A spinner is as good as his repertoire and confidence. But looking at the three spinners Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin — picked for the first two Test matches against Australia, experts doubt they have the arsenal dismiss the Australian batsmen twice even on the turners likely to be on offer during the upcoming series.
While Harbhajan is definitely short on confidence having not done much in the last two years, Ashwin has been sorted out ever since India’s tour to Australia in 2011- 12.
The most surprising fact is that Ojha, who is now the leader of the spin attack, was till recently considered for the supporting role to Ashwin.
Ojha has been in good form and has shown that bowling a consistent line reaps rewards, but he lacks the guile and variation that spinner requires to dismiss quality batsmen.
Legendary spinner Erapalli Prasanna said that it was more a case of hoping that the inexperienced Australian batsmen — with the exception of skipper Michael Clarke — will fail stand up against the Indian spinners rather than them dismissing them with their guile.
I don’t know if our spinners have the quality to bowl out quality batsmen twice. But luckily, the Australian team is going through a transition phase and I don’t think that apart from Clarke, any of the other batsmen has the quality to face spinners on turning tracks,” the legendary off- spinner told MAIL TODAY . Ashwin needs to realise that one needs to attack and buy wickets in the longest format — deceive the batsmen with loop and penetration.
He needs to work on his basics.
His stock delivery isn’t top class and at the international level, you can’t succeed if your stock delivery isn’t up the mark and you rely more variations.
Comeback man Harbhajan also does not inspire Prasanna with confidence.
“Harbhajan doesn’t seem to be the spinner he used be. I don’t think he has been selected on the basis of powerpacked performances. He didn’t impress much in the Irani Cup either. I don’t think the wickets took had much to do with trapping the batsmen with guile.
As for Ojha, I think he is a very good bowler when it comes to bowling a steady line. But he can’t be your attacking option. Neither does he have the variations, nor the loop,” Prasanna said.
“I also don’t think Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been too good in using three specialist spinners — as was evident in the fourth Test against England. It looked like the third spinner was redundant and India would have done better to go in with two fast bowlers and two spinners.” Former spinner Maninder Singh feels that while the three picked for the Test series are the best in the country at present, it is difficult to predict if they will dismiss the Australian batsmen twice in a match.
“Harbhajan, Ashwin and Ojha are definitely the best we have in the country at present. But I think they need one of the former spinners to guide them,” he told MAIL TODAY . “ Harbhajan is definitely looking better and I was told that the selectors have had a long discussion with him. But he should be prepared to sit out as I don’t think Dhoni will go in with three spinners.
“Ashwin has a lot of talent, but needs to work on his flight, penetration and action. As for Ojha, I think he bowls a steady line and that is his strength. He might not be in the classical mould, but then sometimes you tend to stick with what works for you.
“On many an occasion, you lose your confidence if you try too many things. So it is better not to tinker much with him,” the left- arm spinner of the 1980s and 90s said.
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