When Yuzvendra Chahal and Wanindu Hasaranga finished as the two best bowlers of IPL 2022, the cricket fan was rejoicing. It is always a beautiful sight – the good old wily leg-spinner in action. Leg-spin is more than just cricket. It is artistry, which requires enormous skill, patience and resilience.
My first emotion each time I see Chahal in action is ‘how close he is to playing Test cricket’, yet the reality is ‘he is getting further away from the long format’. Extremely wily and someone who can outfox the batter, Chahal has, from time to time, expressed his love for Test cricket. Yet, his last tryst with first-class cricket was back in 2018. His average in first-class cricket is 33.21, something that’s seen as being outside of the reckoning. The best Test leggies have enjoyed a first-class average of around 25 to 28.
HAS CHAHAL GIVEN UP?
Chahal chose to ignore the struggles of the longer format and instead, embraced the shorter format and rose to excellence in quick time. In just 6 years, the former chess maverick has surged to become India’s leading T20 wicket-taker. With 74 wickets at an average just under 25, Chahal has cemented his stature as one of the finest T20 leg-spinners of all time. In ODIs too, he went past the 100-wicket mark earlier this year to become the fifth quickest Indian bowler to reach that milestone.
So, why would a bowler enjoying such an enviable record in limited overs format struggle to even have a modest one in the longer format? Experts have pointed to the fact that in the shorter format, the batters are trying to hit almost every ballwhile in Test cricket, the batters are intent onwaiting for the bad ball to pounce. Now, that’s a huge difference – the waiting game, which can be an asset or a liability for a leg-spinner depending on the bowler’s attitude. Hasaranga too faces the same problem. Considered a once-in-a-generation talent, the Sri Lankan has become a shorter-format nemesis for batters around the world and is a match-winner in every sense. Although he has played four Tests, last of which was in mid-2020, his average of 100 for his 4 Test wickets is massively underwhelming.
Both Chahal and Hasaranga needself-motivation to back theirworth in the longer format, but one wonders if they will be able to find fresh hunger for Test cricket. The longer format requires the bowler to stay patient and keep coming back. It requires a bowler to dare the batter with juicy flighted deliveries. It requires a bowler to face failure after failure. Something that is the opposite of limited overs format. Interestingly, this trend of bowlers marvelling in T20 and struggling in longer format is not confined to the two names we have been discussing above. It is a modern-day trend. Ish Sodhi (New Zealand), Adil Rashid (England), Adam Zampa (Australia) and Shadab Khan (Pakistan) have all marvelled for their teams in the T20 format, but came nowhere close to impressing in the longer format.
Now, this is in stark contrast to what we have seen in the past. Two of the most successful leg-spinners of all time have been very able multi-format players. Shane Warne is on top of the leader board for leg-spinners in Test cricket with 708 wickets. He also won the 1999 ODI World Cup for Australia with one of the greatest bowling performances in the history of World Cup when he outgunned South Africa. Warnie followed that up with the shorter format title when he won the IPL for his team Rajasthan Royals in his very first edition. Now, that’s some masterpiece in action.
Anil Kumble too was excellent in all three formats. He is the fourth highest Test wicket-taker of all time with 619 in his kitty and is among the top-10 ODI wicket-takers of all time. In T20 format too, his 57 wickets came at 24 and a stunning economy rate of 6.7. Kumble is the only IPL player till date to win the Player of the Match’ award despite being on the losing side of an IPL final. Such was his level of consistency in all formats.
So, what is it that the Warnes and Kumbles did that the next generation is unable to, especially in the longer format? While many theories have been discussed, former India leg-spinner and one of the finest artists of the game, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan made the most-telling observation. In a recent article penned by the cricketer-turned-commentator, he stated, “For a leg-spinner to be successful in a Test match, you should be able to bowl maybe 40 overs and have men round the bat—slip, gully, forward short leg, etc.You have to bowl for long periods of time; you have to be able to turn the ball; you have to have variations; you have to have control. Only if you have control, can you keep men close to the bat catching. Only if you have the accuracy, can you create pressure. So, I think the training methods of modern-day leg-spinners to bowl for long periods of time, to be accurate, to be able to turn the ball, to have variations like the googly or the topspin or the flipper is all missing.”
