From Subhash Gupte to spin quartet, Kumble-Bhajji to Ashwin-Jadeja duo, flashback into India's great spin bowling tradition

Updated On : 2018-02-09 15:10:54
Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh - File Photo
Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh - File Photo
New Delhi:

Since India made its foray into Test cricket in 1932, the nation has made giants strides since traversing a journey of over 8 decades in top-flight cricket. 

While Pakistan, South Africa and Australia have produced some quality seamers over the years, Indian cricket etched a mark in world cricket with its batting maestros and spin wizards.

So let us go down into history and have a look at the spin magicians who formed the backbone of the Indian bowling attack.

Subhash Gupte was the first Indian spinner to weave his spin magic on the world stage. At a time when pacers formed part of the most formidable attacks, Gupte left a mark of his own by picking up wickets in a heap all during the 50s.

India's first handy allrounder Vinoo Mankad was bestowed with some ability to tweak the ball. He became India's stock spinner in the 60s.
While the Windies produced the fearsome pace battery which wrecked the best of batting lineups, India had its potent spin quartet which ruled the roost during the same time frame.

The fearsome four of Bishen Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrashekar and Srinivas Venkatraghavan were too much for most teams to handle.

While Bedi deceived the best with his flight and guile, Prasanna was a master of deception and Chandrashekar could mesmerize the best with his awkward actions and bagful of variations. 

The 80s saw the emergence of Dilip Doshi and Shivalal Yadav who did a decent job in the Test arena but never quite replicated the success of their illustrious predecessors. Then there was Maninder Singh, L Sivaramakrishnan who had a plethora of talent but faded away into oblivion.

Allrounder Ravi Shastri with his left arm spin became the leading spinner for India in the latter half of the eighties. The 90s saw Anil Kumble wrecking the best of batting orders on the turning tracks of the subcontinents and churning out match winning spells for India.

Kumble was lent able support by Venkatpathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan who formed the spin troika under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin.

With the turn of the millennium, Kumble got a spin twin in Harbhajan Singh. The lanky off-spinner from Punjab played the perfect foil to 'Jumbo'. Bhajji could run through the best of batting orders with his bounce and turn. Harbhajan became a great exponent of the 'Doosra', the delivery which turned the other way.

The Turbanator and Jumbo became arguably the best spin duo of the decade and carved out many memorable wins for India. With Kumble bidding farewell to international cricket, Harbhajan got support from the likes of Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra both of whom had the tricks of the trade to cast a web around world class batsmen.

With Harbhajan's form fading way, India saw the meteoric rise of Ravichandran Ashwin who catapulted to the Test arena post his stellar run in the Indian Premier League. R Ashwin has become the ace weapon for MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to win matches for India. India's stellar run in test cricket at home has been largely around Ashwin's heroics with the ball.

Ashwin formed a deadly duo with left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja. While Ashwin bamboozled the batsman with his carrom ball, Jadeja has been dead accurate with left arm spin and turns the ball just enough to affect his dismissal. The pair has become a nightmare for visiting batting lineups on the spin-friendly tracks of the Indian subcontinent.

While Ashwin-Jaddu pair continues to outsmart the best exponents of the willow in Test cricket, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have emerged as the flavor of the season in the limited overs version.  

India has been blessed with yet another spin twin who are carrying on the legacy of this great Indian spin tradition. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have proved their pedigree at the international level in a very short span of time.

Both the leggies have given the Indian bowling attack the cutting dimension in One Day cricket. Yadav and Chahal are not afraid of giving the ball air and are always on the lookout for wickets. What has really been heartening to see is how the Yadav-Chahal duo executed their trade with perfection on the so-called pace and seam-friendly tracks in South Africa.

So in a nutshell, Indian cricket has been fortunate to have a plethora of spin greats all through their cricketing history. The future of spin bowling seems to be in safe hands with Yadav and Chahal blooming with each appearance in the blue jersey for India.


First Published : Friday, February 09, 2018 02:45 PM
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