some other reason??? ok here is why india did not rank 5 or 6 or even lower rank after NZ tests recently... you might have noticed there waas considerable decrease in points before the series and after the series... but the fact is the topp 3 are ( i should say " were " ) too dominating that the points difference in table is too large , if i am not wrong india had nearly 120 points before series and now they have 112, fair enough they have lowered their points...now if they lose against eng in upsoming series they will be dislodged from 3rd spot and may get 4th or even 5th.... i just said i dont see any reason for your coment and you took is offensively.. good for you.. chill.

  • AsifAbbasi on March 29, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    The real test of these spinners will come when they defend a target.

    When the pressure is on, and they have to defend a 150-160 score, it will be a different ball game altogether...

    MSD is lucky to win all the tosses and as long as India chase a smallish total, it is OK.

    Having said all that, the spinners have been amazing as of now...

  • on March 29, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    @Realfan And there comes the brigade. Why should I bash somecountry when my own aren't performing too well? Before you come all guns blazing just remember I said NZ are rubbish outside home too. The best we gad were 80's and 200-2004. NZ were no. 3 at start of 2010 and 7 (even 9 in 2012) in odi's. But in past they had victories in south africa, england overseas. Still rmthey got from 8 to 7. Thus is where I said why don't India get to 4th or 5th after loss to no. 8 ranked team? And why aren't they shifted to 5-6? We have been consistent if you remove Bangladesh series.

  • realfan on March 29, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    @ Shane Bond : india performed well over past few years even outside india ... remember they were no.1 at one time and because of their non performance in recent years they have been deranked to no.3 cant you see there is decrese of 2 ranks... and even if they not perform in future they will agains go down in ranking... simple ... before WC11 india has performed well overseaas ( won test series in NZ, ENG, WI, drew in SA, AUS) and that why they wetre on top at that time.... it looks as if if a team is not performed over 2 years they should rank somewhere between 10 and 15... that gives newzealand a ranking of somehwere between 25 to 30... moreover why did you coment on ranking in this article if not for bashing??? i see no reason for your comment in this article ...

  • on March 29, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    I appreciate fast Swing bowling as well as quality spin bowling....t 20 is no more batsman game ...any team with good mixture of fast and spin can win matches..

  • on March 29, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    @Flat Bully and Surjak Don't mistake me for India basher and whatever you are saying was my point. You said that none teams play well overseas and thats the case with NZ too. India are a far better team but regarding their rankings I have objections. The cricinfo staff cut plenty of lines from my previous post which adressed these issues. Only team doing well both overseas and at home were Sa and hence their ranking. But rest of all played well at home not too well outside. But good on India.

  • on March 29, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    Ind has got fantastic spin bowling attack. All bowl differently. One leggi one offie and one who just throws the ball on right line n length with good variations with bullet arm n the odd one turns. In asia, overseas teams suffer mst if the times. Except a batsman or 2 they have no idea what playing spin bowling is all about. Those teams don't have quality spin bowler either with narine being exception.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 29, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    @ Shane Bond. But still NZ lost all matches in spinner friendly BD pitches in the last tour, right? And regarding Rankings, India thrashed a top team like Aus 4-0 in test which give them more points. Also, fortunately or unfortunately, there wasn't any dominant performance from other teams to overtake India in rankings in tests. and in ODIs Indian performance was bad recently but the points from CT13 and tri nations WI were enough to hold them at top (also home ODIs performances too).

  • Surajk on March 29, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    @Shane Bond Yes they played bad cricket on the last two tours to SA and NZ. But they won at home against Eng/WI/Aus, and performed extremely well in the Champions Trophy in England where they won the tournament without losing a game. India may not have played well in NZ or SA, but none of the major teams have performed overseas too - including NZ who even lost to Bangladesh overseas. India may not be a champion team like Aus once was but they have had some very good victories - WC 2011, CT 2013 etc.. - it ought to count for something! Frankly Limited overs cricket is all about World cups and CT, nobody remembers the other tournaments...

  • on March 29, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    Shouldn't say about Oz and Sa but kiwis were never on top of rankings. The best were in 2003 when they reached third and plated spin arguably well. But why India is on top despite their inept batting and bowling outside India?

  • bkpkingston on March 29, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    @henchart -Assuming that the teams get past the lower teams (Pak vs Bang and NZ & Eng vs Netherlands) then we effectively have 3 Qtr finals the winners of Pak vs W, Eng vs SA and NZ vs SL will move on to the SFinals along with Ind. Run rate will only effect who comes 1st or 2nd.

  • realfan on March 29, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @ultimatewarrior : yes you are right... matches are won by bowlers and not by batsmen , especially T20 and tests... and yeah i think they are trying different things and players for WC15 too... like ashwin always bowling middle and leg stump line to control run flow ( spinners cant get wickets in AUS and NZ ), bhuvi bowling good yorkers in death overs, jadeja bowling often in death overs.... trying to get UV back to his usual self... making bowlers to bowl first taking pressure of them , and chasing anything that is put on the board ( indian batsmen were never in pressure, its always bowlers that were in pressure of performance )... yes surely they are trying different things... i just hope they get another fast bowler ready for those pitches, may be varun or yadhav...

