Who are India’s next set of spinners in ODIs and T20Is?
Rupin Kale takes a look at India’s backup options among spinners in white-ball cricket, who could also go on to form India’s spin attack of the future.
The recent injury to Ravindra Jadeja suddenly exposed India’s genuine lack of clarity around their spin bowling attack in white-ball cricket. Are Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav still in their plans? Is Washington Sundar the next big thing? Is it time to go back to R Ashwin?
A quick look at six bowlers who could take India forward: spinners with limited or no experience in international white-ball cricket, who can start a new chapter in India’s white-ball journey.
While Rahul Chahar’s international career is not off to a great start – three T20Is, three wickets, economy of 9.50 – he is bound to get another opportunity at some point, given his strong domestic credentials. The leg-spinner was among the top 10 wicket-takers in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, picking up 11 wickets in just five games. Overall, the 21-year-old has 142 wickets in 103 white-ball games. His impressive form for Mumbai Indians in the IPL – his career bowling average stands at 24.41 – will also help his case.
With good numbers in List A and T20 cricket (bowling average of 23.38 and 20.79 respectively), Shreyas Gopal would consider himself extremely unlucky to have not played for India yet. The Karnataka spinner has been consistently producing results with the white ball (his IPL bowling average stands at 25.81) and deserves his chance in the national side sometime soon. Gopal also has an IPL hat-trick to his name, the victims being Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis.
This 20-year-old wrist-spinner is one of India’s most exciting future prospects. In 31 T20s, he has picked up 33 wickets at 23.45 with an excellent economy rate of 6.67. He was the highest wicket-taker in the ICC U19 World Cup last year, claiming 17 scalps in just six games, where he challenged batsmen regularly with his attacking lines.
An IPL 2020 sensation, Rahul Tewatia received his maiden national call-up ahead of the recently-concluded T20I series against England. He has 31 List A wickets and 44 T20 wickets to his name. He also has fine economy rates in both formats – 4.73 and 7.36. His exploits in the IPL have also showcased his potential as a hard-hitting lower-order batsman.
This right-arm wrist-spinner has had already had a false start to his international career due to fitness concerns, but still has a chance to turn his fortunes around with the Indian team. A talented and effective mystery spinner, Varun Chakravarthy’s fairytale rise from tennis-ball cricket in Chennai leagues to the IPL has been inspiring. In 21 T20s, he has picked up 25 wickets, bowling at an average of 24.40 and an economy under 7.5. His List A numbers are better: nine games, 22 wickets, 16.68 average. If he can manage to get past the fitness hurdle, Chakravarthy still has a very real chance of breaking into the national side soon.
Mayank Markande’s debut season in the IPL in 2018, where he claimed 15 wickets in 14 games for Mumbai Indians, established him as a young talent to watch out for. Overall, he has 106 white-ball wickets in 81 games, also playing a solitary T20I for India in 2019. If the youngster can create an impact for his domestic sides, he could have an outside chance of returning to the India squad.
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