27 February, 2021

Tangled Web, We Unweave

The constricted limited-overs format has killed the art of spin

Tangled Web, We Unweave
When I made my Test debut over three decades ago—on January 1, 1967—I couldn't have imagined that I would live the day to write about the decline of Indian spin bowling. I consider it a distinct misfortune that I have to express my feelings on the dying art of spin, which is like a chemical which could either kill or cure. The patient—Indian cricket—is dying for want of a sufficient dose of quality spin bowling. It is indeed tragic that a nation once known for its spinning 'rope trick' is now groping in the dark for a world-class tweaker.

Even before the famed spin quartet arrived, giants like Subhash Gupte ("He could turn the ball on a glass table," Sir Gary Sobers would say), Vinoo Mankad and Ghulam Ahmed did India proud. Lesser mortals like Baloo Gupte, Jasu Patel, V.V. Kumar, Chandu Borde, Bapu Nadkarni, Salim Durrani, Rajinder Goel, Paddy Shiv-alkar, Anand Shukla, Shivlal Yadav and Dilip Doshi now appear to have been born in awfully wrong times. I played with or against most of them and I used to admire them for the intensity of their involvement in their...

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