India's U-turn on turn

Semi Column

Of the 210 overs that the Australian batsmen faced during their first week on tour in Chennai, 136 were bowled by spinners. In their second innings against India A at the Guru Nanak College ground, only seven out of the 55 overs involved a fast bowler.

The visitors lost 20 of their 23 wickets to the turn and bounce against a bunch of fringe spinners. Along the way, they handed five-wicket hauls to an unheralded off-spinner from Jammu and Kashmir and an aging left-arm spinner well past his prime.

What's more, the younger Australians hardly looked comfortable against the likes of Parvez Rassol, Rakesh Dhurv and Jalaj Saxena.

The verdict was unanimous.

Even Dhurv couldn't help but join in the mind games claiming that this particular bunch from Down Under 'don't play spinners well'.

Australian captain Michael Clarke, who didn't play in the warm-up fixtures, though wasn't buying into the doomsayers' proclamations.

"You have to get out to somebody. The spinners bowled most of the overs so they got a lot of wickets," he said on Tuesday, not prepared to read much into his batsmen's travails.

Interestingly, while the Australians have been bombarded with spinners, the powers that be in Indian cricket had employed a diametrically contrasting strategy when the English came touring. To the extent that even mentioning spin anywhere close to Alastair Cook & Co in the build-up to the four-Test series was disallowed.

Denying them opportunities to acclimatize against the turning ball came a cropper though as England hardly looked in distress against Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha after a bad start in Ahmedabad.

So has that strategy been shelved then with the Aussies in town? Or is it a case of India A captain Gautam Gambhir and the men in-charge not being on the same page?

... contd.

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