Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Spin trouble

As we watch the T20 World Cup unfold it becomes blatantly obvious that spin bowling is the main tool used to keep the scoring down and also take regular wickets. No surprise that Australia crashed out so sensationally. What really stands out like the proverbial canine testicles is the amount of chuckers there are now in the game and lets face it I can name five at least in the T20 format. Botha and Murali I am looking at you, but not only you. I think it is time for Australia to bite the bullet and accept that like it or not chucking is now acceptable for a spinner and we need to be looking at nurturing these kinds of bowlers rather than ridicule them at junior level until they are forced to play indoor cricket.
Greg Chappell is starting an initiative along with some prominent spin identities in Australia to develop the craft and I believe they need to be looking at the bowlers with suspect actions that may just turn it a bit. Warne was a freak and it has been demonstrated by Murali that a mere man must throw the ball to take as many or more wickets than the SMS'ing, womanising, bookie aiding drug cheat.


  1. but Murali is just the worlds first wrist spinning offie! ...yeah fuggin BULLSHIRT!

    i can't cop Lowest Common Denominator outcome for this breakdown of the art, i'm afraid mate.

    when we stoop to the LCD by allowing people to chuck we diminsh the craft. i know and agree with your true views NL and i know what you'd prefer to see, but i think if we just give up and join them as chuckers we lose our position of righteousness.

    The BIG issue of not having a spinner of world class is a failing of CA to capitalise on the interest an up and comming- then dominating-Warne created.
    we were told every kid with a ball wanted to bowl leggies and CA just thought it would be organic that another ripper would come through due to the interest... where was the support for kids that showed some aptitude? Nowhere!

    at the peak of Warnes powers and international interest, CA should have become more focused on developing a stream within the cricket academy that was solely spin focused- with Warne holding regular clinics.

    while that opportunity isn't lost, sadly the interest has wained. I've said it before, CA MUST make Warne an offer he can't refuse to become more involved in training future prospects. It is never too late, and i think we will see his interest in IPL diminish now so lets get him here.

  2. here is Terry Jenner on the issue

    Thursday, May 7, 2009
    Why so few spinners?
    Not for the first time recently the question is being asked in Australia "Where are all the spinners?" People in high places are also asking another question which, whilst it might sound the same, is different. That question is "Why are there so few genuine spinners in Australia?"
    A spin summit is to be conducted this year to try and provide answers to those questions and probably more.
    The thing about those two questions is the number of questions they create.
    Is it the fault of coaches? There are a few who probably believe that.
    Is it the fault of captains? There are plenty who feel that way, including Shane Warne.
    Is it the size of grounds, or the size of bats nowadays? There is a strong push in that belief.
    These are just a few of the questions doing the rounds, each of which creates more questions than we can find answers.
    The game of cricket has changed so much over the last 15-20 years and in my view that is the major reason for the demise of genuine spin bowling, either by wrist or by finger.
    If in fact those changes in the game eg; 20/20 and 50 over a side cricket is responsible for the decline in genuine spinners being given a chance to develop from junior level upwards. What can be done? Nothing because both forms of the game are here to stay.
    Perhaps using proper sized boundaries is one way of encouraging spin, so mis-hits can result in wickets and not public pleasing sixes.
    Will less people attend matches if the ball isn't sailing over the boundary like a tracer bullet?
    People in high places will probably answer yes to that question. If that is so then please tell me how we, the spin coaches and lovers of the art can continue to promote spin ahead of dot ball bowling.
    You see, more questions than answers arise from just a few questions!

    Spin Summit
    On Thursday11th and Friday 12th June I attended a spin summit at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, organised by Cricket Australia.
    Many would say it is a knee jerk reaction to the lack of genuine spinners playing in the Sheffield Shield competition. They might also ask what could a meeting achieve at a time when clearly there is no spinner on the horizon that gives hope in the immediate future.
    I must admit I had my doubts about the outcome of a meeting with so many coaches, mostly holding different views.
    The idea was not to work out a method of coaching but to work out a vision for spin bowling embracing captains, coaches, selectors and the spin bowler.
    Around the table sat Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, Australia's most successful modern day spinners. Representing the older brigade was Peter Philpott, Ashley Mallett, Jim Higgs and me. Higgsy only does a little coaching but brought a wise head to the table. Gavin Robertson, David Freedman and John Davison presented the view of the spinners still in their 30's.
    Chairman of Selectors Andrew Hilditch spent a day with the group which I believe he found beneficial even though he doesn't have a lot to choose from.
    While it is not proper for me to outline what the Summit resolved as a future pathway, I can say we were all pretty pleased with the direction it appears spin will head in the future.
    It was interesting to hear all the different views relating to the direction our learning should take. The older generation ( Philpott, Mallett and Jenner) felt the need to work from the junior level through to the senior level as we move forward. Some others felt if you get it right at the top level it will filter down.
    I guess the difference of opinion comes from the fact that the older generation has been coaching for years and has witnessed first hand the impact dot ball bowling has had on the development of young spinners.
    Whatever the resolution was it will not have an impact for 5-10 years. However, you have to start somewhere and Cricket Australia has.

