Is This The Untimely End Of The Indian Spin Masters In Test Cricket?

Posted by Viraj Pandya in Sports
January 24, 2018

When the Indian skipper announced their preparation for the World Cup 2019, the most sorted combination in the team seemed to be the spin department. Ashwin and Jadeja, the workhorses of the Indian team, were definite core members. The whole nation was confident that these two would be the front line spinning combination for the upcoming world cup. But what transpired in the coming months, was something nobody ever thought about.

The names of Ashwin and Jadeja did not feature in the team, which was scheduled to play against Sri Lanka. Not many questions were raised, as everyone thought that the premier spinners were rested for a relatively easy series. It seemed like a logical decision, considering that they were going to have tough competition against the formidable Australian team after the Sri Lanka series.

What turned out to be an astonishing decision was that they failed to make the cut even for the Australian series. A lot of eyebrows were raised, and that is where Ashwin-Jadeja debate started. The Indian team’s most dependent bowlers were suddenly out of reckoning from the Indian team.

Ravichandran Ashwin came to limelight and made his international debut on the back of a stellar performance in IPL 2010, when he donned the Chennai Super Kings’ jersey. It took him more than a year to debut in the test cricket. In the same way, Ravindra Jadeja, was a part of the world cup winning U-19 team led by Virat Kohli. He made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka on February 8, 2009, where he scored 60 of 77 balls. However, his Test debut came almost four years later, on 13 December 2012, against England at Nagpur.

The two spinners made their mark in international cricket with limited overs cricket. With the passage of time, they cemented themselves in Test cricket and eventually lose their spot in the limited overs format. Life comes to a full circle – lesson, now best understood by the spin duo.

Cogitation of the statistics reflects that finger spinners are becoming obsolete now. Since the last World Cup, the pitches have been flat in the ODI format across the world, with big scores being the norm. With only four men patrolling the boundary in the middle overs, fielding restrictions have added to the problem.

India has played 47 matches since April 1, 2015, out of which they have won 30 matches. During this period, Ashwin and Jadeja have played only intermittently, and have featured in less than 50% of the matches — 15 and 17 respectively. Their recent performance in the limited over cricket has been a major reason for their ouster. Peeping into the stats, in the top bowling-average list, they both feature last on the list of Indian bowlers, since the last World cup.

The bowling economy of Ravichandran Ashwin which was 4.85 before 2015 world cup, has increased to whopping 5.6 runs per over. Jadeja’s stars have not been shining brightly as well, the economy rate of Jadeja has accrued to piteous 5.47 from an impressive 4.84 since the world cup. The wickets column for them since 2015, have also been abysmal, with only 0.8 and 1.1 wickets per innings for Jadeja and Ashwin respectively, they have just been mediocre performers lately. Looking at these numbers, it is no surprise that they do not find themselves in the team.

To add fire to the fire to the fuel, in the absence of first-string spinners, the neophyte spinners like Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel have stepped up to the occasion and grabbed their opportunity with both the hands. It takes a monstrous effort and consistency to keep the premier bowlers on the sidelines. With the current team combination and the apparent confidence of the selectors on the new spinners, the career of the spin duo in limited over seems imperilled. But we all know, cricket is the game of uncertainties, and it will be very engrossing to see what future holds for the Spin twins.