As usual, the first ODI between India and Australia is clearly leaning towards Australia. Whatever our batsmen score, unless our bowlers deliver, team India will always be seen floating. In fact, the body language, the self esteem and the confidence level of our bowlers, nothing commensurate with the sign of a capable, talented and effective bowler.
Erapalli Prasanna, the veteran Indian cricketer, has shown his displeasure over the pathetic condition of Indian spinners. He said, “The talent is there in abundance, but we aren’t nurturing it. Somewhere, our focus changed from strength to our weakness. So the board started focusing on fast bowling thinking that we’ll be eternally rich in spin. We thought that preparing green tops will get our batsmen used to them, and fast bowling will also improve. It had a negative effect.”
He further elaborated by adding, “Our batting is failing against pace and our fast bowling isn’t fast enough. We have lost spin and our pacers aren’t making a real impact. We’re in a dilemma. Batting may win you T20 and ODIs, but in Tests you need 20 wickets to win.”
He also pointed out the problem area. He said, “Today, our spinners are confused. They don’t know whether to curtail runs or take wickets. Firstly, the captain must have a big heart to support a spinner. Secondly, we must know how to organize spin bowling. For example, we suddenly saw R Ashwin turn from strike to a stock bowler, even on a turning wicket. With this approach to the problem, how do you expect the spinners to come to the forefront? The team management must realize that spin is our strength too.”
Explaining the anology Ashwin is adopting – who drifted down the leg far too often for an off-spinner -Paranna said, “He was made a stock bowler, with the captain wanting him to not concede runs. What else do you expect him to do? Even the wickets he got were because the batsmen were trying to score quickly. Surprisingly, he wasn’t even turning the ball in Sydney, where Indian spinners have turned the ball historically.”
Losing a couple of ODIs is not a big deal but given the overall below standard and non-trustworthy continued bowling performances of the Indian bowlers, irrespective of the format they bowl, the agony of the concerned fans and former cricketers appears justified. In a way this is also a clear writing on the wall that one should not expect miracles from team India in the upcoming world cup. Will someone please try to awaken our able administrators before it’s too late.