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07 December 2023

Amarnath sees chink in India’s spin armour

Pragyan Ojha could have added variety to the Indian attack. (GETTY)

By Reuters

India have missed a trick by failing to include a specialist left-arm spinner in their World Cup squad, says former India cricketer Mohinder Amarnath. 

Amarnath, now 60, was one of the architects of India’s lone 50-over World Cup triumph in 1983, winning man of the match awards both in the semifinal and final to deny Clive Lloyd’s West Indies a title hat-trick.
The Indian selectors chose off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla in the final 15-man squad for the February 19-April 2 tournament.       
While Amarnath, by and large, is happy with the squad, he felt left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha’s inclusion would have added variety.
“I think it’s a good side, a good all-round side they have picked,” Amarnath told Reuters in an interview.              
“Probably they had a choice to add a left-arm spinner in the side.            
“I always believe that a left-arm spinner can play a very important part, especially when you play in a country like India.               
“Probably they feel Yuvraj (Singh) can do the job.”         
With Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan providing the part-time options, Amarnath felt India had too many off-spinners in their side.            
“The overseas players are good players of off-spin, rather than left-arm spin, especially on Indian wickets where the ball starts turning,” he said.
“There are quite a few off-spinners. Yusuf can bowl off-spin... Raina can bowl off-spin if needed. So probably a left-armer would have been ideal.
“Pragyan has been playing regularly and he has done well and I thought that could have been an option.”           
The former cricketer, known for the numerous comebacks he made in his playing days, said the spinners would hold the ace during the showpiece event.             
“I don’t see medium fast bowlers or pacers being very successful in India. The spinning all-rounders are going to play a very important part.”              
Amarnath argued that there was no such thing as “home advantage” in cricket any more.           
“I don’t think there is any home advantage to any team,” Amarnath said.            
“Lots of players have been playing here in the Indian Premier League and the teams are touring India regularly.               
“They are aware of the conditions and know how the wicket behaves in India.”