Murali and Vettori give away the secrets to spin bowling in Australia

Modern day greats advise bowlers to use the bounce to their advantage

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
What kind of spinners will enjoy success at the T20 World Cup in Australia? Ask Muthiah Muralidaran, and he backs wristspinners - like the recently crowned Asia Cup Player of the Tournament - Wanindu Hasaranga. Pick Daniel Vettori's brain, and he believes fingerspinners - of the R Ashwin mould - will get more out of those surfaces. Both, however, agree on one thing: use the bounce in Australia to your advantage.
Vettori, in particular, stressed on the art of imparting topspin, like Nathan Lyon has done to great success in Test cricket on these very grounds. "In New Zealand and Australia, and England to a lesser degree, it is about all the drift and the amount of revolutions you get on the ball," Vettori said at a media interaction in Kolkata. "Whereas on the subcontinent you can have the wicket do a bit more work for you.
"And we all know Ashwin is exceptional at that [topspin] from how he bowls in Test matches. The thing is he's come off the back of a great IPL and he's one of those guys who is very adaptable, who understands what he needs to do in every situation. If he's picked, he will know what to do. He has been in Australia many times before. Among India's plethora of spinners, most of them are allrounders as well, that's what sets them apart and gives them so much balance."
Muralidaran, on the other hand, believes that a wristspinner's ability to generate more sidespin gives them the upper hand. That sort of skill, he believes, makes someone like Hasaranga - who took nine wickets at an average of 18.88 at the Asia Cup - the one to watch out for.
"In Australia, legspinners have more chance than fingerspinners because you can get a sideways spin and bounce will help," Muralidaran said. "I think Hasaranga will be a difficult opponent to bat against, because you have to be careful facing him. But still there are players who can play [him] well.
"He is a great T20 bowler. He has been very successful, which is why he has played for [Royal Challengers] Bangalore as well. He has done great things in last 2-3 years. He is a young guy, not old, he's about 26-27 years old [25 years old]. But I don't discuss spin bowling with him much. I don't see him much, and Sri Lanka have a spin-bowling coach, who he must be talking to on what he wants to improve."
Sri Lanka, due to their poor T20I ranking at the cut-off time to decide who gets direct entry into the T20 World Cup, have to play through the first round of matches in order to qualify for the Super 12 stage. While Muralidaran calls it unfortunate, he isn't too fussed about it.
"We had a young team in the past few years. They've got a little bit of experience now and played the best cricket in the Asia Cup, they deserved to win," Muralidaran said. "They are formidable but unfortunately we have to play playoffs to get into the tournament because we had some bad matches in the past few years to make it straightaway. Right now, I have confidence that we will do well in World Cup as well."
Both Vettori and Muralidaran spoke at a media interaction ahead of the Legends League Cricket tournament that starts on Friday with an exhibition match between an India XI and a World XI at Eden Gardens. The main competition then begins on Saturday, with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Chris Gayle, Jacques Kallis, Shane Watson, Ross Taylor, Harbhajan Singh, Graeme Swann and Brett Lee - among others - sprinkled among four teams.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx