Be it the current season of the IPL in the third season, or in the second season in South Africa, a recurring theme that has proved rich dividends is the use of spin bowlers as the opening bowler. Contrast this with earlier times when spin bowlers came into reckoning, only after the pace bowlers had hurtled down few overs. India was an exception where the spin bowlers used to do stock bowling, as fast bowlers were a discounted commodity till the advent of Kapil Dev.
Deepak Patel, the spin bowler from New Zealand had started this trend of opening the bowling from one end and he was pretty successful in his initiative and so was his team. Thenceforth, spin bowling as a veritable option for bowling came up in a big way. The option is exercised more by the team that is defending the score, as by using the spin bowlers the idea is to slow down the proceeding so that the bowl may not be hurled out of the boundary wall, as it happens with impunity with the fast bowlers.
It was Royal Challengers Bangalore who relied on using opening the bowling in a big way under the captainship of Kevin Pietersen when he was captaining the team, and once the baton passed on to Anil Kumble it really caught on. The success that Royal Challengers Bangalore had achieved in the second season of the IPL was primarily owing to opening the bowling with the spin bowlers. Shane Warne is another captain who is using the spin bowler as opening bowler and to execute the job he relies on his magician Yusuf Pathan to deliver.
It indeed has become a successful option manifest from the fact that Kolkata Knight Riders that has one of the fastest bowlers in the business Shane Bond in its team, along with Indian speedster Ishant Sharma were made to sit out as KKR played additional spinner in their match against Delhi Daredevils yesterday. It has happened inspite of the fact that they have a bowling coach in Wasim Akram.
So spin bowling has got a shot in the arm with the IPL and the doomsayers who used to say that spin bowling would slowly die must be eating their words. It is the spin bowling that has given a new dimension to IPL matches, and as the season progresses larger manifestation of finger wizardry would come into display.
By: Suman Rai