Indian spinners: What the numbers say

Here’s a statistical analysis of five prominent contemporary Indian spinners.

Ravichandran Ashwin, especially in India, is a devastating Test bowler. Ravindra Jadeja is an ideal foil to Ashwin in the Test arena.

Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s emergence as India’s spin spearhead coincided with the team’s rapid ascent to the top in world cricket. A quintessential part of the team, Ashwin’s 292 wickets from 52 Tests at 25.26 has made him a potent weapon in the longer format.

A total of 84 wickets from 20 Tests away from home at an average of 31.75 suggests his away record requires greater polish but in India, where the conditions are conducive for spin bowling, the 31-year-old boasts an envious tally.

His 208 wickets from 32 Tests at 22.64 speak of an increased effectiveness on turning tracks where batsmen struggle against his carrom ball, arm ball and the traditional offbreaks.

Read: Contemporary versus history: A spin debate

However, Ashwin has failed to replicate that success in limited-overs cricket, where he has 150 scalps from 111 ODIs at 32.91. The tweaker’s overseas struggles also continue here as he has managed only 42 wickets from 41 ODIs at an extremely poor average of 42.78.

One criticism of Ashwin has been his line and length in the abridged versions, slightly on the shorter side around middle and leg allowing batsmen to score easily off his bowling. That said, there’s no denying that his rapid development as a bowler will hold India in good stead in the future.

Ravindra Jadeja

The left-arm spinner from Saurashtra has become a force to reckon with in international cricket, thanks to his all-round ability — a valuable currency in cricket these days. With the ball, he has the nagging accuracy and bite which have earned him 155 wickets from 32 Tests at 23.60, although 22 of those matches have been played at home where he averages a mind-boggling 19.88.

In Test whites, he has played an able second fiddle to R. Ashwin, even stepping up to the occasion when the former suffered a dip in form during the 2013-14 tours of South Africa and New Zealand. He was Australia’s chief tormentor when it toured India in 2013, picking up 24 wickets at 17.45 spearheading a 4-0 whitewash in what was his first full series.

Jadeja, in ODIs, has blown hot and cold having racked up 155 wickets from 136 games at 35.87. He was one of the architects of India’s winning campaign at the 2013 Champions Trophy in England, where he was the tournament’s top bowler with 12 wickets at 12.83, but had an average outing at the 2015 World Cup. And with the likes of Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal breathing down his neck, the wily left-armer has some serious competition to fend off.

Yuzvendra Chahal... developing into a good limited-overs performer. Kuldeep Yadav... adding a new dimension to the Indian attack.

 

Kuldeep Yadav

A Test debut against Australia at home, a 4-for in the first innings and wrong ’uns which not many batsmen can read — the 22-year-old left-arm chinaman bowler from Uttar Pradesh has made heads turn and it’s not for nothing.

Yadav’s tribe is in minority; a wrist spinner with control over line and length would be any captain’s delight and that was evident when Virat Kohli decided to field, not one but two wrist spinners in the recent ODI series against Australia. Yadav’s seven wickets from four matches at 30 helped India pile misery on a clueless batting line-up as India pocketed the 5-ODI series 4-1.

Read: Former spinners' comments

Though only 11 ODIs-old, Yadav has 18 wickets at 24.38 and as India gears up for a busy winter, all eyes will be on the youngster as he attempts to push his stocks higher.

Yuzvendra Chahal

An attacking leg-spinner, Chahal is fast turning into Kohli’s go-to bowler in the middle overs of a limited-over game. Seventeen wickets from 11 ODIs at 25.70 and 14 from 17 T20Is at 15.50 make him a valuable weapon in the limited-overs format.

Against Australia in the recent ODI series, Chahal often bowled in tandem with wrist spin counterpart Kuldeep Yadav to exploit the opposition’s Achilles Heel against quality spin. A tally of six wickets from four matches at 28.66 was a good return for him.

With the team management willing to take risks with two relatively inexperienced wrist spinners, Chahal will fancy cementing his place in the side.

Axar Patel

The left-armer, who made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in 2014, has played only 36 ODIs and has struggled to leave an impression on a squad already brimming with good spinners.

Axar Patel has fallen away after initial promise.   -  PTI

 

He has 44 wickets from 36 ODIs at 29.88 and seven scalps from eight T20Is at 27.14 to go with 181 runs at a strike rate of 95.26. For a while, his stock as India’s next spin-bowling all-rounder had risen. But those hopes have proved to be short-lived as the 23-year-old continues to nibble around the edges.