Marching with a spin army

2012-08-11 19:54

Low, slow pitches make for unattractive but exciting cricket. As Andrew Hudson has picked five spinners for the T20 World Cup, Khanyiso Tshwaku looks at the rationale behind a team of tweakers

In the days of green and partially uncovered wickets, the fast men ruled ICC tournaments. Clive Lloyd won the first two Cricket World Cups on the back of brutal fast bowling and crackerjack batting.

The 20-over format has required a major tactical rethink as the faster you bowl, the further you travel into the stands.

Fast bowling has not become redundant but spin has become an important offensive and defensive cog in a format where most bets are hedged in the batsman’s corner.

Hudson has taken note of this. With five spinners picked for the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka next month, constricting runs will be the name of the game. The options at hand have Hudson very excited.

“Taking the ball away from the right-hander is sometimes an option. If there is a team packed with left-handers, then off-spin is an option,” Hudson said.

“The likelihood is that you might have an option of playing two spinners but you may not. You might want to keep the option of playing two seamers and have spin for backup. It will be horses for courses.”

The courses, which will be Pallekele, Hambantota and the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, are not necessarily spin friendly.

But the fact that the pitch preparations will fall under the ICC’s ambit excites Hudson, because it will make for a more even contest.

“I don’t think wickets are going to crumble and they won’t dry out as much as they would during an ODI or Test match, adding effectiveness for different types of bowlers,” Hudson said.

“Forty overs is not a lot of cricket and I’m sure a lot of the grounds will have plenty of strips and they will be well prepared. What we have found is that when South Africa plays on the subcontinent, (the hosts) are in charge of pitch preparation, whereas at ICC tournaments, the ICC is in charge of preparation. There is doubt that quick pitches can be prepared in Sri Lanka.”

South Africa’s spin experiment in the 50-over World Cup on the subcontinent backfired. Hudson expects a major improvement on that.

“I’m confident the guys can put this ICC monkey to rest as we have this mental freshness in the team. The 2010 edition (in the West Indies) was not a proud performance, but we have a great squad now.”

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