And who better to have the variations than Shane Warne. The Aussie legend was blessed with a rare ability to bowl six different balls in one over. Such was his mastery or should we say, artistry. There’s a reason why 4th June 1993 will be remembered by cricket fans not just for a long time, but forever. That ‘Ball of the Century’ by Shane Warne remains a piece of the puzzle called leg-spin. Not many figured out what happened that day and those who did couldn’t figure out why it happened that way. That iconic moment was a much-needed one at that time as leg-spin was at the crossroads in world cricket. Post the BS Chandrasekhar era, there was a dearth of quality leg-spinners worldover. Abdul Qadir of Pakistan was the lone torchbearer even as Sivaramakrishnan and Narendra Hirwaniemerged as huge talents who rose and fell in unbelievably quick time. That’s when Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Mushtaq Ahmed took leg-spin to a new level and their retirements not only impacted their sides, but the art of leg-spin itself.
END OF TEST LEG-SPIN?
It is a sad reality that Test cricket does not witness enough of leg-spin lately. Since 2010, there have been only two leg-spinners who have taken more than 100 Test wickets – Yasir Shah of Pakistan and Devendra Bishoo of the West Indies. Worse, India, which is seen as a nursey of spin talent, has not played a leg-spinner in a Test match since 2016. It is no surprise therefore to see not a single leg-spinner in the top-10 wicket-takers of the ongoing Ranji season (although Kumar Karthikeya Singh doubles up as a left-arm wrist spinner). While this is the state of affairs with leg-spin, left-arm orthodox is on the rise. I’ll leave you with a stat that will get you thinking. Four out of the top 5 wicket-takers in the ongoing Ranji season are left-arm orthodox bowlers. That’s some food for thought.
While we celebrate the rise of leg-spin in T20 format, the big question remains – Has T20 revived leg-spin or taken it further away?
The author is a sports commentator
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Winners and Losers from the 2022 NBA Draft
Everybody knew who the top three players selected in the 2022 NBA Draft would be, but the Vegas Odds were clearly unsure on the exact order of how it would shake out. Jabari Smith was the huge favorite on the odds to be taken #1 in the weeks and even days leading up to the draft, but the Magic pulled a slight shocker by taking Duke’s Paolo Banchero in the top spot.
7-footer Chet Holmgren went #2 to Oklahoma City while Smith slipped all the way down to #3. That trio will forever be linked in their NBA journey in much the same way Greg Oden / Kevin Durant and Marvin Bagley III / Luka Doncic are so we will see how that plays out. Let’s take a look at some of the other way-too-early winners and losers from the 2022 NBA Draft.
Winners: Houston Rockets
Houston found themselves in a lot of 139-132 style defeats last season meaning they can score – but also couldn’t stop anybody. That defense should improve immediately with the lengthy 6’10” Smith coming to them at #3 but Rafael Stone wasn’t done there adding LSU forward Tari Eason at #17 following his breakout season.
Houston already has a budding superstar in last year’s #2 pick Jalen Green, and Kevin Porter, Jr. has shown some upside in the backcourt as well. Houston moved from #26 to #29 on draft night (picking up two future second-round picks in the process) and was still able to grab TyTy Washington out of Kentucky.
Losers: Sacramento Kings
Most people conceded that the 2022 draft really didn’t start until Sacramento’s #4 pick. There were rumors all month that the Kings could possibly trade the pick for an established veteran like John Collins, Julius Randle, or Malcolm Brogdon, Jr. – or they could just sit still and take the next best prospect, Jaden Ivey.
In true Kings fashion, they did none of the above, instead of going with Keegan Murray out of Iowa. The Kings may have felt they take guards too often, and Ivey publicly stated he wasn’t a fan of heading to Sacramento but either way this pick will be scrutinized for years to come.
Winners: Detroit Pistons
Sacramento’s loss is Detroit’s gain as they were able to pick up Ivey with the #5 selection. The former Purdue guard is no sure thing, but he has drawn some light comparisons to Ja Morant. Plus a backcourt of last year’s #1 pick Cade Cunningham and Ivey should draw fans to Little Caesars Arena. Detroit was also able to add former #1 rated high school prospect, Jalen Duren, at #13.
Losers (This Year) : New York Knicks
The Knicks didn’t do anything to get better this year despite having the #11 pick, essentially trading out of that spot by selecting Ousmane Dieng for the Thunder. In return, though they got three first-rounddraft picks for next season, were also able to get rid of Kemba Walker’s contract in another three-team deal, and picked up Travis Keels out of Duke at #42. Fans aren’t going to be happy now but will be a year from now (after another likely down year, however).
