Former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan firmly believes the national team needs a spin-bowling coach, and claimed he is willing to undertake any role given to him by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Sivaramakrishnan pointed out that India's spinners have struggled in limited-overs cricket recently. The renowned commentator added the country doesn't have enough players to succeed Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal, all of whom are getting on in age.
When asked about the spin-bowling resources at the Indian team's disposal, Sivaramakrishnan stated:
"I've been saying this for many years, the Indian team needs a spin-bowling coach. Kuldeep is not even playing for KKR regularly. Chahal had a bad tour of Australia. Jadeja is injured. Ashwin is 30+. Who is waiting in the wings to fill their boots? Who is pushing them for a place? Who is going to help Kuldeep and Chahal?"
The 54-year-old continued by saying that the BCCI needs to recognise the value a spin-bowling coach would bring. Bilateral series in the ODI and Test formats now have points involved in every game, due to the introduction of the World Cup Super League and World Test Championship respectively.
"Teams like Bangladesh and England have spin-bowling coaches, and the BCCI needs to identify this. There are points involved in the ICC World Test Championship, and we need to win at home."
"The fast bowlers are reverse-swinging the ball, and you have a good set of fast bowlers right now. But after Ashwin and Jadeja in Test matches, and Chahal in T20s?"
Sivaramakrishnan emphasized it's crucial for India to identify the next batch of spinners who'll take over from the old guard. He added that Kuldeep Yadav's career must be resuscitated immediately.
The left-arm wrist-spinner, who is one of the only bowlers of his breed in the country, has struggled over the last year. Kuldeep played only 5 games for the Kolkata Knight Riders in this year's Indian Premier League, and had only the wicket of Jaydev Unadkat to show for.
"The reason they're giving 375-380 runs is because of the middle overs, where the spinners are not able to control. I think the emphasis should be on spin-bowling, the revival of Kuldeep must be done at the earliest. You need to find another set of spinners who can come in."
'When we have quality in India, why not hire them?' - Sivaramakrishnan
Sivaramakrishnan highlighted most teams in the world and in the Indian Premier League appoint fast bowlers as their bowling coaches.
Of the 8 teams in IPL 2020, only the Sunrisers Hyderabad had a spinner - Muttiah Muralitharan - serving as their bowling coach (the Kings XI Punjab had the services of head coach Anil Kumble to call upon). S Sriram is involved with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Australian national team as a batting-cum-spin coach.
"India need someone of experience and expertise who can demonstrate and show them. Most teams around the world have fast bowlers as bowling coaches, and all the teams in the IPL as well. A foreign fast bowler coming to the IPL for 2 months is not going to be able to teach anything to a spinner."
Sivaramakrishnan gave the example of the England cricket team, and praised the 2019 World Cup winners for recognising the value of specialisation.
"It's got to be a long process involving a lot of hard work. At the highest level, all teams will look at specialisation. England is one team that does that - they have 15 players and 21 support staff. They take people like Saqlain Mushtaq or Mushtaq Ahmed to coach their spinners."
Sivaramakrishnan threw his hat in the ring for any upcoming posts that the BCCI has in mind.
"When we have quality in India, why not hire them? Whatever capacity the BCCI wants me in, I'm willing to work."
Known for his knowledge of the game and ability to impart wisdom, Sivaramakrishnan will certainly be in the reckoning if the BCCI decides to appoint a spin-bowling coach.
With many youngsters like Ravi Bishnoi, Rahul Chahar and Washington Sundar coming through the ranks, India will need to ensure that their rich legacy of world-class spinners is not lost.
Published 18 Dec 2020, 16:36 IST