Bangalore: Things have come a long way from the time Twenty20s first came around, and observers concluded that the demise of bowlers - pace and spin, especially spin - was nigh. Just 20 overs, we thought; batsmen will go hammer and tongs and bowlers will have no protection. How wrong we were. Circa September-October 2012, with the ICC World Twenty20 on, it's the bowlers that have been at the centre of strategy meetings, or so it appears.
Most teams, most often, have opened their bowling with the spinners. Sometimes with the main spinner in the team, sometimes with a rank outsider. The 'surprise element'. It's not always worked. But, if nothing else, it's forced the opening batsmen - more used to facing up to the pace bowlers - to go slow, choosing to see the first over out without scampering to push the run-rate to ten or thereabouts.
The spinner-first strategy makes perfect tactical sense. Leave out Dale Steyn and the odd good performance from Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Steven Finn and Ravi Rampaul, and batsmen haven't had much trouble using the pace of the bowlers to get in the race for the longest six (which Marlon Samuels, interestingly, is leading at this stage) or maximum maximums. The shiny white ball, more used to the palms of the big fast men, has fitted in fine when handled by the likes of Samuel Badree or R Ashwin or Daniel Vettori.