In recent years, India have produced a potent unit of fast bowlers. Their fast bowlers have been integral to their invincibility in home conditions as well as the latest level of competitiveness overseas. However, former India spinners feel that it is high time, they must also work on cultivating finger spinners for the red-ball side.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who is India’s frontline spinner in Tests, has been deadly in sub-continent conditions. However, the 33-year old hasn’t created a similar kind of impact when playing outside that region. From 71 Tests so far, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner has 365 scalps.
Former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan acknowledges Ashwin’s contribution to the team since his Test debut in 2011 and believes he has done everything in his power to maintain his spot. At the same, he is firm that domestic stars making a case deserve the nod. The 54-year old is also of the view that India need to groom younger crop of spinners rather than old crew.
He lamented the lack of an expert spin-bowler at the first-class level and that not enough faith is placed on the bowler if he goes for runs. Sivaramakrishnan hailed Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy for backing Harbhajan Singh which enabled him to become a great bowler.
“Ashwin is a very hard-working bowler and he has not taken his place for granted. He still has three good years left and it’s time now that we find the next crop of young spinners which is ready to take over when time comes.”
“I haven’t seen a good off-spinner at the Ranji level. That’s because of bad captaincy at the Ranji Trophy level. If an off-spinner gets hit by a right-hander, captains take him off and that hits his confidence. Harbhajan Singh became a great bowler because the captain was Sourav Ganguly, who gave him encouragement.” Sivaramakrishnan said as quoted by News18.
Harbhajan Singh opines differently on the issue:
The 400-Test wicket veteran Harbhajan Singh has challenged the above opinion and believes that local spinners like Akshay Wakhare and Jalaj Saxena must be fast-tracked to the national side. While both the players are on the wrong side of their 30s, the turbanator feels that age is just a number.
“Jalaj Saxena and Akshay Wakhare have performed year after year at the domestic level, at times on flat tracks. I have seen Akshay closely at the Mumbai Indians nets. Age for me is just a number. I don’t believe these two can’t be tried.” Harbhajan stated.