Keep spinners out of T20, say Australian players
Melbourne: The Australian Cricketers Association has found out from a survey of player attitudes towards Twenty20 cricket that if quality spinners have to be preserved then they should not be thrown into the shortest and the trendiest form of the game, the Australian media reports.
A report in The Age says while the super-abbreviated format has gained credibility even among traditionalists, there is a strong view among Australian players that it threatens to destroy budding spin bowlers.
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Among players contracted to Cricket Australia, 64 per cent said Twenty20 diminishes spin bowling skills. “Anecdotally players believe T20 encourages negative bowling and as such is counter-productive to the development of spinners,” the study found.
That argument was wholeheartedly endorsed last night by spin bowling mentor Terry Jenner, the day after chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said he was disappointed in the development of young South Australian pair Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey, who are contracted to Cricket Australia but have been unable to nail their spots with the state side let alone press for national selection.
Jenner refused to discuss Hilditch’s remarks, but the man who coached Shane Warne throughout his exceptional career has consistently argued that young spinners take time to mature to the point where they can defend themselves in the first-class arena, and that limited-overs cricket is their enemy.
“There is no place for a developing spin bowler in Twenty20 cricket,” Jenner said. “In my view, you might as well bowl Michael Clarke and all those (part-time) guys in those forms of the game because the outcomes are pretty much the same.’’
“I watched (Indian off-spinner) Harbhajan Singh in the Twenty20 final and I reckon he bowled 90km/h plus from wide of the crease. He was effective, but picture a developing spinner trying to do that and he would be lessening his capacity to improve.”
Jenner believes Twenty20 in England, where it was first played at domestic level, has inhibited the development of spin bowlers in that country. “If we are looking for Test cricketers we are not going to find them in Twenty20 and, dare I say this, we’re not going to find them in 50-over cricket either,” he said.
“Someone who spins the ball should not be encouraged to take away his spin to try and bowl four overs and go for less than 50. They may as well roll out a bowling machine.”
In general, state and national players believe Twenty20 enhances skill development, with spin bowling the exception. Interestingly, state-contracted players were less inclined to think that Twenty20 was damaging for young tweakers.
Australia’s premier one-day spinner, Brad Hogg, has not played a Twenty20 international since last summer, while other teams have persevered with spinners.
New Zealand skipper and left-arm finger spinner Daniel Vettori, for instance, thinks there is a place for spin bowling in the shortest form of the game. In fact, he believes they will flourish. “If you look at the (Twenty20) World Cup, spinners were some of the most successful bowlers. And every time I have watched a game or played in a game spinners held quite a bit of control not only over wicket-taking but over run-rate,” Vettori said.
“I think they are going to be a more and more important part of it. We’re playing two, we even played two at the WACA (Ground). We realise how important it (spin) is and I think other teams are seeing it around the world as well.”