Melody named Spin Bowling




If bowling is poetry, spin bowling would be an ode – an ode to the art of bowling. Since the time cricket took its place in the professional arena, spinners have always been reserved a special rung in the team. Intimidating would not be a word you would associate with the tweakers. Unlike the likes of the Griffiths, Akrams, Walshs, Thomsons the spinners have always been a treat to the eyes owing to the remarkably mellow action and smooth strides.

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Melody named Spin Bowling

Melody named Spin Bowling

Orthodox spinners are endangered species in the contemporary age, but watching them in action never will get tiring. Folks like Graeme Swann, Pragyan Ojha are a rarity and it is quite sad that the sub-continent is cultivating more unorthodox players than the crafty spinners. Bowlers like Ajantha Mendis and Saeed Ajmal maybe an invaluable asset to the team but never to cricket. One bowler who was quite unorthodox – but never in his methods – but will always remain one of cricket’s favourite children is Muttiah Muralitharan. There was a certain Paul Adams who had a weird action and for a year or so he got away with it fine. But, just like other unorthodox bowlers he faded away. Time has shown that orthodoxy can stand its test. We have seen Shane Warne weave magical spells day in and day out. We have seen Jim Laker skittle out 10 batsmen in a single innings. We have seen spin bowling taking a royal stand and dictate terms.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever” said John Keats. Indeed. Even now, to watch Bishan Singh Bedi take those nimble steps and bowl magical spells is like indulging in the tastiest treacle tart. India’s ‘find’ spinner recently would be Ravichandran Ashwin who has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. Brought up in the streets of Chennai where every kid who plays cricket can turn the ball a mile, Ashwin has the surprise element in his arsenal in addition to the orthodox off-spinner. Inspired by the natively called ‘sodukku’ ball that is generally delivered underarm in the gullies of Chennai, the carrom ball variation of his has reaped him great rewards.

One bowler who has impressed me lately is Graeme Swann. Not that tall, but Swann has got a big heart and possesses the guile and craft a good spinner should have. He is proving to be quite the trump card England were looking for since Ashley Giles retired. He tormented Indian batsmen at their own backyard with his wile tactics.

The best part being a spinner is in the slow killing of the batsman’s mind. First you flight the ball, enticing him to go ambitious. But, you would have rolled your wrists over the ball so much that it would dip when it gets to him and it would be late when he realizes that he was foxed. To call spin bowling legerdemain would be close enough to describing it best. There is no better sight for a leg spinner to deceive the batsman in the flight and inviting him to step out and beating the outside edge and getting him stumped and make him look completely foolish.

The Muralis and Warnes have spun webs around the greatest of batsmen, let us see whether the generations to come will live up to these greats’ legacy.

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