India can be 'wrist' assured during Australia tour

Updated: Mar 01, 2018, 16:34 IST | Ian Chappell | Mumbai

Former Australia leg-spinner Bill O'Reilly was not exactly enamoured of batsmen; once asked if he ever tried to Mankad a player, his response is comic genius

Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav. PIC/AFP
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav. PIC/AFP

Former Australia leg-spinner Bill O'Reilly was not exactly enamoured of batsmen; once asked if he ever tried to Mankad a player, his response is comic genius. "Son," he proclaimed, "I never found a batsman that keen to get to the other end." He would have enjoyed the South African batsmen's embarrassment, as they failed to pick the spin of either Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal. This is one reason why wrist spinners are enjoying so much success in short form cricket. Very few batsmen pick the wrong-un and consequently they are hesitant when going for the big shot, often resulting in a mishit.

Kuldeep, Chahal are brave
Yadav and Chahal have exploited this flaw unmercifully and they've been both brave and shrewd in knowing exactly when and where to flight their deliveries. The first time I saw Yadav I was impressed when he dismissed David Warner in the deciding Test of the 2016-17 series against Australia. It was courageous captaincy by Ajinkya Rahane in the tense circumstances but the composure of Yadav soon changed it to a match-turning decision. That was another notable thing about Yadav's bowling; he's a rarity for his breed in that he's much more accurate than the average chinaman bowler.

In an era where the popularity of wrist spin is booming in limited overs cricket, India has unearthed a pair that are outstanding in their skill and confidence. It takes a lot of skill to be a good wrist-spinner but it also requires a big heart to be a top-class purveyor of the art.

Tour of Australia
It'll be interesting to see what approach India take in their ODI joust when they tour Australia. The current coach Ravi Shastri will be well aware of what results good wrist-spin can achieve in Australia from his participation in the 1985 World Championship of cricket. India won that tournament and Shastri was player of the series but the leg-spin of Laxman Sivaramakrishnan also played a big part in the overall team success.

On the large Australian grounds good wrist-spin can reap vital rewards. If both Yadav and Chahal maintain their form they could become famous or infamous in Australia, the spiritual home of wrist-spin bowling. The irony would appeal to O'Reilly's devilish sense of humour.

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