The right thing about left-arm spin

When the right-handers are at the crease, the left-arm spinners can be handy since the batsman has to hit against the turn if he decides to go big on the leg-side.

Kings XI Punjab’s Axar Patel has had a decent outing in the IPL so far.   -  AFP

 

In a match where A B de Villiers conjured an innings of blinding brilliance, Axar Patel walked away with the Man-of-the-Match award here on Monday.

Nobody can grudge left-arm spinner Axar his moment of glory. His spell of four overs for 12 runs with the new ball was an influential piece of bowling.

Left-arm spinners may not be as glamorous as leg-spinners – so impactful in Twenty20 cricket — but they can be very effective. So what does a left-arm spinner bring to the table in the shortest form of the game?

“He brings control,” said former India left-arm spinner Murali Kartik to Sportstar on Tuesday.

Karthik added, “Left-arm spinners are generally very consistent. So they are reliable. And they can be used at different stages of the innings, during the powerplay or in the middle, or even at the Death.”

When the right-handers are at the crease, the left-arm spinners can be handy since the batsman has to hit against the turn if he decides to go big on the leg-side.

And some of them have the arm ball at their disposal — the delivery that comes in with the arm and hastens off the pitch. This delivery, if bowled with precision, can trap the batsman leg-before.

Kartik said, “Among the present-day left-arm spinners, Ravindra Jadeja has the best arm ball.”

And then there are some batsmen who are not exactly comfortable while coping with left-arm spin. M.S. Dhoni, for all his achievements, is one such batsman.

Shane Watson too has had his share of problems against left-arm spin and it was smart thinking by Glenn Maxwell to have Axar straight up bowling with the new ball. The ploy worked and Axar had Watson chopping one close to his body on to the stumps.

If there is some turn in the surface, the lone slip comes into play when the left-arm spinner operates. Even if there is little turn in the wicket, the left-arm spinners can vary their pace cleverly, bowl close to stumps and choke the batsmen for runs.

Karthik said, “Most of the pitches in Twenty20 cricket are batsmen friendly, the boundaries are small and if you really want to spin the ball you have to flight. And if you give the ball air you run the risk of getting hit. So a lot of left-arm spinners just bowl tight in this format with subtle variations.”

There are times when they can run into rough weather, but these left-armers also have their moments of success.