It is not that 90s show


Kumble, Raju, Chauhan: that terrifying triumvirate who engineered Indian cricket's unprecedented domination at home during the mid-nineties by spinning neurotic spells around opposition batsmen on custom-made dustbowls. It was an era in which Indian captains seemed to have hit upon a magic formula for success in their backyard. It was in the same period when a visiting team was last humbled as comprehensively as Michael Clarke's Australians have been over the last few weeks.

Between February 1987 and December 1996, India went in with the three-spinner maxim for 28 straight home Tests, winning 17 of them. On the face of it, India's current command over the hapless Australians might seem like a throwback to the days of the three-card trick that Indian captains, Mohammad Azharuddin in particular, utilised to maximum effect.

Especially with the spinners having accounted for 48 of the 59 Australian wickets during the first three Tests. Not to forget that this is the first time in 15 years that India have used three spinners in four straight Tests starting with Nagpur against England.

But this formula seems more robust and sustainable in the present scheme of things. Mainly because of the batting potential of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, one of whom already has a Test century and a batting average of 37.75 and the other who boasts of three triple centuries in his first-class career.

Not to forget India's best-ever wicketkeeper-batsman leading the way at No.6. It also allows Dhoni the luxury of going in with two genuine new-ball bowlers, both of whom have provided crucial breakthroughs for India this series, giving the bowling attack a well-rounded look.

Overseas, one of the three spinners will probably give way for a third seamer. It is, therefore, a neat reversal of the early 90s, when the all-rounders in the Indian team, were seamers. But after Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar exited the scene, India struggled to recapture this sort of balance in their attack.

... contd.

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