It may be narrow discussion but it feels right. We've seen an all-out leggie in Capetown, the first since you know who (sir), so with several spinners tried in a year I reckon it warrants debate.
Has Australian cricket been preoccupied with spin bowling because of who bowled hand grenades for a decade or so? I sense some impossible gap-filling going on. Hilditch made comments about the role of spin bowling in Australia's test team, before Capetown, which placed it secondary to pitch conditions. This may seem innocuous as the 11th position at the WACA is unlikely to be taken by a spinner if they can't bat! But Hilditch also ensured the media was clear about his decisions in lineup being justified by Durban and Jo'berg. Self-righteous bollocks! But perhaps hooker is understating the role of spin bowling in Aus' test team because he's not sure there really is any for the long haul.
I think Aus has reached a spin recession though. This is why I hate what Warne has done to cricket. He's set the bar for spin capacities outside the reach of the current proponents of bowling magic. I'm sure the inner desire for gentle flighted drift followed by 60 degree turn is dreamed of by many of us. But we 'ain't getting that from Hauritz, Krejza, White, Casson (!) - maybe McGain but I want to be more positive - or any tried bowlers wearing the baggy green.
During the Perth test against South Africa Justin Langer commented on the respect generated from being selected to play for Australia. By selection you were equal. Someone had believed you were good enough to represent Aus so you must be ok. Unless you're Muller.
I don't think 'frontline' (what the hell does that mean) spinners have been picked judged against this sort of selection process since SK left through the back door. This isn't to say that none of the spinners afore mentioned are not good enough to play for Australia. It's just that they don't seem to be great at picking up wickets and/or slowing the runs over a series. This doesn't just refer to the SCG or all-of India, but quicker or bouncier pitches. You're picked to tour or play at home because you'll regularly contribute.
It's not just Warne that has bamboozled batsmen - though certainly very few have dominated so consistently - but Murali, 'Bahji', Mendis (yeah I know Stoph; looked him up), Harris (maybe worth a post alone) and others get results as out-and-out spinners. While chucker hasn't had great success in Aus there's not many other places he hasn't. Even aside from local pitches and a culture that encourages slow bowling, many spinners bowl well - through containment, tempo change or striking with wickets - on a variety of surfaces.
From looking at the current 11, 12 or 13 blokes hovering around the Aus team, I reckon from Katich, Clarke or North spin overs should come. Unless selectors can resist window shopping at spinners: trying them on and returing them damaged. Even though Krejza appears destined for a certain heap, 12 wickets in a test are unlikely to be entirely fluked. But he's gone. Maybe forever.
I guess there's Dan Cullen, the other Cullen, maybe David Hussey?