Kapil Dev: Leg-spinners have stolen thunder in IPL

Leg-spinners have been largely successful in the current edition of IPL, too, with most teams boasting at least one quality leggie in their squads.

Kapil Dev recognises the impact leg-break bowlers are having on their teams.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Wrist spinners have become the toast of the Indian Premier League (IPL) so much so that a successful off-spinner like R. Ashwin, too, has been keen to try bowling leg breaks, feels cricket legend Kapil Dev.

“Everybody has a different bowling attack, depending on which pitch they are playing. But what we have come to know from the first or second IPL (till) now, is that the most successful bowler to come out is the leg-spinner,” Kapil Dev told PTI here.

Read: ‘India favourites to win World Cup’

The 1983 World Cup-winning captain spoke on the sidelines of a live cricket comedy show.

“Every team has their leg-spinner. Even a bowler like (Ravichandran) Ashwin, he likes to bowl more leg spin than off spin. That shows the leg-spinners are more successful than anybody else,” Kapil said to buttress his point.

Ashwin is leading Kings XI Punjab this IPL season, after having turned out for Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiants in past editions.

In the current edition of the T20 league, leg-spinners have been largely successful with Mumbai Indians’ rookie Mayank Markande shining in the first three games for his franchise.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, too, has a good leg-spinner in Rashid Khan of Afghanistan, while his compatriot Mujeeb Ur Rahman is also a wrist spinner who plays under Ashwin.

Even the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore possesses a successful leggie in Yuzvendra Chahal.

Quizzed why leg spinners are more successful, Kapil quipped, “Can’t really put a reason, but that is a wicket-taking bowler. It is difficult and not easy (to read them) and every team loves to have a leg spinner.”

The 59-year-old former cricket pointed out how a leggie like Karn Sharma had edged out experienced offie Harbhajan Singh for CSK's match against Rajasthan Royals on Friday.

“Karn is playing, not Harbhajan (Singh), so Chennai is playing with two leg-spinners (the other being Imran Tahir).

So everybody is there with an extra leg-spinner.

“I think that is where in spinners you don’t see so many off-spinners, you don’t see left-arm spinners so much, but you see leg spinners definitely,” Kapil added.

He also praised Markande, who had bamboozled CSK in the league opening game at the Wankhede Stadium.

“He (Markande) is good and if you are a good leg spinner, it always adds on to the team,” Kapil said.

The great all-rounder also hailed India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar as a mature bowler.

“He (Bhuvneshwar) had been excellent in the last three years, why only this one (IPL), he is fabulous, more mature and sensible,” said the former India pace spearhead, who ended his career with 434 Test wickets.

Asked whether the IPL is more of a batsman“s game, Kapil said, “From 100 years, it’s (cricket) a batsman’s game, it’s never been a bowler’s game even though in the last 10 years (of the IPL), so many good things have come out from the bowlers - knuckle balls and slow bouncers.

“T20 is (not only) for batsmen (but) is there for everybody and you need to improve your skill.”

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