England resorts to Merlyn to tackle Kuldeep Yadav

English cricket team has been told to bat to the spin-bowling machine to combat the wizardry of the Indian wrist spinners in the remainder of the series.

England's Alex Hales is bowled by India's Kuldeep Yadav at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.   -  AP

Deceived by spin sensation Kuldeep Yadav in the first Twenty20 in Manchester on Tuesday, the England cricket team is set to go back to the Merlyn spin-bowling machine to tackle the Indian chinaman bowler in the remaining games.

The instrument was introduced in 2005 to replicate Shane Warne before the Ashes that summer.

It is surprising that the idea didn’t occur to Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler prior to the series, specifically after Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal’s tweak theories bamboozled South Africa earlier this year.

“We just spoke to Morgan about 10 minutes ago and they have been told to get the Merlyn machine for the England practice this morning in Cardiff. It is current news, came sometime ago,” Nye Williams, Managing Director at BOLA Manufacturing Limited — the company that makes Merlyn machines — told Sportstar in a telephonic interview from Bristol on Thursday.

Ahead of the second T20I at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Friday, the Englishmen will try to read the mix of deliveries unleashed by Merlyn to combat the wrist-spin wizardry, specially after Kuldeep’s five-for at Old Trafford.

How does it work?

“It is a spin-only machine, all types of spin; so its trick is to be able to put rotation on an axis around the direction of trouble. You can spin the ball prodigiously one way or the other and it will give you all sorts of variation. A leg-break or an off-break for instance, an arm ball and more. It is programmable,” Williams revealed.

The batsman can also decide the time-gap between the deliveries he faces at the nets. “You can choose seven, nine and 11 seconds as options. In reality, when you are facing the machine, you are quite happy to have a ball every nine seconds,” he added.

One can also set a sequence of deliveries to set up a batsman. “The whole thing is programmed. You can get it to bowl random deliveries in a set sequence. We are also working on a programmable Wi-Fi option where you can log into the machine with a phone or a tablet. It will give you options for each and individual delivery. It is pretty much in action, we are putting finishing touches,” said Williams.

The Buttler influence

Among the English players, vice-captain Buttler endorsed the machine as it reaped benefits. “Before he went to India for the Indian Premier League, he used the machine a lot in Lancashire and given the experience of the IPL, he looks most prepared against spinners.

“In India, you have net bowlers to bowl spin to Virat Kohli. There are human spinners to do the job for him. In England, we have shortage of spinners, so we need machines like Merlyn,” Williams reasoned.