Wrist spinners come to the fore in IPL 10

It has taken ten seasons for wrist spinners to make a significant impact in the Indian Premier League; for the first time, they touched the 100-wicket mark, when Kings XI Punjab leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia dismissed Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma.

Imran Tahir, with 18 wickets in 12 games, leads the wicket-takers list among wrist spinners in this IPL.   -  AFP

Wrist spinners always bring a lot of charm and intrigue to a cricket match. They are supposed to hoodwink batsmen by sheer guile and dispatch them to the pavilion. Generally, batsmen tend to believe that there is a big scoring opportunity against that tribe. But the fielding team’s captain deploys him as a weapon even on the most placid pitch. Rajasthan Royals's former captain Shane Warne believed that there is a definite role for the leg spinner. He captured 19 wickets followed by Piyush Chawla’s 17 for Kings XI Punjab in the inaugural season.

"Leg-break is artificial rather than natural, and is much more difficult to produce than off-break. Hence it is not surprising that exponents of it are rare, at least successful exponents," wrote K. S. Ranjitsinhji, in The Jubilee Book of Cricket (1897).   

In comparison with finger spinners and bowlers of other ilk, there have been far fewer successful practitioners of wrist spin. It has taken ten seasons for wrist spinners to make a significant impact in the Indian Premier League (IPL); for the first time, they touched the 100-wicket mark, when Kings XI Punjab leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia dismissed Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma. The 99th was taken by Mumbai Indians’s Karn Sharma.

Of the 15 wrist spinners seen in action in this IPL, only Gujarat Lions’s Shivil Kaushik went wicketless; an injury ruled him out of the tournament after three games. Among the rest, Rising Pune Supergiant’s Imran Tahir (18 wickets at an average of 20.50) leads the list. After playing 12 matches, the Pakistan-born South African has gone home. Tahir is followed by Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Rashid Khan (14 at 22.36),  Royal Challengers Bangalore’s  Yuzvendra Chahal (14 at 22.07), Kolkata Knight Riders’s Kuldeep Yadav (11 at 28.64) and Delhi Daredevils’s Amit Mishra (10 at 29.10).

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