Spin is a rare form of art that needs mastery at the elite level to be effectively used against titans of the game. Especially in the longer format of the game where batters are in no hurry to score can frustrate the spinners if they are unable to open up the chinks in the armour or surprise the batters.
Like every country has its rarity on surfaces, India’s specialty is spin. Every single team that hails down to India has to face a whirlwind with the ball flipping left and right, startlingly.
With all said and done, in order to exploit such drastic turning conditions, India needs to have its own set of adept spinners who can make the batsman toil. That is where the iconic names of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble came in.
The pair rattled batting line-ups like a house of cards and its victims included renowned names across the face of the globe. Now with the duo retired, India had to come up with some solid replacements. This story will pay homage to the icons of the rare art that once brought an untenable Australia down to its knees, signaling the beginning of a new era of Indian cricket.
#1 Ravichandran Ashwin
When it comes to the crop of the current spinners, the man who undoubtedly leads the hunt by a proverbial mile is India’s best off-spinner at the moment, Ravichandran Ashwin. He was questioned severely for his muted performances away from home, however, ever since his showdown in Australia in December last year, he has manifested a sturdy resurgence.
He has featured in 79 Test matches and claimed 413 wickets at an astonishing average of 24.56 that beats Kumble and Harbhajan’s average comprehensively, despite the latter being the most successful bowlers in the longest format of cricket.
#2 Ravindra Jadeja
For some reason or the other, Jadeja is not used predominantly as a bowler. Kohli uses him for his batting flair and he hasn’t really disappointed. However, when he made his initial footfall, he was taken into the team as a regular bowler.
He is a cheeky left-arm spinner and has a massive inclination towards picking up wickets. So far from 53 Test matches, the southpaw has managed to claim 221 scalps which also feature 9 fivers. His numbers vaunt about a sublime average of 24.64 and he can be a major pick in rattling batting line-ups.
#3 Axar Patel
I know it is too early and this man isn’t the perfect definition of those magical twists and turns that one expects from a spinner. However, he is known for those sharp skitters. The last bowler to make good use of this weapon was Anil Kumble. Making good use of his height, he can hit the deck hard which compels the batters to bring down the bat early.
His figures are extraordinary as he has only played in just three matches and that contest between India and England seemed a completely one-sided contest with the batters struggling out throughout the fray. Still not taking anything away from the big man, from the three Test matches that he has played, he has claimed 27 wickets at an astonishing average of 10 plus. He has already managed to claim four fivers and continue to haunt the English side in their worst nightmares.
#4 Washington Sundar
Though people tend to remember him for a skyrocketing batting average of 66 and that too against the formidable Australia, he is also a handy bowler. Looking at the current crop of Indian spinners, Sundar is one of the monikers who are remaining in the declining art of spin.
He has played four Tests until now and has racked up 7 wickets so far which stars an impressive 3-wicket haul against Australia in the latter’s backyard. Though to make a comment one would need a lot more game time from him, we can still say that other than being a batsman he can be a valuable addition to the team’s turning echelons.
#5 Kuldeep Yadav
Begetting a chinaman spinner isn’t an easy task. The last successful bowler from this genre that this world stayed witness to was Brad Hogg. Sadly, of late, he has been vehemently off-colour and despite racking up magical figures against Australia in the last Test match that he has played, he couldn’t once again make inroads to the national team.
Yet a man who claims 26 wickets from 7 matches is definitely blessed with a brilliant brand of bowling. He is capable of turning the ball both ways and the googly released by him is a very menacing one. Though once again, it won’t be an easy task to pass on a verdict, yet I believe that he should have been given much more opportunities.