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Spin - India's biggest strength becomes biggest weakness
India's decision to have a turning track in Mumbai backfired, as India lost the second Test match, with both spinners and batsmen failing to make a mark. On the contrary, it was the English spinners and batsmen, who played a good game to emerge victorious.

FOR PAST four of five decades, it has been generally said that Indians are best players of spin bowling, but times are changing as the recent loss against the English at Mumbai suggests. Indians are known for preparing pitches that provide lot of turn to spinners and put the Indians on the front foot. The pitch provided for Mumbai also assisted spin bowlers, but it was the so called best players of spin bowling who faltered in both innings of the second Test match.

India's decision to play on a spin track against the English backfired, as neither the Indian spinners were able to come up with good bowling spells nor the batsmen could score runs. It was an embarrassing game for Indians as they lost by 10 wickets against the so called weak players of spin bowling.

The Indian team needs to go back to the basics and learn how to play quality spinners on a turning track. Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann took 19 wickets between themselves in the Test match and it is the Indian team which still wants to play on turning tracks.

Before requesting (read as order) the curators to provide a pitch to assist spinners, it is essential that one also needs to look into the opponents' spinners. One has to say, the Indians have good spinners in the form of Ojha and Ashwin, forget Harbhajan who has been off the boil for a long time, but England has a better spin attack if you put in Monty Panesar and G. Swann in the playing eleven. Swann, for years has proved to be one of the best spinners in the modern era and Panesar, when he gets the ball to talk can be lethal.

Apart form Cheteshwara Pujara, there was no bright hope for the Indian team in the batting department, which could not handle the English spinners. Even the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli all fell to spinners, proving it was a bad choice to have such a wicket, where playing quality spinners was an impossible task. The same cannot be said for English batsmen, especially Kevin Pietersen and their skipper, Alastair Cook, who took the attack to the Indians scoring centuries to come out on top, which the Indian think-tank was not expecting.

There were flashes of quality batsman-ship of Indians as well, but they took it for granted that they are the masters in playing spin bowling and lost wickets in the process. Now, it no longer holds true with the number of records available about the weaknesses and the strengths of the cricketers, which was rocket science few decades back. The advent of IPL has also helped these cricketers get more acclimatised to Indian conditions.

After how the match has unfurled in Mumbai, interesting times await us in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Will the Indian team ask for a pitch, which once again assists spinners? But, MS Dhoni is adamant and has asked for a similar wicket at Eden Gardens as well. If this is the case, more than the Indian spinners, it is the batsmen, who need to be at the top of their game, as Swann and Monty are high on confidence and are capable of coming up with a repeat performance.

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