Attacking attitude of bowlers required to win the fifth test
The last test match played in Birmingham is very important for Team India or let’s say it will be a big challenge as Indian players are playing test match in England after a long time. By the way, this is only the remaining Test of the last series where Team India was successful in taking a 2-1 lead. Team India’s top order needs to get the good practice before this Test match to be held from July 1. If these batsmen play to their full potential, then I am sure that Team India’s playing XI will also be very strong.
By the way, Team India does not have much time. The ongoing practice match against Leicestershire can also play a big role. The sooner the team decides on its eleven players, the better it will be for it because, if we talk about England, this team is currently playing a three-match Test series against New Zealand. In such a situation, they are well prepared before the match against India, so it is expected from Team India that by practising as much as possible, they get rid of their basic shortcomings because in the first match on the tour of England, usually Asian teams have to face lot of problems. These problems with hard practise can be solved.
It is quite possible that Team India will field five bowlers in the playing XI for this match. These five bowlers should be attacking bowlers who can take wickets on the first day or in the first innings itself. In this sense, as a spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin could be a good option for India before Ravindra Jadeja, as he has variation and good grip along with being a finger spinner. He played against New Zealand in India.
In the last series he played, he bowled well. The team will have to take a very smart decision in the selection of spin bowlers. This move could prove to be decisive for the team.
The writer has been a national selector apart from being a former player of Team India.
1983 WORLD CUP CREATED HISTORY, IT WAS A TEAM EFFORT: MADAN LAL
The Daily Guardian spoke to the renowned Indian legendary cricketer Madan Lal. He was a member of the 1983 Cricket World Cup winning Indian squad.
On the esteemed anniversary of the historic 1983 World Cup, the Indian cricket fans have all eyes and ears for candid talks with the players, talk shows, in nut shell infotainment full on with a motive to keep readers excited and enticed The Daily Guardian spoke to the renowned Indian legendary cricketer Madan Lal. He was Indian cricketer from 1974 to 1987 and Indian national cricket coach. He was a member of the 1983 Cricket World Cup winning Indian squad.
Q. Sir, what is more important IPL or World Cup?
A. No definitely you can’t compare IPL with the World Cup. It’s a world cup because that is for the country this is a different cricket all together IPL is 20-20 match and world cup is 50 over match. It’s a World Cup therefore much bigger than IPL.
Q. In 83 Hardy Sandhu the Punjabi pop singer and actor played your character in the film. What do you think did he reach closer enough to live your character?
A. Hardy Sandhu has done a very good job overall and as you know you cannot emulate the person entirely. Out of ten he can get 8 marks as he has done a great job and the other thing was he was a cricketer before and he took the coaching from me in NCA. So, that’s why it wasn’t difficult for him to catch my action.
Q. Do you think the scene was recreated well where Hardy Sandhu aka Madan Lal is requesting Ranveer Singh aka the Captain Kapil Dev for the next over to oust Desmond Haynes and then Viv Richards. Would you like to share the incident which created history, the decision that made history?
A. It’s not only about Viv Richards wicket. World cup has created the history, it was a team effort. Not only Madan Lal or any other player you name should get the credit. Kapil Dev, Mohindar Amarnath or Sunil Gavaskar or Srikanth or so believe in Sandip Patil but they are all contributors for the win but yes I asked for the over and Kapil Dev gave me the over and after then it was a history.
Q. 1983 the first World Cup of India though the flick has been made but we would like to listen to the stories from the man himself who turned out to be the highest impact bowler of 1983.
A. Well, when you have been given the role and you have to do it. You will try your best and if something good happens and things go ur way. In English conditions it becomes a little bit easy as the ball comes and moves around, you can get the wicket as well. So this thing happened with us. Also you know the ball was moving, the condition was different and I got the important wicket in the beginning of the inning. So that’s the reason I thing you can say the impact but definitely I must say that’s the team effort.
Q. Indian fans profoundly call you us Maddad Laal. Also is that only reason that you have often extricated Indian team from the tricky situations or in general life also you give Maddad to all?
A. No I give maddad to all. It’s my job to help other people like that’s my nature you know in cricket I always use to look for opportunity to contribute for the team to win the game that’s what I do. So you know sometimes you click and sometimes you don’t but still in crucial stages in crunch matches I have done well. So that’s the reason they called me Maddad Lal.
