How long before was it when M. S. Dhoni gave the ball to R. Ashwin and did what he does best (managing the spinners skilfully, one of the many Dhoni things that I enjoyed watching)?
Opening the bowling, being given the ball when desperately in need of a wicket and containing those bludgeoning willows at the death; Ash had done it all, being ably supported by his left-arm counterpart, Jaddu or as fondly called, ‘Sir Ravindra Jadeja.’ We, the fans, were accustomed so much to seeing them work in tandem and pick wickets for us almost out of nowhere and more importantly when it mattered.
The rise of Chahal and Kuldeep, though, has seen them from being rested to now almost being dropped.
The leggie and the chinaman have truly worked wonders since their takeover of the duties. This brings us to a new phase and a new era of our spin tales. Long gone are those days when spinners were seen only as a defensive option with their only possible chance of getting wickets being when the batsmen ran out of patience.
Though leggies and chinamen are more of wicket takers than the finger spinners, Chahal and Kuldeep have always looked that bit more aggressive. Despite occasions of the ball flying into the crowd, they don’t shorten their length in defence. Instead, they go on tempting batsmen with flight and ultimately force them to hole out in the deep.
Wrist spinners have also blossomed in other countries. Adil Rashid (England), Ish Sodhi (New Zealand), Samuel Badree (West Indies), Imran Tahir (South Africa) and Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) are doing well for themselves.
What wrist spinners have done is to even out the game by restricting batsmen with their guile and have put a rein on mammoth scores. Though cricket is a batsman’s game, with the wrist spinners around it won’t be blatantly so.
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