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on March 29, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    SA, NZ AND OZ are fast track bullies, look at their performance struggling.

  • ultimatewarrior on March 29, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    One thing is very clear India wins Matches only because of Bowlers, their batsmen can give a good fight but can't win Matches.....Also the message is very clear from Captain Dhoni, we are winning in WT20 in Bangladesh with these players but even then India will require some different set of players for defending ODI World Cup in Aussie-NZ Pitches...problem understood is half salved...Wish you to win both World Cups (T20 & ODI)...

  • henchart on March 29, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    As I understand,if Pakistan beat Bangladesh ,Australia bows out of race for second Semifinalists from Group 2 even if they beat both India and Bangladesh.The Pakistan-WI match would become a virtual Quarter Final.In Group 1,England-RSA match is Quarter Final of sorts assuming England should get past Netherlands .RSA might have won their last 2 matches but their margin of win has left them vulnerable to both SLK and NZL in terms of NRR. Interesting weekend matches in the offing.

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  • henchart on March 29, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    As I understand,if Pakistan beat Bangladesh ,Australia bows out of race for second Semifinalists from Group 2 even if they beat both India and Bangladesh.The Pakistan-WI match would become a virtual Quarter Final.In Group 1,England-RSA match is Quarter Final of sorts assuming England should get past Netherlands .RSA might have won their last 2 matches but their margin of win has left them vulnerable to both SLK and NZL in terms of NRR. Interesting weekend matches in the offing.

  • ultimatewarrior on March 29, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    One thing is very clear India wins Matches only because of Bowlers, their batsmen can give a good fight but can't win Matches.....Also the message is very clear from Captain Dhoni, we are winning in WT20 in Bangladesh with these players but even then India will require some different set of players for defending ODI World Cup in Aussie-NZ Pitches...problem understood is half salved...Wish you to win both World Cups (T20 & ODI)...

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on March 29, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    SA, NZ AND OZ are fast track bullies, look at their performance struggling.

  • realfan on March 29, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @ultimatewarrior : yes you are right... matches are won by bowlers and not by batsmen , especially T20 and tests... and yeah i think they are trying different things and players for WC15 too... like ashwin always bowling middle and leg stump line to control run flow ( spinners cant get wickets in AUS and NZ ), bhuvi bowling good yorkers in death overs, jadeja bowling often in death overs.... trying to get UV back to his usual self... making bowlers to bowl first taking pressure of them , and chasing anything that is put on the board ( indian batsmen were never in pressure, its always bowlers that were in pressure of performance )... yes surely they are trying different things... i just hope they get another fast bowler ready for those pitches, may be varun or yadhav...

  • bkpkingston on March 29, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    @henchart -Assuming that the teams get past the lower teams (Pak vs Bang and NZ & Eng vs Netherlands) then we effectively have 3 Qtr finals the winners of Pak vs W, Eng vs SA and NZ vs SL will move on to the SFinals along with Ind. Run rate will only effect who comes 1st or 2nd.

  • on March 29, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    Shouldn't say about Oz and Sa but kiwis were never on top of rankings. The best were in 2003 when they reached third and plated spin arguably well. But why India is on top despite their inept batting and bowling outside India?

  • Surajk on March 29, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    @Shane Bond Yes they played bad cricket on the last two tours to SA and NZ. But they won at home against Eng/WI/Aus, and performed extremely well in the Champions Trophy in England where they won the tournament without losing a game. India may not have played well in NZ or SA, but none of the major teams have performed overseas too - including NZ who even lost to Bangladesh overseas. India may not be a champion team like Aus once was but they have had some very good victories - WC 2011, CT 2013 etc.. - it ought to count for something! Frankly Limited overs cricket is all about World cups and CT, nobody remembers the other tournaments...

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 29, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    @ Shane Bond. But still NZ lost all matches in spinner friendly BD pitches in the last tour, right? And regarding Rankings, India thrashed a top team like Aus 4-0 in test which give them more points. Also, fortunately or unfortunately, there wasn't any dominant performance from other teams to overtake India in rankings in tests. and in ODIs Indian performance was bad recently but the points from CT13 and tri nations WI were enough to hold them at top (also home ODIs performances too).

  • on March 29, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    Ind has got fantastic spin bowling attack. All bowl differently. One leggi one offie and one who just throws the ball on right line n length with good variations with bullet arm n the odd one turns. In asia, overseas teams suffer mst if the times. Except a batsman or 2 they have no idea what playing spin bowling is all about. Those teams don't have quality spin bowler either with narine being exception.

  • on March 29, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    @Flat Bully and Surjak Don't mistake me for India basher and whatever you are saying was my point. You said that none teams play well overseas and thats the case with NZ too. India are a far better team but regarding their rankings I have objections. The cricinfo staff cut plenty of lines from my previous post which adressed these issues. Only team doing well both overseas and at home were Sa and hence their ranking. But rest of all played well at home not too well outside. But good on India.