In a chat with TOI at the Kotla, ex-leggie Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has claimed that Ravi Shastri has been using the same tactics that the Indian team used at the 1985 World Championships. He also asserted that the India’s spin department is good enough to start delivering the goods in Tests as well.
The Indian wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have all but supplanted the finger-spinning pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, in limited overs, from the Indian team with their excellent performances in alien conditions during the South Africa tour, drawing praise from far and wide. The ODI series saw Kuldeep and Chahal scalping the most wickets across all bowlers with 17 and 16, and ranked in the top-4 economic bowlers with rates of 4.63 and 5.02.
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan heaped praise on the duo, saying, “Chahal has a good leg break, googly and a flipper. He would have to master the top spin to get that extra bounce and pace from the wicket, which will make him an even better bowler”.
Relating an anecdote about Kuldeep’s potential, he said, “I told Kuldeep while giving him the Test cap (in the Dharamshala Test against Australia) that I played four years of international cricket, but I want you to play for fourteen years. I also believe Chahal would be ready for Test at some point of time. Our spin department looks well-sorted as of now”.
The bowling exploits of “Kul-Cha” have ranked them as having picked up the maximum wickets in a bilateral series held in South Africa since 2000. And that, according to Siva, are down to the tactics that were used by Gavaskar in the 1985 World Championships.
“Before my first ODI game in the 1985 tournament, our captain Sunil Gavaskar took Shastri and me out for lunch and told us to get at least five wickets in our 20 overs. Gavaskar even told me that he would not mind if I conceded more than 50 runs from the 10 overs. He wanted me to get two or three wickets in the middle overs. Ravi is using the same tactics as a coach now," he explained.
Gavaskar’s tactics or not, or wrist-spinners or not, it has to be said that India’s ODI success in South Africa has been one of the most successful in recent memory, and a crucial peg in captain Virat Kohli’s plan to dominate in alien conditions in this year.