Recent international events may suggest that a spin revival is taking place.
With Warne and Murali stealing the limelights one might be excused to think that
only spinners are the movers and shakers. Even more, the conclusion of the Under
19 cup is revealing, with spinners Enamul of Bangladesh, Mansoor Amjad and especially
Tariq Mehmood of Pakistan, making headlines. So is it early days for the pace
juggernauts, a la Sami, Shaiob and Irfan, to take the back seat? Yes and no.
The pace age isn?t coming to an abrupt end but teams with more of a refined
and varied bowling attack seems to be the flavour of the day.
All this is happening as part of a subtle ?evolutionary? duel
between the bowlers and batsmen. So far certain events have clearly favoured
the batsmen . ODI was one big event that had serious negative repercussions
for bowlers. Combined with that, the plethora of new technology has shrunk
any advantages that bowlers could rely on. Lastly, the huge increase in the
amount of international cricket has also favoured batsmen by transferring the
additional stress on to the bowlers. In particular, the fast bowlers are in
With all these things happening in tandem it is no surprise that batsmen have
increasingly dominated the games with 3 runs an over a regular feature of test
cricket. Yet, the tenacious bowlers have not given up the challenge but sadly
have responded with even more fast bowling. That is, extreme fast bowling.
So much so that at one point some test sides have fielded five pace bowlers.
All this has inadvertently sidelined the spinners.
India and Pakistan, to the immense benefit of cricket, have throughout their
history picked wrist-spinners. Australia has also not forgotten its trust in
leg-spin ever since Benaud?s magnificent haul of wickets in the sixties.
For the sake of our next Home match a vital lesson is to be learnt here. Bangladesh
would do well by following the sub continental example of ?always? having
handy spinners, like Kumble or Murali, who are especially consistent at home
Will the batsmen continue to dominate international cricket? Not necessarily.
The googly, the flipper, bodyline, the yorker, reverse swing, the 'doosra'
- all these revolutionary advances are testimony of the bowler?s creativity.
Pakistan has stereotypically been associated with pace but credence must also
be given to the cultivation of their spinners, such as Qadir and Saqlain, even
in the shadows of their pace legends.
All this may be a blessing in disguise for Bangladesh. Without the constant
clamour of hastily putting together a pace attack we may actually benefit more
by nurturing an effective bowling attack with emphasis on variation. An internationally
competitive bowling attack without 5 pacers is possible. The immediate concern
is that in our quest to fill up the team with ?allrounders? we
may have compromised on the quality of our medium pace and to some extent on
spin. The onus will be on honing the skills to achieve the right balance between
accuracy and variations in style.
The exciting breakthrough may very well be in our spin department. Today,
Enamul Haque is promising. Together with one or two other spinners our bowling
may get that variety that will be needed in international cricket. In the meantime,
like the example of Mushfiq, we may have to pull up some past discards, such
as Off-spinner Fahim Muntasir and spinner Musaddeq Hossain, to continue a process
of experimentation that seems to be never ending.
But at the end of the day what matters are wickets. If a magical combination
of bowlers can do the trick we should pay attention to the development of all
types of bowling in our cricket and not just dream up a poor copy of a pace