Australia need a serious leg spinner to compete in India

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Of the 68 Test bowlers who have taken 200 wickets or more, 51 are pacemen, headed by Glenn McGrath with 563.

    Nine are finger-spinners, with Muttiah Muralitharan the record-holder on 800, and eight are leggies, with Shane Warne’s 708 on top.

    But pace won’t beat India in India, and Indian batsmen are constantly facing the current world’s best bowler – off-spinner Ravi Ashwin – in the nets, but rarely do they play against a right-arm over-the-wrist spinner.

    And Australia has never been better served in the past than the incredible pairing of Warne and McGrath.

    In their 104 Tests together they are the only Australian bowling combination to take 1001 wickets between them – serious numbers

    Little wonder with Warne, the greatest leg-spinner of all-time, and McGrath, the most successful quick in history, with metronome accuracy.

    And it’s Warne who keeps cropping up among Australia’s most successful combinations.

    1001 wickets – Warne (513), McGrath (488) in 104 Tests together, average 23.17, claiming 9.63 wickets a Test.

    435 – Warne (269), Jason Gillespie (176) in 53 Tests, average 27.50, with 8.20 wickets a Test.

    421 – Warne (246), Brett Lee (175) in 45 Tests, average 27.26, with 9.35 wickets a Test.

    346 – Richie Benaud (169), Alan Davidson (177) in 41 Tests, average 23,89, with 7.71 wickets a Test

    171 – Warne (82), Stuart MacGill (89) in 17 Tests, average 25.18, with 10.06 wickets a Test.

    157 – Clarrie Grimmett (86), Bill O’Reilly (71) in 14 Tests, average 21.81, with 11.21 wickets a Test.

    But like batsman Don Bradman, there will never be another Shane Warne, nor will any future Australian bowling combinations crack 1000 Test wickets.

    But leg spinners will always be high on the priority list as proved by Grimmett and O’Reilly with the lowest average in their partnership, and the most wickets per Test,

    That’s why Warne keeps promoting 23-year-old Queensland leggie Mitchell Swepson’s selection for the four-Test series against India in India starting next month.

    It does’t faze Warne that Swepson has played only 14 Sheffield Shield games, taking 41 wickets at 32.82.

    Nor is Warne concerned Swepson’s played just four Shield games this season, taking 10 wickets at 43, having claimed David Warner, Michael Klinger, Jono Wells, and Matthew Wade among his scalps
    “He’s the leg spinner of tomorrow, and the quicker he’s in the Test environment the better,” is Warne’s prediction.

    The other serious leg spinning contender is 24-year-old Adam Zampa, who owns a curious set of stats.

    Zampa is far more experienced than Swepson, having played 19 ODIs, and eight T20 internationals with excellent figures. His 30 ODI wickets have cost 27.80, his nine T20 wickets just 17.88. In formats where the best international limited-over batsmen in the world constantly attack the spinners.

    On the other side of the coin, Zampa’s 25 Sheffield Shield stats are in the wrong direction with 62 wickets costing an expensive 50.35.

    But in the absence of a Shane Warne, Mitchell Swepson and Adam Zampa are genuine leg spinning alternatives for India.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (101)

    • January 11th 2017 @ 6:09am
      qwetzen said | January 11th 2017 @ 6:09am | ! Report

      Hmmmm. Sending a formless/inexperienced leggie on the Indian tour. Why I haven’t seen that discussed here since, well, yesterday…

      • Columnist

        January 11th 2017 @ 9:27am
        David Lord said | January 11th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        Try January 6 qwetzen, but then knocking accuracy has never been your strong point.

        • January 11th 2017 @ 9:40am
          spruce moose said | January 11th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          If we could rank the 7 billion people on this planet in order of who has the right to pick on accuracy of statements, facts and statistical analysis, you would be ranking somewhere close to the 7 billionth person David.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 11th 2017 @ 9:45am
            Lancey5times said | January 11th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            I think David would suggest there are 4 billion people on the planet and then fail to respond to your query regarding the stat

        • January 11th 2017 @ 10:02am
          qwetzen said | January 11th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          “Adam Zampa is a must for the Test team in India

          Lachlan Ballingall Roar Pro
          By Lachlan Ballingall, 10 Jan 2017”

          “Why Australia needs a leg-spinner for India
          By Dylan Carmody, 9 Jan 2017”

          Why don’t these count David?

          • January 11th 2017 @ 11:33am
            spruce moose said | January 11th 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

            Wonderful stuff qwetzen.

            David? Your riposte? Surely a grovelling apology to qwetzen + the entire readership is in order now?

            • Roar Guru

              January 11th 2017 @ 1:24pm
              Paul D said | January 11th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

              You’ll be lucky. David is a haughty hand flapping half-a r s e d buffoon, all froth and feathers when he feels he’s been verballed, but does a Houdini disappearing act when he’s invariably proven to be incorrect

            • January 11th 2017 @ 1:59pm
              qwetzen said | January 11th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

              Maybe he’s like me and still trying to work out how; “… but then knocking accuracy has never been your strong point.” is a sledge.

              Anyway, I look forward to David’s gracious and witty, or at least coherent response.

            • January 11th 2017 @ 3:01pm
              spruce moose said | January 11th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

              Tick tock David.


