No shortage of spin talent, but nurturing an issue: Erapalli Prasanna
These are not great times for Indian spin, but it's an apt time indeed for a golden great to dish out pearls of wisdom to young spinners.
Erapalli Prasanna works on a bowler's action at Parsi Gym on Saturday
India's off-spinning great Erapalli Prasanna was at the Parsi Gymkhana on Saturday doing just that to a group of bowlers in a programme organised by Global Cricket School.
Former England spinner Peter Such and cricket consultant Makarand Waingankar were involved in the clinic as well. "Talent is in abundance everywhere but what we are missing out is the nurturing part. We need to guide players effectively," said the 74-year-old Prasanna.
He remarked: "When we did not have fast bowlers. We hired four West Indian fast bowlers in the early 1960s to help our batsmen get a feel of fast bowling.
"The Board also started to prepare green tops but it had a negative effect as our batsmen and the fast bowlers failed to deliver. In the process, we lost out on spinners and even our fast bowlers are not as effective which lead to a dilemma. Hence, we are now focussing more on batting."
Mindset, the key
Prasanna, who coaches in his hometown Bangalore felt spinners need to change their mindset to succeed. "The youngsters are very talented but what they lack is the mindset. They do not know if they have to bowl to contain runs or to take wickets. Even though they are good, they seem confused."
Prasanna was surprised that Ravichandran Ashwin did not figure in the India playing XI in the opening Test against Australia at Adelaide. "He should have played. He was the only bowler I had faith in and he would have been respected.
Erapalli Prasanna Pics/Bipin Kokate
We could have won that Test had he been there. Unfortunately, when Ashwin was picked for the next Test, the Australians were one-up in the series and were a confident team. Before the first Test, the Australians were down because of the death of Phillip Hughes and the fitness issues of Michael Clarke and we could have called the shots."
The Indian team has struggled against off-spinners – England's Moeen Ali and Aussie Nathan Lyon but Prasanna didn't seem too worried: "If you concede over 500 runs in the first innings, you are batting only to save the match. Ali bowled a good length and in the process of India trying to save the match, he became a dangerous bowler."
Speaking on India's World Cup prospects, Prasanna said: "If (left-arm spinner) Ravindra Jadeja bowls a bit slow, he is the only one who can possibly turn the ball. The batsmen are going to dominate and I feel India have an excellent chance because they have a strong batting line-up."