Barnes in this match revealed himself once more as one of the most remarkable bowlers that this country has ever produced. He has a positively wonderful command of the leg break.... His great height makes it difficult for the batsman to follow the flight of the ball. He is useful on every kind of wicket, whereas few bowlers of his pace are able to bowl on a sticky wicket. - JACK HOBBS, 'My Cricket Memories' (1924)
Why is Prasanna so highly rated? Genuine question, don't know that I've ever seen him bowl. He averaged 30.4 compared with Bedi's 28.7 and Chandra's 29.6, bowling in similar situations. Plus Gupte also averaged under 30. Just curious why folk would pick the guy with the highest average over the other two?
Ok, just realised that if you pick Mankad you then get a lefty, a leggie and an offie. Is that pretty much it? For my view, Kumble was enough of a top-spinner almost that any other leggie selected is hardly going to allow the batsmen to become too comfortable with bowlers of a similar style...
The Indian offspinner Erapalli Prasanna was a small, rotund chap, with little hands and stubby fingers. Not the size of hand you'd think would be able to give a cricket ball tremendous purchase.
Pras, as he was affectionately called, bounced up to the wicket and got very side-on. He was short, so he tended to toss the ball up, and he spun it so hard it hummed. Unlike the majority of spinners, he could entice you forward with tantalising flight or force you back, and often got a batsman trapped on the crease. His changes of pace weren't always as subtle as Warne's, but Pras broke the rhythm of batsmen better than any spinner I've seen - especially with that quicker ball, which perplexed the best players of spin bowling in his era.
He possessed a mesmerising quality in that he seemed to have the ball on a string. You'd play forward and find yourself way short of where you expected the ball to pitch. In Madras once, I thought I'd take him on and advanced down the wicket only, to my horror, find that Pras had pulled hard on the "string" and I was miles short of where the ball pitched. I turned, expecting to see Farokh Engineer remove the bails, only to see the ball, having hit a pothole, climb over the keeper's head for four byes.
Pras was one of the few spinners to worry the life out of Ian Chappell, for he could trap him on the crease or lure him forward at will. Doug Walters, on the other hand, played the offspinners better than most - perhaps because his bat came down at an angle and the more you spun it, the more likely it was to hit the middle of his bat.
In 49 Tests Prasanna took 189 wickets at an average of 30.38. For a spinner who played a lot on the turning tracks of India, his average is fairly tall, but Pras was a wicket-taker and he took risks, inviting the batsman to hit him into the outfield. He always believed that if the batsman was taking him on and trying to hit him while he was spinning hard, dipping and curving the ball, he would have the final word.
For his tremendous performances in Australia in 1967-68, I place Prasanna if not above, at least on par with another genius offspinner, the Sri Lankan wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.
Ashley Mallett : Ashley Mallett on the five best spinners he has seen | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo
Last edited by watson; 09-01-2013 at 06:27 AM.
Mankad = tons
Prasanna = 4
Chandra = 4
Bedi = 1
Nissar = 1
Last edited by watson; 09-01-2013 at 06:36 AM.
Something to think about.....
It was a diet by spin for opposition batsmen, and yet there was plenty of variety in the menu to choose from. Bedi was the classical left-arm spinner with a smooth action and fantastic deception; Chandrasekhar was as unorthodox as Bedi was orthodox, bowling sharp topspinners, googlies and legspinners at almost medium pace; Prasanna and Venkataraghavan were both offspinners, but while Prasanna was guileful and crafty, Venkat was accurate and relentless. Together they defined the Indian bowling attack, on turning tracks at home and in seaming conditions abroad.
The overall stats for three of those four spinners are pretty similar: Bedi led in terms of matches played, wickets taken and bowling averages, but Chandrasekhar and Prasanna weren't far behind. Venkat's stats suffered in comparison to the other three - he averaged less than three wickets per Test - but his career economy rate of 2.27 shows he was tough to score off.
Chandrasekhar's average was slightly higher than Bedi's, but his strike rate was easily the best among them all. At his best he was probably the most unplayable of them, and he was the only one among the four who averaged more than four wickets per Test. India didn't win too many overseas Tests during that time, but when they did, Chandrasekhar had a significant role to play in each: in five overseas wins he took six in an innings five times, and averaged 17.14.
Stats from the past: The era of India's spinners | Highlights | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo
India's Erappalli Prasanna, the best spinner I have faced in Test cricket. A tiny man, he was a master of flight. In fact, his small stature probbly gave him an advantage over taller off spinners like Gibbs and Mallett, for 'Pras' alays threw threw the ball high in the air. Most times batsmen expected a juicy half volley or even a full toss as the ball left his hand, but such was his control of flight that the ball always managed to arrive a fraction shorter than the batsman had anticipated.
Prasanna was an attacking spinner, always always giving the batsman the impression that he was out to get their wicket. Most slow bowlers use seven men on the on side whenthey want to keep the runs down but when Prasanna used the same field he would have three men close in catching positions on the leg side. With 'Pras' it was always attack - even in defense.
Ian Chappell in his autobiography Chappelli
Keep it up SJS, really enjoying these teams and I must admit hearing his reasoning for not selecting a player such as Trevor Goddard (who CW generally likes) is fascinating.
Eric Rowan seems like a great selection, but I'm not sure about Athol Rowan. He doesn't scream out 'great player', maybe Heine should have been selected anyway.
Prasanna..no i did not get swayed by the above write-ups on him..
2 f(m)b's, left armer,leg-spinner and an off-spinner wow that's a good attack
Last edited by doesitmatter; 09-01-2013 at 12:43 PM.
