Ranji Trophy: Need to be patient with spinners, says Bengal's spin-bowling consultant

Utpal Chatterjee, Bengal's spin-bowling consultant and former India player, feels spinners should be used as wicket-taking options and teams must be patient with them.

Utpal Chatterjee

Bengal's spin-bowling consultant Utpal Chatterjee feels spinners must bowl with an attacking mindset.   -  CAB Media

As a player and then as a coach, Utpal Chatterjee has seen spin bowling undergo radical changes in the last 35 years.

Chatterjee, a prominent left-arm spinner from Bengal who captured 504 wickets in 129 first class matches between mid-1980s and mid-2000s, is a bit sympathetic towards his fellow tradesmen of today.

However, the 55-year-old, the spin bowling consultant of Bengal, understands the situation well.

“Spinners are there, but teams are fielding three pacers and one or two spinners. Because of the format, every team wants an outright win and six points. If you get only first innings lead, then you cannot qualify (to the Ranji Trophy knockouts). That's why teams are playing to their own strengths,” Chatterjee told Sportstar during Bengal’s Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match against Odisha at the DRIEMS ground here.

Read: Bengal not intimidated by big teams, says Tiwary

“In older days, the pitch used to be spinner-friendly. So, the stress was on spin and so many spinners played.”

According to Chatterjee, the proliferation of T20 tournaments changed the scenario. “Nowadays spinners are not eager to bowl in days’ cricket. Everyone wants to bowl in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Everyone wants to stop runs, not to get a batsman out by beating him.

“The spinners get changed soon after getting hit because teams want quick results. One needs to be patient with the spinners and believe that he can give the team a breakthrough.

“The patience is gone now. Even the batsmen want to score a hundred in 120 balls. That's why spinners are bowling low trajectory deliveries and not keen to flight the ball. Since we don't see traditional bowling, we don't get good spinners.”

Chatterjee, who played three ODIs for India, said the increase in limited overs international matches had its impact on the longer version.

“If there are three T20s and five one-dayers in a series, how can a spinner play? No one wants to learn bowling that suits Test matches. Rather the focus is on the format in which more matches are played. That's why we don't see many spinners playing Tests. Look at IPL, there are so many bowlers who bowl well. Such bowlers don’t stand a chance for the Indian Test side.”

Chatterjee said being flexible was the best option. “One has to bowl as per the team's needs. Look at Virat Kohli, he has been scoring runs in all formats because he has been able to adapt well. If someone is an all-rounder, he has an advantage,” said Chatterjee.

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