Published in www.cricketcountry.com
If ever there was a cricketing event prior to which spinners of all hues can be found licking their lips (along with their fingers), it is the 2011 World Cup.
Given the nature of sub continental pitches and the fact that most international batsman do not play quality spin comfortably in this modern era, all kinds of spinners will be queuing up to bowl in the World Cup.
The signs are visible early, given the performance of the Indian spinners against a full strength Australian line-up in the warm-up match at Bengaluru on Sunday that this could be a spin-dominated World Cup.
The Indians and Sri Lankans in particular, as also the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis, have a host of spinners who are both defensive and offensive for this format of the game.
The signs are there for everyone to see. The batsmen-friendly sub continental pitches will not be much to the liking of the fast bowlers, but suit the spinners would certainly relish the prospect of bowling on these pitches, especially in the second innings.
Sri Lanka is probably the best placed to enjoy their home conditions, since they play all their league matches at home, while India play one match in Bangladesh and the rest at home.
Mutthiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis could be a handful for teams like New Zealand and Australia – clubbed with them in the same pool – if the pitches provide some turn as batsmen need to be sharp and fleet-footed against the classy exponents of spin.
The Pakistanis might be better equipped to neutralise the spin advantage against the Lankans as they have batmen like Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi in their ranks. Saeed Ajmal and Afridi himself can prove to be match-winners in the World Cup and Pakistan would do well to play them both in each match.
India has the added advantage of having Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Sachin Tendulkar, all capable of bowling tight spin on their day. Harbhajan Singh is India’s No 1 spinner and he has quality support in the form of Piyush Chawla and Ravichandran Ashwin.
The Bangladeshis have in skipper Shakib Al Hasan a quality spinning all-rounder, capable of causing a few upsets.
England would depend on their spin trump card, Graeme Swann, with Kevin Pietersen and Darren Maddy chipping in.
The Australians have included the attacking Jason Krejza while South Africa would look towards Johan Botha and JP Duminy to deliver the goods in the spin department.
The West Indians look under-equipped in this department ,but New Zealand has in its ranks world class left-armer Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum.
All in all, a spinners World Cup is in the offing, so be ready to watch some turn, some spin and some crafty bowling!