Omar Henry, South Africa's first spinner after Test readmission, reckons Proteas' Day One hero Dean Elgar can play the same batsman-spinner role as JP Duminy
India have been bowled out only once before on Day One of a Test match at Mohali — 83 by New Zealand in 1999. Way back then, the wrecker-in-chief was pacer Dion Nash, who claimed six for 27.
Also read: Not a good cricket pitch: Dean Elgar slams Mohali surface
Yesterday, it was left-arm spinner Dean Elgar whose four for 22 included two top order batsmen (Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane) as India folded for 201.
Omar Henry, South Africa's first spinner after they were readmitted into the Test fray in 1992, felt Elgar could be the next JP Duminy for South Africa. Duminy is not part of the South African playing XI in Mohali due to a hand injury and Elgar took his place.
SA's Dean Elgar (centre) celebrates with teammates the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha yesterday. Pic/PTI
"Duminy started off as a specialist batsman but did well after he worked on his off-spin and became more and more valuable to the side. Elgar could do the same with his left-arm spin," Henry, a former South Africa chief selector told mid-day over the phone from Cape Town. Duminy has bagged 35 wickets in 29 Tests.
'Elgar, a smart spinner'
A left-arm spinner himself, Henry, a coach too, observed Elgar's Day One efforts closely on television: "He is a smart spinner. We've never discussed bowling but it appears that Elgar views things as a batsman while he is bowling and knows what it takes to puzzle the batters.
"He can turn it and he isn't afraid to flight the ball. He would have worked on this," said Henry. While critics attack Team India for their recent weakness against spin bowling and England off-spinner Moeen Ali's 19 wickets in the English summer of 2014 is always cited as an example, Henry reckoned that spinners from other countries have got better.
"You must give credit to spin bowlers from other countries. They have worked on their craft and got better. I wouldn't say the Indian batsmen have become inept.
"Nowadays, other spinners don't mind getting hit for a six because they know that they have the experience to get a wicket despite being hit. They have developed the courage to be attacking, to give the more flight in order to get wickets," said Henry.