Q. Your most memorable match other than 83 and why?
A. Yeah I played test match in Bombay where I got 5-23 that was one of the best match I had played so any match which you win for the country that’s anyhow always going to be memorable match.
Q. Your bonding with the winning squad of 83?
A. Yeah! definitely we have what’s app group and we share our ups and down or horrible days and all these things and we are still in touch with most of the players.
ENGLAND SWEEP ODI SERIES AGAINST NETHERLANDS
Top knocks by Jason Roy and Jos Buttler powered England to a eight-wicket win as they also clean swept the three-match ODI series against Netherlands on Wednesday.
An unbeaten ton by Roy and an unbeaten knock of 86 runs by Buttler helped England chase the target of 245 runs in just 30.1 overs and at a loss of only two wickets, here at the VRA Cricket Ground, Amstelveen. With this win, England white-washed the three-match ODI series with a lead of 3-0. Put to bat first, Netherlands had a pathetic start to their innings as they lost the wicket of the opener, Vikramjit Singh, in the fifth over, with only 16 runs on the board. The batter was caught by Dawid Malan on David Willey’s delivery. Tom Cooper joined hands with opener Max ODowd and the duo anchored the innings for some time. Cooper scored 33 runs off 37 balls before being caught by Liam Livingstone on Brydon Carse’s delivery in the 18th over, leaving the team’s total at 88/2. Max ODowd also departed in the 25th over, after claiming his half-century off 69 balls.
Bas de Leede and skipper Scott Edwards came to the crease and changed the momentum of the game. The duo stitched an 84-run partnership and gave Netherlands a strong hand. But it was England, who had the last laugh as Brydon Carse struck against and dismissed de Leede in 40th over after scoring 56 runs off 78 balls.
Teja Nidamanuru came to the crease but could not stand for long as he was stumped by Buttler on Adil Rashid’s delivery. In the very next over by Willey, Logan van Beek also departed without scoring a single run and left Netherlands struggling at 216/6. In the 47th over, Tim Pringle was run out by Malan and departed after scoring only 6 runs. In the next over, Aryan Dutt fell prey to Willey’s spell and went back without opening his account.
INDIA U-17 WOMEN’S TEAM LOSE TO ITALY
India U-17 women’s team suffered a 0-7 defeat against Italy in Grandisco D’lsonzo in the Female Football Tournament on Wednesday. India started off the match just like the way Thomas Dennerby would have wanted, by trying to press the opposition high up the pitch and trying to bring out mistakes from them.
Tackles were flying in from both sides and Italy were awarded a free kick in the 4th minute. Beatrice curled the free-kick but she narrowly missed the target. Italy almost took the lead in the 10th minute as Dragoni was one-vs-one against Indian goalkeeper Monalisa but the latter stretched and produced a wonderful save to deny the Italian. However, India’s resistance would be broken soon as just one minute later, Maria Rossi put the ball into the back of the net.
In the 22nd minute, Monalisa was again called into action by Dragoni, but the former again parried the ball out for a corner. India came the closest to scoring at the half-hour mark when Anita tried a long-range effort to catch the Italian defence off-guard but her shot missed the target by a whisker.
The floodgates would open after that though as Anna Longobardi and Giulla Dragoni scored in the 31st and 33rd minutes, respectively, to give the Italians some much-needed cushion. In the 36th minute, Kajol went for the spectacular but she too missed the target by a whisker. The Young Tigresses trailed the Italians by a 0-3 margin at the half-time break. Italy picked up right from where they left off in the first half as Manuela Sciabica scored in the 48th minute. A couple of quick-fire goals followed after that as well and within 15 minutes of the second half, Italy had extended their lead to six goals. Thomas Dennerby made some changes in the 60th minute as Neha, Rejiya, Babina and Pinku came on for Nitu, Lynda, Kajol and Shelja, respectively. Marta Zambomi scored the final goal of the game in the 67th minute as she stretched Italy’s lead to 7 goals.
Rodrigues, Yadav help India defeat Lanka by 34 runs
Two wicket haul of Radha Yadav was backed by Jemimah Rodrigues’s unbeaten 36 powered visitors to a 34-run win over Sri Lanka in the first T20I here at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Dambulla on Thursday. It was a poor day for Sri Lanka’s batting unit as they could not do a lot with the bat on a difficult surface and despite their bowlers dominated the proceedings in the first T20I restricting India to 138/6 in their 20 overs. With this win, India take the series lead with a comprehensive win over Sri Lanka in the three-match T20I series. Vistors were great and did not allow partnerships to prosper for long. For Sri Lanka, Kavisha Dilhari smashed unbeaten 46 runs and was the top scorer for the team. For India, Radha Yadav bagged crucial two wickets while Pooja Vastrakar, Shafali Verma and Deepti Sharma scalped one wicket each.
