India has traditionally been referred to as the powerhouse of spin bowling, from the days of the Spin Quartet, the collective name given to the Indian spin bowlers of the 1960s and 1970s: Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan (both off spinners), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (a leg spinner), and Bishen Singh Bedi (a left-arm spinner). Between them, they played 231 Test matches, taking 853 wickets. They were one of the most deadly combinations in world cricket, especially on the dusty subcontinental pitches. Much of their success can be attributed to the different bowling styles these bowlers possessed. The spin quartet was instrumental in producing many Indian Test victories, both at home and overseas. These four men made important contributions to some of India’s greatest triumphs, including Test series victories in the West Indies and England, as well as Test victories in Australia and New Zealand.
In recent times, we have had spin twins operating in tandem- legends Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, Ravinchandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and most recently Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. But is India’s bowling prowess really only limited to spin? Why has Indian cricket produced more spin bowlers compared to fast bowlers?
That is not true. India produces both quality spin and pace bowlers in equal good measure, year after year. It is just that our spin bowlers have tasted more success internationally when compared to pace bowlers in the past, because:
- On flat tracks at home, spinners rule from Day 3 onward.
- Opposition teams’ weakness against spin bowling.
But that does not mean we overlook the contributions of players like Javagal Srinath, , , , or Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.,
Another reason is that the life span of a spin bowler tends to be much longer than a pace bowler in India, because of various reasons, primarily injury and burnout.
Also, why aren’t there great bowlers in cricket nowadays? Where is that class?
Actually, there are. But have you seen the cricket bats they use nowadays? Even edges fly for six these days. In today’s time, modern day cricket bat beats bowling class. The claim that limited overs cricket is increasingly turning into a batsman’s game is not very far off.
Want to see a good contest between bat and bowl?
Watch test cricket.