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  5. May be Ashwin, Lyon don't have enough variations to survive in ODIs: Mushtaq Ahmed cites Kul-Cha example

May be Ashwin, Lyon don't have enough variations to survive in ODIs: Mushtaq Ahmed cites Kul-Cha example

Ashwin (365 wickets from 71 games), Lyon (390 wickets in 96 Tests) and Pakistan's leg-break bowler Yasir Shah (213 wickets in 39 Tests) have won innumerable games for their countries in longest formats only to be found wanting in ODIs and T20s.

PTI PTI
Lahore Published on: May 07, 2020 17:41 IST
Ashwin and Lyon
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Ashwin and Lyon

The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon have been world class bowlers in Tests but their failure to translate it into success in white-ball formats could be due to the "lack of variations" on flat decks, feels former Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed.

Ashwin (365 wickets from 71 games), Lyon (390 wickets in 96 Tests) and Pakistan's leg-break bowler Yasir Shah (213 wickets in 39 Tests) have won innumerable games for their countries in longest formats only to be found wanting in ODIs and T20s.

"Look at Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. They have won so many (white ball) games for India in the last two years. May be the likes of Lyon, Ashwin and Yasir don't have enough variations to survive in one-day cricket," Mushtaq, a former Pakistan great told PTI in an exclusive interview.

Mushtaq, who has coached around the world including a champion England side that had a spinner of the calibre of Graeme Swann in its ranks, feels the categorisation of Test and limited overs spinners is the need of the hour.

"Test cricket remains the ultimate challenge for the spinners as you get to know their true skills. The likes of Yasir Shah, Nathan Lyon, Moeen Ali, Ashwn. These are the guys I admire. Their contribution to Test cricket has been huge," Ahmed told PTI in an interview.

"Some of them have been successful in one day cricket also but the game has changed drastically since the five fielder rule inside the (30-yard) circle came into being. For that, mystery spinners as well as wrist spinners have become more effective. Guys like Like Adil Rashid, Adam Zampa, Yuvzendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Shadab Khan."

Ashwin, known for his carrom ball as well as "reverse carrom ball" which he recently said that he had used, has not played white ball cricket for India since 2017 West Indies tour and his comeback in the format doesn't look imminent.

"In one -day cricket, if the pitches are good and you don't have variations or a mystery ball, you can't survive. For example, a champion bowler like Lyon has been exposed in one day cricket.He has not been as successful as he has been in the longest format."

Lyon has taken 390 wickets in 96 Tests but featured only in 29 ODIs and couple of T20s.

Mushtaq said the ever increasing role of power-hitting in the modern one-day game has made mystery spinners more valuable than the conventional ones.

"You need to have someone who can bowl leg-breaks, googlies, flippers, someone with a different (unorthodox) action. There is so much power hitting in the game, you need spinners with variations.

And that is why he endorses different set of spinners for Tests and limited overs cricket.

"In ODIs, you can still play one good conventional spinner but in T20s you need mystery spinners as he can get a wicket even with a bad ball as the batsman doesn't have the time to read him," said the 49-year-old.

"Also, the amount of cricket being played, you need to have different spinners for different formats. You zero in on five-six spinners and use them in different formats. That way their career is prolonged also."

According to Mushtaq, skill-wise, Lyon and Ashwin are on par with greats like Saqlain Mushtaq and Muttiah Muralitharan but not best suited for the one-day game.

"We had four fielders inside the circle, there was extra protection in the deep. Now with five fielders inside, if you are consistent with your line and length, you may struggle.

"Ashwin and Lyon are as good as the spinners of the past. It is just that the limited overs game has overshadowed Test cricket," Mushtaq said.

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