South Africa Succumb to Spin Twins


There was a time when spinners were considered excess to a team’s plan in the shorter version of the game. Today this myth has been completely broken. Spinners, whether wrist, leg or off, have become potential match winners, particularly in the Sub-Continent.

Also the nature of the pitches world over has tended to become slower, aiding the spinners regularly. So it comes as no surprise that two young spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, played a key role in India’s first one-day international series victory in South Africa, with a match to go. It took five series to achieve this and this has brought a lot of joy to the Indian fans.

There was a lot of grumbling when Chahal and Yadav were picked for ODIs when India had their regular spin bowlers in Tests, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, still performing well.

But to their credit, both Yadav and Chahal took up the challenge and finally ousted the two established spinners in the one-day and T20 set-up. India have now climbed back to number one in the ODI rankings and sent South Africa to second place.

One cannot discount the Indian batting, particularly the top order, which did a magnificent to keep India at the top. The perennial whipping boy of Indian cricket, Shikhar Dhawan, got India off to a flying start, particularly in the company of Virat Kohli.

The reason for dropping Dhawan in the Tests is still a big mystery when in such sparkling form. But one man stood above all others. Kohli was in the form of his life and the way he batted reflected this.

His wonderful drives and leg-side hooks and pulls were lapped up by the crowds with glee. He has again confirmed that he is the best batsman in the world and even better than Australian captain Steve Smith.

Kohli is still young and he is sure to climb more heights. So let’s stop probing his weakness outside the off stump and enjoy a master in action.

On the subject of critics, their pet subject Mahendra Singh Dhoni has again become a focus of their poisoned minds. Stop your tirade for a few inches of “sensational” rubbish and appreciate the man for his work.

He is the best gloveman in the game at that is enough to win him a place in any team. His batting has its ups and downs due to slower reflexes but his mere presence in the field is a boost for Kohli and his men.

The South Africans were flummoxed by the wrist spin duo and they just couldn’t read them. They struggled to read their line and variations and ended up stumped or bowled if they tried to come down the pitch. Their star player A B de Villiers was out for three matches and opener Hashim Amla was woefully out of form.

New captain Aiden Markram did not have the experience to tackle spin. He got off to good starts but hardly prospered. David Miller began to work out the spinners much later and it only led to a consolidation win for his team.

South Africa have a long way to go if they have to get back their dominance in the shorter version. The chokers were gobbled up before even starting to eat.

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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