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Give the ball the respect it deserves: Rahul Dravid speaks on India's spin debacle

Rahul Dravid laid emphasis on footwork as key to tackling quality spin bowling and said that batsmen have to pay more respect to the slower bowlers. The India A also commented that there was a lack of quality spinners in domestic cricket and that pitches in India were changing from its usual trend of supporting spin.

Rahul Dravid India Cricket
Dravid laid emphasis on footwork as key to tackling quality spin bowling

Former Indian cricketer and present India A coach Rahul Dravid feels that most of the modern batsmen try to dominate spin from the beginning, thus leading to their downfall, IBNLive reported. He also laid emphasis on the importance of footwork as he talked to reporters in the wake of India’s embarrassing loss against Sri Lanka in the first Test match at The Galle. 

India were dismissed for a paltry 112 in their second innings, 63 runs short of the target set by the hosts with all ten wickets falling to the spin bowlers. Rangana Herath picked up seven wickets while Tharindu Kaushal accounted for the remaining three.

Dravid, considered one of the best technically correct batsmen to have ever played the game, felt the batsmen should tweak their approach a little to obtain better results against spin bowling.

"You need to be a bit more patient against spin. People now want to dominate the spinner from the beginning. Sometimes we need to give the ball the respect it deserves, Dravid told The Hindu. 

Playing spin was one of our biggest strengths: Dravid

The Wall as he is fondly called also reflected on how the trends have changed with India’s perceived strength against spin.

"Playing spin was one of our big strengths. What can happen is that when you are with an international team you are not getting to play a lot of spin bowling in matches. Perhaps the pitches in India have changed. The wickets have improved in India. I have played on some absolute turners," he said. 

India’s decision to include Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra on the Sri Lankan tour was seen in some quarters as a lack of quality young spinners in the side and Dravid weighed in the debate by hinting that it could be actually true.

"You still have the odd good spinner in domestic cricket, but the numbers have dipped,” Dravid said. “The top four spinners are good, but we had a lot more spinners in the domestic scene then. Maybe, domestically, our batsmen are not getting exposed to quality spin bowling.”

Footwork or reach is important in playing spin: Dravid

Dravid placed special emphasis on footwork as key to negotiating quality bowling and reflected on how his legendary teammates during his playing career used to do it.

"Good footwork certainly helps, but different players can play spin differently. Even in the team that I played, Laxman for example, would use his feet, but not that much. He had great reach and used the depth of the crease well. He didn't have a sweep shot, but had a great on-drive. Sehwag used his feet against spin a lot more than some of us. Ganguly stepped down to the left-arm spinner whenever he could. It always helps to have a sweep shot," Dravid said.

"Good footwork is being able to pick the length of the ball early, get to it as quickly as possible and get yourself into a good position. Good footwork is really about using the depth of the crease when you need to go back, and getting a good stride forward when you need to go forward. You need to ensure that you are not stuck in the crease." 

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