Sunday, October 19, 2008

I have been waiting for you Mishra!

I love leg spinners.

I may not be as passionate about them as JRod but I still love them.

They make the game exciting to watch.

Those subtle few steps to the crease, the twirl of the arm, the rip of the fingers, the flight of the ball, and that bamboozled batsman who sees the ball spin across him and past the off stump - very few sights beat this one in cricket.

Since Shane Warne retired last year, I have been waiting for a leg spinner to emerge who would make cricket as exciting to watch as Warne did.

The Aussies took Beau Casson to the Windies and I remember tuning into the test late one night just to watch a new leg spinner bowl.

Considering he was Warne's apparent long term replacement, my anticipation was high despite warnings from JRod that he wasn't all that.

Casson hardly impressed.

The IPL provided a lot of excitement as there were a lot of leggies in action.

I watched Warne all over again, along with Piyush Chawla and Amit Mishra, and the Warne understudy at the Rajasthan Royals - Dinesh Salunkhe!

But the IPL provided only 4 overs each from them. At the most. That wasn't enough for either of these bowlers to show what they were all about.

A leg spinner needs a stage to perform and that stage is Test cricket.

I was still looking for that 1 leg spinner to emerge.

Ajantha Mendis provided a lot of excitement in the India - Sri Lanka test series over the summer, but he's not a leg spinner.

Exciting yes, but in a different way. Its his mystery element that makes him exciting. There's no rip, no twirling of the arms, no oohs or aahs.

Great bowler that Mendis, but not the leg spinner I had been waiting for.

When the Australian test squad for the ongoing India - Australia test series was announced, there was one name there that I had seen do the rounds of Cricket with Balls for the last year.

That name was Bryce McGain.

He was a leg spinner. He was from the same state as Shane Warne. He had had a successful domestic season in Australia.

And he was to debut at Bangalore.

JRod had gone on about him for over a year so I was sure that he was something to look forward to.

That leg spinner whom I had been waiting for was finally here.


A shoulder injury booked McGain a flight back to Australia.

Cameron White, the Victoria captain and also a leg spinner, was sent to India to replace him.

I had first heard of White a long time back when in one article it was mentioned that he was the next blonde leg spinner that would take Australia by storm.

That was a long long time ago as since then White had become more of a batsman and only a part time leg spinner.

Watching White bowl in the 1st test at Bangalore was fun. He brought a lot of passion into the game as was evident when he took that wicket of Sachin Tendulkar. His first.

But that excitement, that rip, that wrong one, the one that pitches on leg and goes past off, the oohs, the aahs were all missing.

It was never expected to be there to begin with.

The wait for that leggie had to continue I thought.

When news regarding Kumble's fitness did the rounds before the Mohali Test, I thought India would go in with 3 seamers and Bhajji.

Which is why on Friday morning, I was surprised to see Amit Mishra in the XI.

That led the blood cells racing again. Another leg spinner to debut.

I had first seen Mishra in the IPL and had been impressed by him.

Bak then, I had also wondered why Piyush Chawla was playing internationals and not Mishra.

When Mishra took the ball in his hand yesterday, I glued myself to the TV.

Yet another leg spinner was going to bowl his first ball in test cricket. I wondered if he was the leg spinner I had been waiting for all this time.

His first over told me he could be.

His third over, where he bowled Katich off an inside edge, got me thinking that he was definitely the one who would make test cricket as exciting as Warne did.

His 9th and the day's last over, where he trapped Clarke plumb in front with a googly, made me realise that Mishra was it.

Finally I got what I had been waiting for.

Finally test cricket had unleashed another leg spinner who will make it exciting to watch.

Finally the world will see another bowler take a few steps, twirl that arm, rip those fingers, flight that ball, pitch it on leg, and spin it across the batsmen.

Occassionally, the world will also see the wrong ones, and the flippers, and we will all ooh and aah in anticipation of a wicket.

He is playing this test due to an injury to Kumble. Mishra's future probably depends on Kumble's fitness but I hope India can find ways to keep him in the XI despite Kumble's presence.

Because to do otherwise will be gross injustice to the talent this man possesses.

I have been waiting for you Mishra.

And I don't want to wait anymore.

No ageing star should need to announce his retirement for you to make that spot in the XI your very own.

Make your pitch on this post...

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14 Pitched:

  1. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Yeah q, i've been waiting too. And I can add a few more on the wait list, but they'll announce themselves soon enuff.

    The wait is over. Now @ 225/7 the contest starts. And in the 2nd innings, the real test will begin. Fun times indeed. See how Mishraji copes, see how msd handles him.

    Like the bowling details, good one q. Gonna go have a bowl later today. Guess what i'll be bowling?

  2. Q said...

    I bowl just that too NC!

  3. Poshin_david said...

    Now after Kumble we have Chawla or Mishra to take over.

    It's good to know.
    btw, on nov. 9th I'm publishing a special post. Dont miss it for the world.

  4. Q said...

    And a 5 for on debut!

  5. Poshin_david said...

    Amazing debut for Mishra.

    A five wicket haul against the world champions on debut.

    how many can do that.

  6. Q said...

    Shahid Afridi did:

  7. Anonymous said...

    Quality wrist spin is fantastic entertainment and no two of their type are exact. They are all unique and you've captured the excitement and fascination they bring to the game splendidly.

    By the way, historically Australia do poorly when they don't have a leggie and isn't it curious that only Australia, India and Pakistan regularly produce them at international standard.

    Bad luck for Bryce and bad luck for us for the Victorian would have been delightful to watch during this series.

  8. Q said...

    I wonder why that is Nesta. South Arica had Paul Adams, who was a truly different type of leggie. He was exciting and could have turned out to be a good bowler had South Africa stuck with him.

    Sri Lanka produced Upul Chandana who was quite a handy batsman as well. Malinda Bandara I think was another leggie. Chandana didn't get a fair chance IMO, and Bandara is still around and can be worked on.

    England and New Zealand have hardly produced any. West Indies have here and there (Rawl Lewis?) but again no one has worked on them. Dave Mohammad has immense potential I think but he too will fade away if not worked on.

    I think Aus, Pak, and Ind have realised how important leggies are for taking wkts in tests.

    What else could be the reason?

  9. Jrod said...

    He is exciting me as well.

    Although I also heard South Africa may have a leg spinner soon, a Pakistani journeyman named Tahir.

  10. Q said...

    JRod - I never really followed Imran Tahir that closely cause he was always regarded as someone who left Pakistan too early to be considered to play for the country. He has hardly played first class cricket in Pak over the last 10 years during which he has been involved with several counties and now the titans I think in South Africa.

    I heard from you recently that he impressed you and he also led Hampshire to some exciting wins.

    Though is he really being considered by South Africa?

  11. Jrod said...

    Apparently by early next year he is qualified for them, because he is married to a Saffa.

    They would be mad not to pick him.

  12. Q said...

    I didnt know that JRod...

  13. Jrod said...

    It was on his cric info profile, but it has been witdrawn oddly.

  14. Q said...

    Interesting article JRod.

    It says that he's been trying to play for Pakistan for 8 years but thats not true. He hasn't been active on the domestic scene for a long time.

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