The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to commence on the 9th of April, and this time, the season will be held at home.
Last year, the UAE was expected to provide slow, low wickets that the spinners would've been right at home on. But what transpired was something else entirely, as the slow bowlers struggled to get purchase with a layer of grass on the pitch and short boundaries in all directions.
Chennai, Delhi and Ahmedabad are on the list of venues for IPL 2021, although no team will play any matches at home. These three grounds are primed to give the spinners ample assistance, even if dew is a factor they have to be wary of.
In this article, we rank the three IPL 2021 franchises with the best spin attacks.
#3 Chennai Super Kings
Options: Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Mitchell Santner, Moeen Ali, Krishnappa Gowtham, R Sai Kishore, K Bhagath Varma, Suresh Raina (part-time)
The Chennai Super Kings spinners were woeful in IPL 2020. Jadeja failed to contain batsmen like he has done so often in the past; Chawla was a shadow of his former self; Tahir picked up only one wicket in the three matches he played.
CSK come into IPL 2021 having released Chawla and Harbhajan, with Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham in their place. And on paper, MS Dhoni has a veritable army of spinners to call upon.
Although CSK won't play any games at Chepauk, Tahir, Jadeja and Ali - combined with the handy offies of Raina - give the team great balance and variety. Even CSK's backup options are solid - while Gowtham is a T20 match-winner in either department, Sai Kishore has been stellar for Tamil Nadu in the domestic circuit.
#2 Delhi Capitals
Options: Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, Praveen Dubey, M Siddharth, Lalit Yadav
While the Delhi Capitals may not have a plethora of spinners like the other two teams on this list, they have three world-class options in Ashwin, Mishra and Axar.
The trio complement each other almost perfectly - Axar as the restrictive bowler, Mishra as the wicket-taking option, and Ashwin as a combination of both. Moreover, all three spinners can bowl in the powerplay, and can extract purchase from wickets that don't offer much grip and turn.
Praveen Dubey played a couple of games for DC in IPL 2020, while M Siddharth was the Man of the Match in the final of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. They will both be excellent backups should the need arise. Lalit Yadav, an off-spin option, is still quite far away from a place in the XI.
#1 Kolkata Knight Riders
Options: Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Pawan Negi, Harbhajan Singh, Nitish Rana (part-time)
With their acquisitions of Shakib Al Hasan and Harbhajan Singh in the IPL 2021 auction, the Kolkata Knight Riders have established themselves as the team with the best spin attack in this year's tournament.
Shakib and Narine will fight it out for a place in the side, and KKR can't go wrong by picking either player. Harbhajan lends great experience and versatility with his accurate off-breaks, while Pawan Negi serves as a backup.
Varun Chakravarthy was KKR's leading wicket-taker in IPL 2020 with 17 scalps, and he should go one step further this year if fitness permits. Kuldeep Yadav's form may have tapered off a bit over the last few seasons, but he's still a world-class bowler in his own right.
Overall, KKR have a formidable spin attack for IPL 2021.