Adelaide: Australia’s most famous off-spinner since World War II, Ashley Mallett, is an authority on the theory of turn. So, when he says that India will not succeed in defending their World Cup title if they rely on spin, one must sit up and take notice.
“Australian venues are generally good for spin, except for Perth and Brisbane. Adelaide is very good for spin and so is Melbourne and Sydney, but that does not mean spin can win you a World Cup here,” Mallett, who played 38 Tests ,taking 132 wickets including an impressive 8/59 against Pakistan at Adelaide Oval in 1972, told SUNDAY mid-day on Saturday.
Need for balance
Mallett went on to spell out the mantra for success Down Under. “You need a balanced attack to win in Australian conditions. You need two good spinners, two to three good quicks and one all-rounder, who bowls good medium-pace, and of course a good batting line-up to back that up. Unfortunately for India, they will struggle to bowl sides out with this pace attack (comprising Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Mohit Sharma, with Bhuvneswar not yet fully fit),” added Mallett, who praised India off-spinner R Ashwin nevertheless.
“I couldn’t understand why Ashwin was not played in the first Test here in Adelaide in December. The conditions were perfect for an off-spinner and instead India went on to play leggie Karn Sharma, and didn’t do well (Australia won by 48 runs),” said Mallett (69), who does not like every off-spinner in the business though — particularly Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal, who was investigated by ICC for suspect action and recently cleared.
“The doosra, in my book, cannot be bowled, it can only be thrown and Ajmal threw just about everything. You don’t need to bowl the doosra to be an effective off spinner,” said Mallet, who is a huge fan of legendary former India offie Erapalli Prasanna.
Mallett offered words of advice to Ashwin to excel against Pakistan tomorrow. “Ashwin has to bowl outside the off stump. If he bowls on off stump and turns it into the pads, he won’t get anyone out. As long as he can get it straight up there, so as to get the occasional edge from a right-hander, he’ll be in business against Pakistan,” Mallett signed off.