The mystery of wrist-spinners and their supremacy over batsman
In a day and age where batsmen reign supreme over the bowlers, wrist-spinners are hitting back and making their mark despite all the odds. Twenty20 and ODI formats are ruthless, especially for the bowlers. We are living in the age of powerful bats, strong batsmen and short boundaries. The pitches are flat while the rules and regulations are tailor-made for the batsmen. Against so many adversities, bowlers are trying to adapt while the batsmen are reaping the rewards. Of all the bowlers, wrist-spinners are the most vulnerable as the ball is difficult to control compared to off-spinners. Yet, this breed of bowlers has found success against all the odds due to their wicket-taking abilities.
At present, India are the envy of all the cricketing nations when it comes to spinners. So much so, that their premier spin bowlers Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin have not played limited overs cricket for over a year now. Jadeja last represented India in an ODI on July 6, 2017 while Ashwin last played an ODI on June 30, 2017. The Ashwin-Jadeja combo has been replaced by the wrist-spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. In Chahal and Kuldeep, India have found two wicket-taking spin bowling options for all kinds of conditions. Perhaps, India have realised the fact that the best possible way to stem the flow of the runs is to pick wickets. India's new spin twins have obliged to this strategy with great effect.
Not just modern batsmen, wrist-spinners have troubled batsmen of all the generations over the years. B Chandrasekhar, Abdul Kadir, Mushtaq Ahmed, Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, Narendra Hirwani, Laxman Shivaramakrishanan were masters of their art and they were all wicket-takers. Though, after the Kumble-Warne era the art of wrist spin was on the brink of extinction but now it is back with a bang. Wrist spinners are the X-factor in the slam-bang world of the Indian Premier League. From South Africa's Imran Tahir to West Indies' Samuel Badree to a host of Indians such as Karn Sharma, Mayank Markande, Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla all of them have proved their worth in the batsman-dominated T20 format.
So what exactly is the reason behind wrist-spinners' wicket-taking abilities?
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar was once quoted as saying, "Wrist-spinners pick wickets. And the best way to slow down the run-rate is to keep taking wickets. They can find spin on any track and are not dependent on pitches. It's a huge factor in their favour on batsmen-friendly surfaces."
Former India opener Aakash Chopra believes that the ability to spin the ball both ways makes wrist-spinners effective. "They can turn the ball into and away from the right-handers. And batsmen are not able to pick their variations."
Wrist-spinners have a repertoire of different types of deliveries. Legbreak, googly, flipper, top-spinner, slider. Each variation is deadly and when delivered with accuracy it bamboozles the batsman on most occasions. With a wrist-spinner bowling in front of him, a batsman is always guessing. They tend to sow the seed of doubt in a batsman's mind, which makes them vulnerable. That India possess not one, but two quality wrist spinners, gives them a huge advantage for the 2019 World Cup.