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India need to stick with the young spinners

Giri Subramanian Roar Guru

By Giri Subramanian, Giri Subramanian is a Roar Guru

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    The Indian team over the past few years have been very reluctant to experiment with the spin bowling options.

    Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have pretty much played in all formats over the last few years, and except for Amit Mishra and Axar Patel, the management haven’t tried any new spinners for long.

    All that changed with the introduction of Kuldeep Yadav earlier this year and Chahal’s magical spell against England in a T20 game.

    In the last three years Ashwin and Jadeja have played 79 and 69 games respectively in all formats, and the next on the list is Axar Patel, who has represented India in 39 games. Amit Mishra comes in the fourth position with 23 games and Harbhajan Singh has played in 12 games. Ashwin and Jadeja bowl lots of overs in Tests for India, and it showed in the way they bowled in limited over games this year.

    The Indian think tank has also realised recently the importance of playing wrist spinners in the shorter format. The success of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has given the team excellent attacking option in the middle overs.

    Axar Patel has also made a comeback to the Indian team and has done well with the chances he has got. The combination of Axar, Chahal and Kuldeep gives the Indian captain great variety and a different line of attack in ODI games.

    (Image: AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

    Ashwin especially does not add much to the ODI or T20 team anymore. His batting has never been suited to the shorter format and he is one of the slow movers in the field for India. Ravi Jadeja, though an excellent fielder, doesn’t offer anything different to Axar Patel or Krunal Pandya, who is waiting in the wings to take the spin all-rounder spot.

    While the premier spinners are resting the trio of Chahal, Kuldeep and Axar have done no harm to their chances with stellar performances in the recent games. Kuldeep Yadav was the star in the ODI series against West Indies and Chahal had a great time in Sri Lanka and in the home T20 series against England earlier this year. Axar Patel, as usual, has been consistent and has picked up wickets to go with his miserly bowling spells.

    In their short careers Axar has 47 wickets at 28, Chahal has 25 wickets at 19 and Kuldeep has 23 wickets at 20. These are great numbers for a start on pitches which have been batting paradises.

    These young spinners have given the Indian think tank a lot to think about. The selectors not opting for Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja for the home series against Australia shows the confidence they have on these young spinners. The spin bowling stocks are suddenly looking up for India, at least in the limited-overs format. The Indian selectors will be hoping to find a good off-spinner as well to have the variety available.

    No matter what happens in the first three games against the Aussies, the selectors need to keep the faith on these young bowlers and give them a long run. Ravi Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin have done wonderfully well over the years, but this is the time for them to take a break from the shorter formats and allow these young bowlers to take the centre stage.

    Be sure to head to the second ODI between Australia and England this Friday at the Gabba, and don't forget to be wearing your XXXX Goldie to be in with a chance to win $10k in XXXX GOLD’s crowd catch competition.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • Roar Guru

      September 15th 2017 @ 9:16am
      Anindya Dutta said | September 15th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Good points Giri. I have said much the same in my series opener piece up alongside yours today. I am pretty excited by both Kuldeep and Chahal. Hope they do well in this series.

      • Roar Guru

        September 15th 2017 @ 9:50am
        Giri Subramanian said | September 15th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Yup they are great prospects and I hope the selectors don’t discard them in a hurry. The pitches for the ODI series are going to be flat and I hope that couple of poor performances don’t cost them the place in the X1.

        • Roar Guru

          September 15th 2017 @ 3:54pm
          Anindya Dutta said | September 15th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

          By the way congrats on the ‘Guru’ status. You deserve it. Enjoy reading your thoughtful pieces.

    • September 15th 2017 @ 12:06pm
      Tanmoy Kar said | September 15th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      I think the spin-trio of Axar, Chahal and Kuldeep will do reasonably well against Australia in this Series. Selectors may pick-up Krunal Pandya as an spinning all-rounder in future. Ashwin may be preserved for Test matches only, but Jadeja should come-back to the side in place of Axar for his good fielding.

