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5 Indian spinners who could have become Test legends if they had played for other countries

Murali Kartik Anil Kumble Harbhajan Singh
The presence of legends like Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh consigned Murali Kartik to the shadows
Ram Kumar
Modified 25 Oct 2017, 18:06 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

From the country's original troika of Vinoo Mankad, Subhash Gupte and Ghulam Ahmed, India's spin baton was passed to the fabled quartet comprising of Bishan Singh Bedi, EAS Prasanna, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan. After a brief lull in the 80s, the likes of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh formed a menacing pairing for their nation. India's rich spin legacy continues to live in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Even as the spotlight shone on these revered icons, countless spinners toiling long and hard in the domestic circuit were denied entry into the Indian team. While a few of those were able to receive sporadic opportunities as a result of injuries to the leading stars, there have been plenty of unheralded spinners who went largely unnoticed due to the immense competition for spots in India's playing eleven.

Also Read: 5 overseas spinners who could have become legends if they had played for India

In reverse chronological order according to their first-class debuts, here are five Indian spinners who could have become Test legends if they had played for other countries. Needless to say, this list is entirely hypothetical in nature and has been formulated based on the potential as well as first-class records of these players.

While three of these spinners played Test cricket for India, the other two could not break into the national team owing to the presence of established names.

#5 Murali Kartik

Murali Kartik
Murali Kartik had County stints with as many as three different teams

Armed with an easily repeatable action, Murali Kartik had the ability to procure wickets through subtle variations in pace as well as length. However, the luminous presence of Kumble and Harbhajan meant that the left-armer had to spend the vast majority of his career as their understudy.

Despite having the opportunity to make a big name for himself during his very first Test match against a strong South African side, Kartik could manage only a solitary wicket in the second innings on a rapidly deteriorating surface at the Wankhede Stadium.


Whenever the conditions called for a third spinner, Kartik played just seven more Test matches before his international career at the highest level of the game came to a grinding halt. Despite being pushed into the wilderness from a team seeking success across all conditions, he continued to shine in the County circuit.

Stints with various top-tier clubs such as Lancashire, Somerset and Surrey fetched him enormous respect among England cricket circles. Perhaps, the left-arm spinner could have enjoyed a more longer Test career if he had played for England.

Test career (2000 - 2004)

24 wickets from 8 matches at an average of 34.16 and strike-rate of 80.5

First-class career (1996/97 - 2014)

644 wickets from 203 matches at an average of 26.70 and strike-rate of 66.0 with 36 five-wicket hauls and 5 ten-wicket hauls

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Published 25 Oct 2017, 18:06 IST
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