Team India’s coaching cart needs a spin doctor
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The disparity in the numbers are startling. Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar accounted for 19 Indian wickets at 17 runs apiece, with a strike-rate of 38.31. The Indian spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, only managed nine wickets, and those came at an average of 45.55 with almost 13 overs separating each dismissal. All this on a whimsical Wankhede pitch tailor-made for the Indian spin triumvirate to humiliate the England batsmen.
The statistics, however, only reveal a portion of the England spin twins' supremacy. The most worrying aspect of the Indian spinners' abject display was how woeful and bewildered they looked despite the pitch being in their favour.
The formula for redemption seemed apparent — taking a cue from Panesar. But they just couldn't fathom it. What they missed desperately was a voice of reason. So it might well be time that the Indian team looks to bring in a spin consultant -- a mentor-figure with expertise and stature when it comes to bowling spin in subcontinent conditions. Someone like Kumble.
The present coaching staff's discernible deficieny with regards to understanding spin bowling only begs the need for additional assistance. More so when you look at the limited experience of both Ojha and Ashwin in terms of Test cricket. Former off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna certainly seems to think so.
"It's very important for a young spinner to have a mentor. In Mumbai, the ball turned and jumped. Any Test-class spinner was expected to adjust his bowling according to the conditions. Nobody was there to correct them," says Prasanna. He adds: "To have an Indian specialist will definitely help the Ashwins and the Ojhas. If you are appointing coaches then appoint specialists for every department. Duncan Fletcher and Joe Dawes know very little about Indian conditions and I am not sure how much they understand spin bowling."
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