      • Roar Guru

        September 15th 2017 @ 12:13pm
        Giri Subramanian said | September 15th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

        I agree that Jadeja will comeback eventually into the limited overs setup for India but it should not be an automatic selection. Jadeja’s ODI record over the last 2 years has been very poor. He has played 15 games and has taken just 11 wickets at an average of 67. So if Chahal, Axar and Kuldeep do well, they need to stay and Jadeja needs to wait his turn by playing some domestic cricket.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 15th 2017 @ 8:14pm
          savage said | September 15th 2017 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

          Agree with both of you,jadeja has been poor but i think he should be in team at WC as he can win matches with his fielding(catches and run-outs) and bowling(although only on certain types of pitches).Axar is good fielder but not quite like jadeja.As a matchwinner,jadeja>Axar.

          • Roar Guru

            September 16th 2017 @ 7:54am
            Giri Subramanian said | September 16th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

            I agree that Jadeja will still be in India’s plan for the world cup, due to his fielding. He needs to work on his bowling though for limited overs cricket. He has been extremely poor along with Ashwin over the last couple of years. It might be due to the enormous number of overs he and Ashwin bowled in test cricket. This rest might do him good.

    • September 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm
      AGordon said | September 15th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

      hello Giri

      You’ve written another good article which is best summed up by your last paragraph. India have a wealth of spin bowling options and now is the time to keep the faith as you suggest. The selectors though, are caught between a rock and a hard place. This is a series in India and there will obviously be millions watching, at least on TV.

      What do the selectors do if their new guys fail in the first couple of games? Indians want/expect their side to win, so do the selectors keep the same bowlers or revert to their tried and true performers? If it was me, I’d keep using the new guys, but I’m not sure the Indian selectors are that “brave”.

      Australia, on the other hand, have nothing to lose by picking what ever side. We’ve left behind our better bowlers and this is seen as a series of opportunities for guys. If we lose 5-nil, but the Zampas and co perform well, this will be seen as a “win” for Australian cricket long term. If India lose 3-2, but end up with some exciting new talent, this will probably be seen as the end of the world!

      • Roar Guru

        September 16th 2017 @ 7:59am
        Giri Subramanian said | September 16th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        I feel that Zampa is a fantastic talent and will do well on any surface. Australia should play him in all games. Steven Smith might prefer Agar as he might give him more control but Zampa is a wicket taker. Regarding the young Indian spinners, I have the same fear too that they might be discarded after some poor performances. Australia have a powerful batting lineup and can do some serious damage on these flat wickets. The selectors need to be patient with this young spinners as they are the future of Indian cricket.

        As far as the result goes, India will be happy with a 3-2 result as they are currently experimenting with the squad and resting some key players, so a series win will be good enough.

    • September 15th 2017 @ 4:13pm
      Liam said | September 15th 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

      Given I know next to nothing about the players you’re seeking to bring in, is there any way to move Ashwin up the batting order – seeing as he is quite a good, if aggressive – bat, and play a few extra bowlers? I do dispute your characterisation of Ashwin as unsuited to ODIs; if he was to bat higher, even so far as to open the batting perhaps, his aggressiveness could suit well. There’s nothing wrong with trying things, and he’s such a good bat it’s almost a shame to see him played solely as a bowler.

      As a side note, seeing as I’m unable to invest in Foxtel – and I’m thus unable to watch the games overseas as much as I’d like – it’s an immense pity that India don’t bring their best up and coming bowlers to Australia. On occasion, they’ve even left both Jadeja and Ashwin at home, leaving their best behind. Hopefully they bring both, to complement the good quicks they’ve got in Yadav and Shami, when they next come to Australia.

      • Roar Guru

        September 16th 2017 @ 8:07am
        Giri Subramanian said | September 16th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        I think the selectors have started seeing Ashwin as a test specialist. His performances with the ball in ODI over the last couple of years haven’t done him any favors. The reason I said Ashwin does not offer much to the Indian Limited Overs squad is because he cannot bat any higher in this format. Even though I agree that he can bat like a proper batsman and score quite quick if he bats up the order but there is no place in the batting order at the moment.

        The position he bats in ODI is way too low for him and considering he is not a slogger, his impact with the bat is minimal. His bowling also has suffered in the shorter format and his fielding has always been suspect. I am not saying he won’t come back which he might but India need him as a test spinner more in the coming years as India has a lot of young spinners who can do well in Limited Overs cricket.

        I am sure you will see all these spinners along with Ashwin and Jadeja on India’s next tour to Australia. You will also see the exciting left arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav who has all the talent to become the future superstar of world cricket.

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