The 2000’s saw the value of the finger spinner dipping especially of those who couldn’t bowl the one that goes the other way on in other words the “doosra”. Ironically, two of the top wicket takers of the world (2009) in Nathan Hauritz and Graeme Swann are traditional off-spinners who both can’t bowl the doosra.
Nathan Hauritz topped the off-spinners charts in the One-day arena and was the third highest wicket taker in ODI’s in 2009. He took 35 wickets in 30 matches at an economy rate of 4.30. A more then acceptable performance considering cricketing experts like boycott made comments like “It wasn’t an off-spinner. Hauritz doesn’t look like he could bowl my mum out, then he gets the best batsman out”.
This was after Hauritz got pietersen sweeping in the first Ashes test match at Cardiff (2009). It took time coming but Hauritz took his first five wicket hall in the Boxing Day test in 2009. He soon followed it with another. Hauritz is the one of those hand-made spinners and not the ready-made machine ones. He has just his stock ball which is his off break and a quicker one in his repertoire. However, Hauritz is big asset lies in his trajectory. He prides himself on his flight and drift. Hauritz remains a fierce competitor.
One of the matches where one got to see this was in the final of Champions league T20. In spite of being hit for six the previous ball; Hauritz still flighted the ball to Big hitting Kieron Pollard who miscued it to long on. The wicket proved to be decisive in determining the champion. Hauritz had won NSW the Champions league. Simon Katich later lauded Hauritz’s efforts and bravery “It was probably the gutsiest thing I’ve ever seen on a cricket field from a spinner after he’s been hit probably 150 meters into the stands. He tossed it up, gave it some air and he got the result”.
Hauritz has truly become an essential member of the Australian unit in all three forms of the game. From a situation of ‘lack of options’ Hauritz has clearly come to a pass of ‘need’.
Graeme Swann, the poms new spin sensation has been no different if not better. He was the highest wicket taker in tests amongst the spinners (2009) and the second highest overall. He grabbed 54 scalps at 27.92 in 12 matches. Graeme Swann’s major rise to fame started in the Windies, but it was not before the Ashes that he began to raise eyebrows.
He too, like Hauritz doesn’t have a doosra, however Swann has a very good ‘slider’ often tough to pick and has accounted for many. Swann like Hauritz made his international debut a while ago but it took the duo time to settle into international cricket. Often the joker in the lot, Swann enjoys the willow in the hand too with a healthy average of 32 in tests.
Clearly, there’s room for the traditionalists and the finger spinners in international cricket.
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