Former Indian wicket-keeper batter Saba Karim has opined that it is imperative that leg-spinners are given opportunities in the red-ball format.
India has spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel in the Test format and all of them are off-spinners. In fact, when Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the second Test against New Zealand, Jayant Yadav, who is also an off-spinner, was added to the playing XI.
Kuldeep Yadav, on the other hand, has played seven Test matches despite making his Test debut back in 2017 against Australia and he played his last match against England in the home Test series. Yadav hasn’t been in the best of forms in the recent past and he has been dropped from all three formats of the game. Furthermore, Yuzvendra Chahal is yet to make his Test debut for the national team.
Karim feels it is pivotal to groom leg-spinners in the Test format to get the best out of them at the top level. India has leg-spinners like Ravi Bishnoi, Mayank Markande and Rahul Chahar.
While speaking on the Khelneeti podcast on YouTube, Saba Karim said: “The involvement of leg-spinners depends on how we are grooming them. There are several leg-spinners in the country that are playing for their respective states and performing well. On the surface, there is Yuzvendra Chahal and Rahul Chahar. Then comes Ravi Bishnoi and Mayank Markande. A lot of it depends on the backing given to the player by the captain and management. It is important that leg-spinners be given opportunities in red-ball cricket as well. Only then the dying art will be revived.” Karim explained.
On the other hand, Karim added that there are a lot of leg-spinners in the limited-overs but there is a lack of them in the pristine form of the game.
“There are a lot of leg-spinners when it comes to white-ball cricket. In white-ball cricket, you can bowl attacking leg-spin and have the provision to set a defensive field. The spinner knows that batsman will look to attack him, so the chances of taking a wicket are high. But, in red-ball cricket, leg spinners are required to bowl defensively with an attacking field so that is why they tend to leak runs at times.” Karim reasoned.
India will take on South Africa in the first Test match, which will be played at Centurion from December 26.