When VVS Laxman said that there is no bench strength of quality spinners in India, for many cricket fans it would have comes as an utter shock. India which has given world cricket some of the best spinners starting from Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar to the most recent hunting pair of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, Indian spinners have always set new trends with the art of Spin Bowling.
Many might turn down such an argument from an ordinary cricketer but it comes from a man who made Shane Warne sweat at Eden Gardens, Kolkata and never felt uncomfortable against the Sri Lanka wizard Muttiah Muralitharan. Laxman's comments also holds significance as over the past few years we haven't seen any sensational spinner bust into the scene. Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Piyush Chawla have looked good but none of them have been exceptional.
Was it not that just about a decade back we complained about the lack of quality speedsters? From overseas training to creating green top across the country, the BCCI has done everything to improve the quality of Indian fast bowling. Results have shown in the India's quest for good fast bowlers have yielded results and Zaheer Khan as been the star of the show. But in doing all this have we compromised on our strength spin?
It is never easy for any spinner to fill into the shoes of a giant like Anil Kumble but over the past one year since Jumbo's retirement, India has been struggling hard to find a quality leg spinner. Mishra and Chawla are good turners of the ball but they lack control to run through batting orders. Also the fact that both of them lack variety and stock deliveries to be effective overseas in pitches which are not conducive to spin bowling.
The popularity of the slam bang T20 has meant that spinners are being hunted by the batsman. Spinners around the world are cutting down on flight and loop to be economical and bowling flat. Although this ensures better economy rates it kills the art of spin bowling in the long run. India playing lesser number of Test Matches than countries like Australia, South Africa and England makes matter worse as spinners don't get a platform to showcase their talent.
The BCCI needs to urgently look into the matter seriously as Spin has been traditionally the main weapon of our bowling. We definitely need to strengthen our fast bowling attack but that should not be at the cost of our spinners.