What’s the story?
Former India skipper Rahul Dravid believes that India might have to start thinking about a wrist-spinning option, following their colossal defeat to Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
"It's not the run-rate that bothers me as much. In a high-scoring tournament, sometimes 5 or 5.5 is fine. It's just the lack of wickets in the middle that will concern India, will concern the management. It is just something they're going to have to think about: Whether it's now time to try a wrist-spinner in the middle; who is a bit of mystery through the middle, who is more of a wicket-taker,” he said while talking to ESPN Cricinfo.
Talking about wickets in the middle overs, Dravid stated that dismissals in that period of play are priceless and India need to channelise their attempts into ticking that box.
“It is clearly beginning to see that in white ball cricket and one-day cricket, wickets in the middle are absolutely priceless and you got to have bowlers who take wickets in the middle,” he added.
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Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja had a dry spell throughout the tournament: they failed to break partnerships as well as contain the batsmen. Ashwin took just one wicket in the three matches that he played and Jadeja could affect just four dismissals in five games.
Dravid also went on to comment on the Champions Trophy final that Pakistan won. Praising Fakhar Zaman for his brilliant hundred, Dravid declared that the Pakistan opener can potentially dominate world cricket. He also believes that Mohammad Amir’s spell was visually compelling.
Furthermore, the 44-year-old added that Junaid Khan deserves praise as well for sustaining the pressure at the other end.
Kuldeep Yadav might be a prospect worth exploring in the wrist-spinning department. India will probably start looking beyond Ashwin and Jadeja’s Test acumen now, considering that they have been unable to conjure the same magic in limited overs cricket.
While Jadeja still might get a nod owing to his ferocious fielding capabilities, Ashwin’s limited overs future has a big, bold question mark etched on it.
Dravid, like most times, is right on the money with his analysis. The middle overs form a crucial phase of the innings and wicket-taking options must take priority over run-curtailing bowlers in modern day ODI cricket. One hopes that the Indian captain and selection committee pay heed to the legendary batsman’s advice and explore their options.