          • January 11th 2017 @ 8:52pm
            qwetzen said | January 11th 2017 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

            You know what a lack of apology means?

            chorus: It does you no credit

            • January 12th 2017 @ 2:11am
              Don Freo said | January 12th 2017 @ 2:11am | ! Report

              It’s a bit weak of him but apologies on a site like this are a bit over the top. Just content yourself with being constantly more correct than Davy.

              • January 12th 2017 @ 6:33am
                qwetzen said | January 12th 2017 @ 6:33am | ! Report

                “It’s a bit weak of him but apologies on a site like this are a bit over the top.”
                Why? It’s both good manners and good business. If Lord is going to behave like Trump and simply ignore when he’s called out on his blunders, *especially* when he’s trying to sledge people, then aren’t those people going to start ignoring him? I’m forking close.

                “Just content yourself with being constantly more correct than Davy”
                Can’t we have the bar set a fair bit higher than that?

              • January 12th 2017 @ 10:17am
                Don Freo said | January 12th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                You’ll just be disappointed and David’s (low) standards will control your mood.

                You give him too much power.

      • Roar Guru

        January 11th 2017 @ 5:28pm
        Cadfael said | January 11th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

        Even a very good, experienced leggie like Warne never set the house on fire in India. I see our problem being that our spinners can handle roads but have not done well in the sub continent’s pitches.Then again we have been complaining about our roads for ages and nothing gets done.

    • January 11th 2017 @ 6:54am
      Nordburg said | January 11th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      Yet another bit of selection advice from Warne.How’s Michael Beer working out?I wonder if Dominos and Pizza Hut had a rush on Hawaiian pizzas after he gave them a wrap?

      • January 11th 2017 @ 10:43am
        jameswm said | January 11th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

        Beer pushed a single to fine leg last night that allowed Hilfy to hit the winning runs. So he did all right then.

      • January 11th 2017 @ 11:17am
        Don Freo said | January 11th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        He was right about Beer…when he said it.

    • January 11th 2017 @ 7:02am
      Matthew H said | January 11th 2017 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      I know where you are coming from Mr Lord, but I think it’s time for Sayers to make a four of Haze, Starc, Lyon and himself for this tour of India. That should give 85 overs in the day easily. On longer days an allrounder may be required, but so far this summer the allrounder picked has not been heavily bowled and surely a few overs can be added to Lyon’s workload or we can find someone else like Smith or Warner to roll the arm over as filler (maybe jag a wicket from a pie). Swing does get batsmen out. How does a bowler like Alderman fair in your pairing stats? A lot have advocated for 3x pace, which may be sensible for 1 test or more, but when the conditions look bad for pace why do we have to replace a seamer with a spinner? Wholeheartedly agree with getting tests into a player like Swepson, but maybe do that at home next summer. Getting too cute can backfire on tour.

      • Roar Guru

        January 11th 2017 @ 5:31pm
        Cadfael said | January 11th 2017 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

        We don’t have any allrounders so we don’t have any to choose from. Cartwright at the moment is a number 6 batsman who can roll his arm over. Mitch Marsh is more a 7 or 8 batman who can bowl.

    • Roar Guru

      January 11th 2017 @ 7:18am
      peeeko said | January 11th 2017 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      Shane Warne, the greatest leg spinner we have ever produced averaged 43 in India. sounds like Adam Zampa is not a good idea

    • January 11th 2017 @ 8:07am
      George said | January 11th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      Oh dear.

    • January 11th 2017 @ 8:09am
      Basil said | January 11th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Great Idea if we want India scoring at 150 runs per session.

      • Columnist

        January 11th 2017 @ 9:32am
        David Lord said | January 11th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Basil, can you guarantee the potential Australian finger spinners for India – Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Travis Head, and Ashton Agar – won’t go for 190-plus a session?

        • January 11th 2017 @ 9:39am
          bearfax said | January 11th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          But David, can you guarantee Australia’s finger spinners will go for 190 plus. I will be very interested in what O’Keefe does over there, now he has his chance…finally. Surely the most under rated spin bowler by selectors in the past few decades, the guy with better first class averages over a lengthy period than Warne and Benaud. I may be wrong, but I suspect we and the Indians are in for a surprise.

          • January 11th 2017 @ 9:45am
            Adrian said | January 11th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            Agreed that O’Keefe is the MacGill of our generation.

        • January 11th 2017 @ 10:44am
          jameswm said | January 11th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          Travis Head is a potential Australian finger spinner for the Indian tour?

          • Roar Rookie

            January 11th 2017 @ 11:04am
            Lancey5times said | January 11th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

            David believes Adam Zampa and/or Pat Cummins could bat at 6 in the test side so who knows

        • January 11th 2017 @ 1:28pm
          Basil said | January 11th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          We are obsessed in this country by guys that can bowl 145+ or leggies that can turn it square. It looks good and suits our aggressive approach to the game BUT it doesn’t work in all conditions.
          You can only go by what works. Play to the conditions David. Quicker, skiddier spinners have more success in India. Lyon and OKeefe have to pair up. Lyon will have to change his style a bit and rely less on flight and bounce. OKeefe’s style already suits as he has shown on the SL and India A tours. I think they can work well together. For some reason i am stupidly optimistic about this series (if the selectors pick the right guys)

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