Mohali: The Indian cricket team ‘think tank’ has been pushing for more all-rounders in recent years, with the current generation no longer at the top of the rankings like their senior cricketers did in the past. The Indian team’s desperation to field Axar Patel or Washington Sundar has two reasons: the batsmen are not bowling as much and the batsmen at the back end are not performing well with the bat. So what has changed? Dravid has notably defended Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav (who are not bowling) in his team. He said: “I think it could be because of the rule change.” Suddenly there were no longer four fielders inside the circle, but five fielders. I think this has led to a rapid change in the makeshift bowler’s ability to bowl in the middle phase. Suryakumar was called out for a suspicious bowling action during a Mumbai Indians game a few years ago, after which he never bowled again.
Before Suryakumar, Shikhar Dhawan occasionally played off-spin but in domestic cricket he was called out for suspicious actions and after that he stopped bowling altogether. If we talk about the past, Sachin Tendulkar made inswinger, outswinger, leg break and off break through which he took 154 ODI wickets. Sourav Ganguly also picked up 100 wickets while Yuvraj Singh’s bowling played an important role in India’s victory in the 2011 World Cup, picking up 111 wickets.
Look at Bumrah’s simplicity: after returning from Sri Lanka, he came home in a taxi and not a car worth millions.
All of these specialist batsmen were placed in the top five batting order. Virender Sehwag took 96 wickets and Suresh Raina took 36 wickets. Dravid said, “If you remember and mention the bowling of these names (Sachin, Sourav, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina) at that time, most of these players started bowling when there were only four fielders in the crease.” He said: “In this situation (five fielders in the circle) you can lose makeshift bowlers and that has happened not only with us but with many teams.” If you pay attention, the number of makeshift bowlers has also gone down in other teams. Dravid said, “This is not just for the Indian team.”
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