Watson: We have the spinners to do well here

Spin is playing on the mind of the players across all teams since the opener that turned on its head at Nagpur on Tuesday. New Zealand’s slow bowlers accounted for nine Indian wickets in a sterling comeback performance.

“I’m not sure if I’ve seen a wicket turn as much as it did last night,” Watson said of the Nagpur pitch where India was humiliated by New Zealand.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Spin is playing on the mind of the players across all teams since the opener that turned on its head at Nagpur on Tuesday. New Zealand’s slow bowlers accounted for nine Indian wickets in a sterling comeback performance. The ICC World Twenty20 has already engaged the attention of the cricket fans in the sub-continent, who know the importance of spin.

Shane Watson tacked the sustained questions around spinners with aplomb as the Australians prepared to take on New Zealand in their first match of the tournament here on Friday.

Sign of things to come?

He was surprised by the nature of the pitch at Nagpur where the ball turned square, skidded low and stopped too. Not an ideal surface for a T20 match by any yardstick. “I’m not sure if I’ve seen a wicket turn as much as it did last night,” said Watson. “That was incredible how much the ball turned. I’m predicting the wickets are definitely going to turn here in some way.”

There was a comforting thought for the Australians from the Nagpur match. “Seeing how difficult it was for the Indian players as well gives everyone confidence that even the best players of spin do struggle when the ball is turning so much.” Watson believes that the Indians are good players of spin even though the notion may not find favour with some of the discerning followers of the game.

The burly Aussie gave credit to the New Zealanders. “From a batting perspective, New Zealand were fairly settled anyway. It took a lot of courage to go against the grind from what you normally would, coming out here and not playing (Trent) Boult and (Tim) Southee and playing three spinners, it certainly paid dividends. That is the flexibility you should have in these sorts of tournaments. The flexibility in our squad that we have at the moment would allow us to do that.”

Watson exuded confidence ahead of the match. “I think we have the spinners who can do well over here in conditions. The ball is gonna turn here. We have got (Adam) Zampa who is a very skillful young leg spinner having played lot of T20s back home. (Ashton) Agar of course has played lot of T20s and knows how to bowl in these conditions, having played a lot of cricket here. We have other options in the side. Last night (Jasprit) Bumrah showed if the bowler has the skills, you don’t need to be a spinner to be good in these conditions.”

The forecast, added Watson, was not ideal for cricket here. “Hopefully we will have the entire game and rain stays away.” Hopefully…