Chasing 139, Sri Lanka got off to a bad start as they lost their opener Vishmi Gunaratne with one run onboard. This big breakthrough for the Indian team was delivered by Deepti SharmA: Harshitha Madavi then came to bat on the crease and tried to anchor the innings with skipper Chamari Athapaththu.
The Sri Lanka skipper batted aggressively and in the fifth over she smashed back-to-back two fours against Radha Yadav’s delivery. In the seventh, over of the innings, Athapaththu fell prey to Radha Yadav’s brilliant delivery as she tried to go for a four but was caught by Rajeshwari Gayakwad after scoring 16 runs in 19 balls.
Kavisha Dilhari then came to bat. In the same seventh over Yadav strike again and dismissed Madavi, who scored just 10 runs in 17 deliveries. Right-handed batter Nilakshi de Silva then came to bat and joined hands with Dilhari to keep the team’s momentum going. Dilhari and de Silva played cautiously to make sure they don’t lose any more wickets. After the 10 overs, the Sri Lanka team’s score reads 41/3. After the 11 overs hosts needed 93 runs in 54 balls. In the 13th over of the innings, Pooja Vastrakar gave her team a big breakthrough as she dismissed de Silva with Sri Lanks’s score of 54/4 on board.
After the wickets of de Silva, Ama Kanchana then came to the crease. The 14th over of the innings saw Shafali Verma deliver a brilliant spell only conceding 3 runs. At this point of the match, Sri Lanka batters struggled to even take a single run as Indian bowlers were too cheap in the matter conceding runs.
Ama Kanchana later fell prey to Verma’s delivery after scoring 11 runs in 10 balls. Anushka Sanjeewani then came to bat but at that point, it was impossible for the hosts to pull off the remaining 51 runs in 10 balls.
In the last over hosts tried to fight back and smashed two fours, but it was no use. Renuka Singh did not allow Lanka batters to gather many runs in the 20th and restricted them to 104/5 after 20 overs of play. Earlier, Put to bat first, India got off to a poor start, losing opener Smriti Mandhana (1) and Sabbhineni Meghana (0) in two consecutive balls of pacer Oshadi Ranasinghe’s fourth over. SL captain Chamari Athapaththu took two great catches in both the dismissals.
Following both the dismissals, it was in hands of opener Shafali Verma and captain Harmanpreet Kaur to rebuild things for IndiA: At the end of six overs, India stood at 32/2 with Harmanpreet Kaur (10*) and Shafali Verma (18*)
Shafali looked in great touch, smashing four boundaries. She was dismissed by the captain Athapaththu for 31 off 31 balls, after being caught by Nilakshi de Silva at long-on.
At the end of 10 overs, India was at 58/3, with Harmanpreet Kaur (22*) and Jemimah Rodrigues (1*). Soon, captain Kaur was dismissed leg before wicket for 22 by spinner Inoka Ranaweera, sinking India to 58/4. Afterwards, Rodrigues and Richa Ghosh, the wicketkeeper-batter had to rebuild. But the 23-run stand came to an abrupt end after Ranaweera dismissed him with assistance from the safe hands of Anushka Sanjeewani for 11. With this, half of the Indian team was back in the hut for 81.
At the end of 15 overs, the Indian team stood at 85/5, with Pooja Vastrakar (3*) and Jemimah Rodrigues (12*). The duo had a short 25-run partnership, which ended with the dismissal of Vastrakar for 14 after she was bowled by RanaweerA: Jemimah Rodrigues was standing tall all this while, keeping one end steady. India ended their innings at 138/6, with Rodrigues (36*) and Deepti Sharma (17*) Inoka Ranaweera was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka, taking 3/30. Oshadi Ranasinghe also took two wickets while Athapaththu got one.
BRIEF SCORES: India 138/6 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 36*, Shafali Verma 31, Inoka Ranaweera 3/30) vs Sri Lanka (Kavisha Dilhari 46*, Chamari Athapaththu 16; Radha Yadav 2-22).
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