Murali Kartik: Leg-spin is always an art

Murali Kartik dwells on the influence and importance of spinners to a team.

Murali Kartik... wrist spinners' variations are a lot more effective.   -  Shanker Chakravarty

A dozen leg-spinners have been in action in Vivo IPL-9 and they have taken the lead capturing 28 wickets in the 16 matches (till the Royal Challengers Bangalore-Rising Pune Supergiants match) played so far, as against 26 by finger spinners.

Clearly captains have shown faith in the wicket-taking leg-spin bowler. Former India left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, who is on the TV commentary panel, says that leg-spinners like Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla were part of the league from the start.

"In the World Twenty20, people saw leg-spinners; West Indian Samuel Badree and others from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Australia. They are all not conventional leg-spinners who flight the ball."

Kartik, who took 31 wickets in 56 IPL matches while playing for KKR, Pune Warriors, RCB and KXIP, likes to watch bowlers of his ilk like Shadab Jakati, Iqbal Abdulla, Ankit Sharma. “I felt comfortable bowling with the new ball in the power-play (first six overs). It’s a question of comfort factor for each bowler. It’s not easy though with only two fielders outside the circle," said Kartik in an interview with Sportstar.

Excerpts:

Is it a fad among the IPL teams to give primacy to the leg spinners in the ongoing season?

It’s not a fad. It’s a just a matter of every team going through a turn of events wherein you find a good leg-spinner who is consistent and has variations. Leg-spin is always an art which can get wickets in whatever form. So if the leg-spinner is consistent, in control of variations and what he wants to do, he’s always going to be the biggest asset to a side. I think that’s one of the reasons why I think teams have managed to win with a leg-spinner and with a left-arm spinner as well.

So captains have not necessarily been driven by Samuel Badree’s success, especially in the recent ICC World Twenty20 tournament? He bowled in the PowerPlay and excelled.

Badree has always been a different bowler; he’s always bowled in the PowerPlay. He’s not a recent phenomenon. It’s not that Badree has suddenly sprouted. I could compare him with Pravin Tambe.

He has been playing for Trindad & Tobago for a very long time and he’s been the most economical bowler in the world Twenty20 format for a very long time. He’s managed to sustain that sort of bowling at least bowling two overs in the PowerPlay. Badree is not a leg spinner in the real sense. He’s somebody who bowls with a leg-spin action; he doesn’t spin the ball. There are many left-arm spinners who may not be spinning the ball.

Badree is accurate because he’s got a high arm action. His biggest asset is change of pace, accuracy and the googly. He doesn’t have a leg spin the way Warne and Mishra bowl. He doesn’t have the ball that goes the other way (leaving the bat).

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has given ample chances to M. Ashwin. What do you make of him? The IPL-9 is turning out to be a big tournament for the Tamil Nadu leg-spinner.

He is not a classical leg-spinner. He’s quicker through the air. I have not seen too many variations except for the fact that Dhoni has given him the confidence. These are early days. He was taken to the cleaners (by the RCB batsman) and I will be eager to see how he comes back.

My judgment on bowlers is basically on how they perform in the four-day first class games and not the one day or Twenty20 format.

But these days bowlers want to make an impact in T20 and catch the selectors’ attention?

I think that’s what the trend has become now. It’s sad, it should never be the case. This is a format where people watch you on TV, the media goes gung-ho on what they have done, and that’s the reason players get noticed and they get picked on the basis of IPL performances. For me the four-day format brings the best in a player.

Do you think Amit Mishra (this season averaging 9.60 so far, bowled 48 balls and conceded as many runs) should have been in the World Twenty20 squad?

I think he should have been. He is a fabulous bowler. He gets picked and dropped. He is not given the confidence. He has not managed to find a permanent place in the team.

The amount of experience he has gained, the amount of understanding he has of the batsmen and the variations he has is amazing. He was once a one-dimensional bowler. The dismissal of Manan Vohra (against KXIP) was an absolute peach; then the wicket of Shaun Marsh with a leg spinning delivery was amazing.

When Virat Kohli was the captain for the 2013 ODI series in Zimbabwe, Mishy knew that he will play five matches. At the end of the day one needs to be given the confidence and Mishy took 18 wickets. I read Yuvraj Singh stating how (Ravi) Shastri encouraged him saying “You are playing all the games and enjoy yourself.” That sort of confidence has to be given to Mishy.

So far (until Friday’s match between RSP and RCB at Pune) 54 wickets have fallen to the spinners (26 to finger and 28 to wrist). So the leggies have made a big impact ? Delhi Daredevils have Mishra, Gujarat Lions Tambe, KKR Chawla, KXIP Pradeep Sahu, Mumbai Indians Shreyas Gopal, Sunrisers Karn Sharma and the Supergiants M. Ashwin.

This augurs well for Indian cricket. It’s a great sight to watch them. Add to this list, Kuldeep Yadav and Brad Hogg (left arm chinaman). And because they are wrist spinners, their variations are a lot more effective. The finger-spinners can only do so much (limited variety).

What about Pawan Negi (DD) as he has not done much so far ? He is in the Indian Twenty20 team and DD bought him for Rs. 8.5 crore? There was so much buzz around him.

I am surprised. There are bowlers like Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel around.....

Are you surprised that he’s in the Indian team or ...

All put together... I am surprised.

KKR seems to have the best spin attack?

Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Chawla are all proven bowlers with Hogg and Kuldeep Yadav waiting in the wings. All three are different and Gautam Gambhir can throw the ball to them at any given point in time. That’s the beauty of a spin attack like that. No one can buy experience, KKR has that. They can bowl a great 12 overs together.

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