The best cricket writing on the Three Musketeers, as Bedi, Chandra and Prasanna have been called, that I have ever come across is from Trevor Bailey in his delightful book The Spinners' Web.
Trevor Bailey writes a very interesting bit in one place. He says he asked Tony Greig who was the best off spinner he ever saw, the best Left arm spinner and the best leg spinner. Tony Greig replied without a moments hesitation, "Prasanna, Bedi and Chandrashekhar". This was written in 1988
Thisis what Bailey wrote of Bishan Bedi.
Among such outstanding spectacles of the game as Ray Lindwall bowling to Hutton, Bedser using the new ball against Bradman, Compton facing Laker on a turner, Sobers attacking Lillee, Holding in full flight against Gavaskar, I would include Bedi weaving his spells against the dancing feet of Ian Chappell, because their duel involved the delicacy of two artists using rapiers, far removed from the brute force required for the two handed sword.
Bedi was slim and slight and both his soft sweet approach and classic action were a joy to behold. . . . Bishen's ability to deceive batsmen by genuine flight stemmed from his skill at being able to disguise the moment when he released the ball in his action. He could push one through, hold one back without the batsman realising until it had left his hand. He also spun the ball sufficiently and sometimes viciously so that his break, like his pace, was varied,
Bishan's bowling philosophy was also similar to that of the great masters of the Golden Age. He believed that his main objective was to dismiss the opposition and, though he detested giving any runs away, and seldom did as a result of lapse in line and length, he was prepared to experiment and to buy a wicket. Nobody, includng Bedi, enjoys being hit for a six, even though he was prepared to give a rueful clap, but he correctly felt that the batsman had taken a greater risk playing that stroke than a defensive shot and, if tempted again, could hole out.
In other words Bedi, except in certain specific circumstances was not simply content to keep the batsman quiet by his accuracy, which captains like Wadekar and Lawry tended to worship. The Indian captain was inclined to shut up the game and rely on defensive field settings too early to suit Bedi. It was this fundamental difference in outlook, which not only led to a bitter row between them during the 1974 tour to England, but also helped to explain why the members of that Indian team failed to play to their full potential.
and then on Chandrashekhar
Not only was Chandrashekhar one of the most exciting bowlers to emerge from India, he was also the most unpredictable, thus making life difficult for his own captain as well as the opposing batsmen. From day to day, nobody knew what to expect. (Sometimes) he could be devastating even on a very good wicket , , , On the other hand there were occasions when he did not look a bowler, let alone one of the most feared operators in the world. This complete transformation had nothing to do with the calibre of the batsmen or the quality of the pitch, which is why he was sometimes described as a "moon-bowler"
At his best with the moon in the right quarters, Chandra had the ability to win a Test virtually with his own bowling.
Chandrashekhar and Doug Wright had much in common. Both were fast leg break bowlers with long straight run-ups, who made their googlies bounce and had high actions. Both had the priceless asset of sometimes producing a perfect ball on a perfect pitch to dismiss a quality batsman when well set. Both sent down rather more long hops and full tosses than is expected for an international bowler, but more than compensated for this by having a very high strike rate. The primary object of both was to take wickets, irrespective of the pitch or the opposition. They were attacking not defensive bowlers.
Although Chandra bowled very well, apart from his last tour in England and Australia, he was, not surprisingly, at his most feared in India, where a combination of close fieldsmen mystified batsmen who were frightened to go down the pitch pitch with any confidence because of his pace through the air.
Tony Greig because of his exceptionally long reach and Boycott because of his technique, played him far better than most England batsmen. Tony realised that Chandra's googly not only turned far more than his leg break, but it was also far more frequent and he , therefore, treated him as an off spinner
Finally on Prasanna
Only an outstanding bowler will take nearly 1000 wickets in the first class game without enjoying the obvious advantages of playing county cricket, with its large fixture list, capture 189 wickets in 49 tests, and is successful in top=level Indian cricket for nearly two decades. Despite these very impressive figures, Erappali Prasanna never quite received the recognition he deserved.
Prasanna was a genuine slow bowler , who just happened to be an off spinner with the ability to think out, as well as to bowl out batsmen. It was this asset that made him a sound, shrewd but unspectacular captain, His style was closer to Ian Johnson and Sonny Ramadhin without a leg cutter than like Jim Laker. Although he used short legs, he relied more on his teasing flight , change of pace and break than his short legs for wickets. He turned the ball sharply so that he was bound to get a modicum of turn on even the very good Test wickets on which he played the majority of his international matches. Although deadly on a turner, he was relatively more effective on a dry one than on a wet one, because he was slow through the air, which combined with his finger spin, explains why he obtained a surprising amount of bounce. A large number of players became Prasanna's victims because he had this knack of making the ball lift just a little higher than expected.
Another reason for having Prasanna in any list of great spinners is provided by his outstanding performance throughout the Indian tour of Autralasia in 1967-68. India failed to win a single first class match and were beaten 4-0 in the Tests . . yet on the losing side in a high scoring series, the little off spinner managed to take 25 wickets and top the bowling averages in addition to being the leading wicket taker in all first class matches.
The Australians themselves rated Prasanna's bowling alongside that of Tayfield, Gibbs and Laker and many felt he spun the ball even more than them, certainly neither of their own wrist spinners, Simpson and Gleeson, were able to turn the ball as much.
In New Zealand, India won the series 3-1. Prasanna was again the leading wicket taker with 24 at 18 apiece..
The best justification, however, for the inclusion of Prasanna in the highest category is the fact that he was more feared by his own countrymen than was Bedi.
Vinoo Mankad and Amar Singh get my votes
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