CAPE TOWN – Spin bowling is all the rage at the moment and more specifically those of the wristy persuasion. Here we profile five spinners who could turn a few heads at the World Cup.
Kuldeep Yadav (India)
Matches: 44 Wickets: 87 BB: 6/25 Eco: 4.93 Ave: 21.74
It is often said that a spinner is only as good as the faith his captain has in him. Well, Kuldeep must be an exceptional bowler for his skipper Virat Kohli believes fully in his left-arm Chinaman bowler’s ability.
“They might get hit for 70-odd in the next game but there is no problem in that because you know that if they bowl attacking lines then they will end up picking two, three wickets every game. In these conditions now and we are going to play the World Cup away from home, that I think is going to be the massive X-factor for us,” Kohli said of Kuldeep and his spin twin Yuzvendra Chahal on last year’s tour of South Africa.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Matches: 59 Wickets: 125 BB: 7/18 Eco: 3.90 Ave: 15.33
A modern day fairytale. Born in war-torn Nangrahar – a previous Osama-bin-Laden stronghold – Khan has risen from those ashes to be the most popular sportsman in his native land. For all the criticism the various T20 Leagues receive from traditionalists, it has created the space for a globetrotter like Khan to showcase his talents to a worldwide audience.
And what a talent he is. Only 20, he has already bamboozled the most senior international batsmen. He holds the key to any surprise Afghanistan may cause at #CWC19.
Imran Tahir (South Africa)
Matches: 98 Wickets: 162 BB: 7/45 Eco: 4.62 Ave: 24.21
The Proteas owe plenty to a young lady from Durban who convinced a teenage Tahir to turn his back on his Pakistan roots in return for her love all those years ago for the leg-spinner’s contribution to spin bowling in South Africa is immeasurable. Not only has he been a match winner for the Proteas since his debut at #CWC11, but he has transformed South Africa’s attitude towards spin bowling.
Even at 40, with ODI retirement imminent, there are no signs of Tahir losing his effectiveness as he was the highest wicket-taker in the IPL. A World Cup winner’s medal would be the ideal farewell for the Proteas legend.
Shadab Khan (Pakistan)
Matches: 34 Wickets: 47 BB: 4/28 Eco: 4.80 Ave: 27.74
A viral infection almost ruled the Pakistani leg-spinner out of #CWC19, but after visiting a couple of specialists he was cleared to take his place. Pakistan will breathe a sigh of relief as the 20-year-old was sorely missed during the recent England series.
His ability to take wickets regularly during the middle period of the innings is of crucial importance to Pakistan.
Adil Rashid (England)
Matches: 82 Wickets: 132 BB: 5/27 Eco: 5.61 Ave: 30.46
Everyone knows that England can bat, and bat big too. The hosts have a clear-cut plan to chase down anything the opposition throws at them. However, the batsmen would appreciate it if it wasn’t 350 every single time. And that’s where Rashid comes to the fore.
The Yorkshire leg-spinner is comfortable to be banged over his head a few times, but often comes back and takes the wickets that matter.
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