IPL spinners weaving an injury web around themselves

Former India spinner V. V. Kumar feels the stress on side-spin in the Indian Premier League could cause Indian spinners to suffer major injuries.

Despite an outstanding spinner, V. V. Kumar figured in just two Tests as he played at a time when the country had the world’s greatest spinners like B. S. Chandrasekhar, E. A. S. Prasanna, Bishen Singh Bedi, and S. Venkataraghavan.   -  Stan Rayan

How will it be if V.V. Kumar plays the Indian Premier League? How will he tackle it?

These were the interesting questions bowled to the former India leg spinner at a cricket conclave at the Tripunithura Cricket Club on Sunday conducted as part of the K. V. Kelappan Thampuran birth centenary celebrations here.

“Forget about how I’m going to bowl in the IPL or T20. Now what is happening is, except (Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Yuzvendra) Chahal, spinners are just pushing the ball with side spin,” said the 82-year-old from Chennai who took five wickets on his debut against Pakistan in 1961.

“Sidespin is easy to bowl and your aim is not to attack the batsmen but to make him defensive. Why is Chahal so successful? Because his deliveries are over-spun with a different parabola and a distinct dip. You will get it only when you over-spin the ball to beat the bat. Now, they don’t do that,” he added.

Talking about what his IPL strategy would be, he said,“If I’m playing T20, I will mix it up. I will not only do side-spin, top-spin and over-spin too, I will mix them judiciously but not defensively.”

Despite an outstanding spinner, Kumar figured in just two Tests as he played at a time when the country had the world’s greatest spinners like B. S. Chandrasekhar, E. A. S. Prasanna, Bishen Singh Bedi, and S. Venkataraghavan.

Attack and confuse them

“You have to confuse the batsmen and attack should be the spinner’s main weapon, not defence. But now, T20 teaches you to bowl defensively, that is why the side spin is coming to the fore,” he explained.

And the stress on side-spin in T20 could see end spinners end up with major injuries, he noted, “It is not going to be good for bowlers at all. Almost all the spinners are going to die out in one or two years if you bowl side spin. It will lead to shoulder and hip problems.”

The conclave with the theme ‘Pooja cricket and how the one-day evolved’, also saw Kerala Ranji coach Dav Whatmore, who helped Sri Lanka win the World Cup in 1996, share his experience on how they pulled it off.

Former cricketers C. R. Vijayaraghavan, J. K. Mahendra and Sreekumar Nair spoke about their experiences with former cricketer and administrator Kelappan Thampuran and at the Pooja tournament, which many believe is the country’s oldest 50-over tournament.