  3. Stoph I am glad you picked up on the irony in my post. The spin bowling fiasco that has become a reality for Australian cricket is by no means confined to the parody of my last effort. For too long we basked in the glory of Warne and his mastery of the craft yet somehow allowed him to exit the game with no real legacy aside from the sordid details of his many transgressions. I agree with you there should have been countless prodigy waiting in the wings to take or even challenge for the mantle of spin king yet sadly we basked too long and assumed the heir would just naturally appear and all would be well. I must say at this point that I consider McGill to be more of a contemporary than a product of Warne, a fact that made the powers that be even more complacent. Had there not been a Warne I believe McGill would have been a revelation at the least, and a legend like Warne at best.
    The problem with bowling in the modern game, and I refer to the shorter forms, is that the crowd do not want to see a battle between bat and ball. They want runs and plenty of them. The grounds have become smaller, the bats have improved beyond belief but more importantly the pitches have become lifeless batsmen’s paradises. I can’t imagine how deflating it must be for a bowler to stride out and discover a runway for a pitch and boundaries short enough for suburban cricket.
    The game needs a contest. Not just between batting line ups but a real contest between bat, pitch and ball. It’s what it was founded on and this throwaway hit and giggle will eventually dilute the significance of the bowler to such an extent that they may as well use a machine.

  4. But Lihppy you're talking about different generations of cricket. Ponsford etc batted on always varying pitches. The game was founded on uncovered mine fields: and the invention of limited over stuff wasn't even an extension of modernisation - it got hold of its tail and then jumped off at its stop.

    Production of lifeless rods for pitches is no excuse for drab cricket and I don't think people want to see two teams make 600 in their first innings every game. Ironically the IPL in South Africa, 50 over saunas in UAE(?) and the 20/20 world cup have had devastating spinning. The spin dilemma in Aus has not resulted from a lack of need. Nor has boundary changes or bat specifications. There are likely several reasons we don't have a proficient spinner. Why do Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka seem to produce such gems? If it's only due to spin-friendly home wickets there must be some other reason they take wickets anywhere.

    Maybe we're in a lull of talent and academies aren't getting many hopefulls through. Perhaps coaches of under 14 sides don't know how to guide and support young spin bowlers. Possibly the National captain doesn't know how to use anyone but Warne. In any case the future is not found in late 30s year old blokes. Scouting and real opportunities are needed for blokes starting their district cricket. Some will fall by the side - from other interests, lack of passion etc - but some will flourish for their state, and perhaps a few will bowl in England in time.

    Whatever, Hauritz has the chance to play a big role in rolling the English. An article on baggygreen says that in the 80s the touring spinner needed to just take 2 wickets and innings to justify his place. Hauritz just needs to outclass Katich and Clarke.

  5. Lefty I appreciate where you are coming from and agree to a certain extent. Let me say that I don't expect a spinner of Warne's talents to just pop up every generation. The time before Warne was littered with handy trundlers that could at the very least tie down an end in the first innings and then exploit the rough deep into the last. We were spoilt with Warne's ability to extract uncanny turn from a day one pitch when in times gone by a spinner would not even have had a look in until the ball was 60 overs old.
    Ponting is under more pressure than now than any captain since Border. Australia is coming off not just a period of domination but a period where we had a quick and a spinner that they could just throw the ball to and get results.
    Hauritz does indeed have the chance to play a big role but the public needs to have a realistic expectation as to what big is. 1 for not too many in the first innings and maybe a bag of 4 in the second is job done as far as I'm concerned.
    If Ponting and the public keep demanding bags of wickets from spinners based on the past exploits of Warne then all will continue to be disappointed.
    Coaches need to teach instill in spinners the art of patience. Scoreboard pressure is just as effective as trying to bowl a Gatting ball each time the arm rolls over.
    I am always loathe to rate subcontinent spiiners too highly as two things become very apparent when you look at the stats. They play a lot of cricket against lowly nations and even more cricket on raging turners.

  6. Good points and I agree with the wicket taking analysis for the Ashes. When you look through past scorecards Aus often did well (with Warne in the side) when spin didn't get a look in as 4 fast bowlers did the job. McGrath usually featured obviously but Gillespie, Flemming etc played roles. Hauritz is screwed if he's expected to take 5 fors but I think he's come on more than he gets credit for. In one of the innings against Pakistan in the ODIs he got four wickets - each with different deliveries and only one was from a mis-cued slog.

    You may be right about Mendis, Afridi, Harbajan etc and we'll see this summer when Pakistan tour how good their spinners are on pacey wickets. Warne's record is worst on the subcontinent so I'm not entirely convinced by your argument. Certainly Murali and others have taken many wickets at home and against worse nations but the top countries still rate them highly. I'm interested to see Swann as he gave WI hell!

  7. top points guys... i really wish we could get more on board, because while we all have similar opinions, further input would surely add to the debate.

    in regard to the Terry Jenner stuff above, i'll add that i sent him an email (his personal blog is on this same blogger platform) to inform that i included his information here and would be more than happy for any remarks regarding this issue.

    I am the first to admit i got Hauritz's return wrong. His track record did not merit a place in the side when he was recalled - goes to prove many things, particularly that first impressions should NOT count. And that people can grow in the shade and produce some good stuff when challenged).

    Haurit'z first test (back) WAS less than unimpressive, but it was clear he could choke runs... even without a wicket ball. That is why i call him a very good limited overs bowler. But to be fair, apart from Grimmet/O'reilly most of the best turners are accompanied by brilliant pace and they just reverse their roles of chocking runs/creating pressure for dominance over the batsman.

    What we are seeing is the need for a turner to totally hold a role: either be a massive tally or giving away NO runs.
    Guess what?! While i'm certainly not international standard, the reality is, if you are trying to do "stuff" with the ball, you WILL bowl some balls that are rubbish and geet belted. I can remember at least a ball a session (awesome average when you think about it) when S.K bowled a complete PIE!
    this is the price of competition.

    So, i now think Hauritz COULD do the job... the essential point being Pontings support; i'm gonna admit i don't have a lot of faith in his ability to direct the play (surely CA can now see their folly in not giving Warne the C possie ASAP... we might have got a few more years at international level!). I actually believe Ponting is the worlds best number 3 batsman... but not a captains____!He is strategically inept!

    Hauritz IS the man for the series to turn the ball; how will he be used is THE question!