Team India lacks match-winning spinners: Prasanna

MS Dhoni's men lack a genuine match-winning tweaker, according to former spinner Erapalli Prasanna, who thinks spin as the weakest link of the Indian team.

updated: January 30, 2009 11:23 IST
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New Delhi:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men lack a genuine match-winning tweaker, according to former India spinner Erapalli Prasanna, who reckons spin as the weakest link of the current Indian Test squad.

The 68-year-old veteran feels India's most successful spinner Anil Kumble's retirement has left a vacuum in the Indian team and although offie Harbhajan Singh is the only dependable spinner, he is not consistent enough.

"According to me, the current Indian team does not have any match-winning spinner. Harbhajan Singh is the only bowler but he is not taking as many wickets as expected of him. Plus his absence from the tour of Sri Lanka left the team in doldrums. Spin is the weakest link in the Indian team for Sri Lanka tour," Prasanna said from Bangalore.

"Definitely there is a void after Anil's retirement. Harbhajan is a good bowler but is not among wickets. He could not go to Sri Lanka thus the absence of Kumble is really being felt now," he added.

Prasanna, who played 49 Tests during 1962-1978 taking 189 wickets, feels Team India needs wicket-taking spin bowlers to win Tests on a regular basis and despite a decent show in the recent past, India's bowling combination lacks firepower and consistency.

"Our spin bowlers have performed reasonably well in the recent past. But tailormade pitches also helped them. Real test of their mettle would be on good sporting tracks abroad where you have to maintain consistency and I don't think the current spin combination fits the bill."

"In Test cricket, the overs between 30-80 are the most important. You have to bowl really well and take maximum wickets. Here spinners play a major role and I am afraid that Dhoni's team does not have experienced and effective spin bowlers who can dominate proceedings." Prasanna said.

Prasanna feels a wind of change is blowing across the Indian team with the pacers emerging as 'trumpcards' but reckoned it needs to be backed up by quality spin bowling.

"Pacers have replaced spinners. This is a refreshing change. Especially Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are performing really well. But we must have good spinners as back up to balance the composition as spin has been our traditional strength," he said.

Prasanna also rues the paucity of quality spinners in international arena as well.

"Apart from (Muttiah) Muralitharan I don't find any spinner in world cricket who can win matches on his own. I was quite impressed with Monty Panesar but after England team's tour of India I was forced to change my opinion," he said.