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Thread: Can Ajantha Mendis revive his test career?

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    State Vice-Captain karan316's Avatar
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    Can Ajantha Mendis revive his test career?

    I remember an old thread on CW where people argued that the lack of a potent stock ball led to his downfall. It was also said that the batsmen had started to pick him and there was no mystery left in his bowling. I agree with the fact that the batsmen had started to pick him, but somewhere I don't think that Mendis cannot become a good test level bowler, a lot of spinners go through bad phases in their career and wickets don't come easily.

    Its a bit tough to maintain accuracy with his kind of bowling, but more often than not, he is on target. His performance depends on how accurate he remains more than any other factors that people have highlighted over time. His main weapon is the carrom ball, and its the toughest delivery to execute, especially at the pace at which he bowls it. Mendis becomes ineffective when he doesn't maintain a good accuracy, not because of the batsmen picking him. His early success did not come with mystery alone, it was more because of his immaculate accuracy.

    One thing where Mendis does need to improve is his inability against the left handers. He average 16.97 against the right handers and 50.82 against the left handers, with some experience, he will learn how to use the crease more effectively and try out different angles against the left handers.

    The last time when he made a come back for a test series after some outstanding domestic performances, he played one test and picked 2 wickets in 43 overs on a flat wicket which had nothing for the spinners. Mendis was dropped after that despite of the fact that Rangana Herath, who has been SL's premier spinner since Murali's retirement, bowled 66 overs for 2 wickets in the same match, and even he was ineffective since the pitch was extremely flat. Problem with guys like Mendis is that there is too much hype around them and the moment they do don't do well, people quickly point out that the batsmen are picking him and he is no longer a threat. Comparison with Murali and the tag of a mystery spinner has hurt him more than anything else. He might not be the next Murali, but he can surely end up being a good test level spinner.

    I can relate Mendis to someone like a Kumble, he never gave much flight and relied more on line and length and subtle variations to pick wickets, even he has had phases where he has been ineffective, but he ended up as a world class spinner. I think SL need to be a bit patient with him and give him some space rather than expecting him to replicate the magic he did in the initial phase of his career. He will improve with experience and should definitely get a longer run. It would be ridiculous if a wonderful talent like him gets wasted.
    Last edited by karan316; 07-07-2013 at 01:09 PM.
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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karan316 View Post
    Problem with guys like Mendis is that there is too much hype around them and the moment they do don't do well, people quickly point out that the batsmen are picking him and he is no longer a threat. Comparison with Murali and the tag of a mystery spinner has hurt him more than anything else. He might not be the next Murali, but he can surely end up being a good test level spinner.
    Agree 100%. I think you've hit the nail on the head.
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    International Captain hendrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karan316 View Post

    Its a bit tough to maintain accuracy with his kind of bowling, but more often than not, he is on target. His performance depends on how accurate he remains more than any other factors that people have highlighted over time. His main weapon is the carrom ball, and its the toughest delivery to execute, especially at the pace at which he bowls it. Mendis becomes ineffective when he doesn't maintain a good accuracy, not because of the batsmen picking him. His early success did not come with mystery alone, it was more because of his immaculate accuracy.

    Yup.

    It's probably a stock answer for dropped bowlers, but a county spell might do him some good.

    He doesn't need any new weapons or to change his style of bowling. He just needs confidence in what he does.

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    I certainly hope so. I remember trawling youtube and enjoying his bowling when he 1st came out and did so well.


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    International Captain Maximas's Avatar
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    Mendis is awful, and only succeeds when the pitch is offering him abundant assistance or the batsmen are going really hard at him. he gives the ball no flight and it barely turns, meaning you can just play him from the crease and milk him wherever you want to. In the test match OP mentioned, Mendis was loose and conceded many runs, and his wickets came from poor shots, in reality Herath bowled much better. I don't see how the 'mystery spinner' tag hurt him, it's not like his stock ball is remotely close to being a threat at international level, the fact that batsmen couldn't pick him was the only reason he had success. He is a decent FC bowler, and a good ODI and t20 bowler, but he can't make it at test level.
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    State Vice-Captain karan316's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximas View Post
    Mendis is awful, and only succeeds when the pitch is offering him abundant assistance or the batsmen are going really hard at him. he gives the ball no flight and it barely turns, meaning you can just play him from the crease and milk him wherever you want to. In the test match OP mentioned, Mendis was loose and conceded many runs, and his wickets came from poor shots, in reality Herath bowled much better. I don't see how the 'mystery spinner' tag hurt him, it's not like his stock ball is remotely close to being a threat at international level, the fact that batsmen couldn't pick him was the only reason he had success. He is a decent FC bowler, and a good ODI and t20 bowler, but he can't make it at test level.
    Talking about not flighting the ball and not getting enough turn on wickets that don't help spinners, the same can be said about Ajmal, but he is still effective and one of the leading test spinner at the moment. Flighting the ball is not mandatory, nor do all spinners generate massive spin like Warne or Murali.
    Last edited by karan316; 08-07-2013 at 03:46 AM.

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    International Captain Maximas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karan316 View Post
    Talking about not flighting the ball and not getting enough turn on wickets that don't help spinners, the same can be said about Ajmal, but he is still effective and one of the leading test spinner at the moment. Flighting the ball is not mandatory, nor do all spinners generate massive spin like Warne or Murali.
    Ajmal does flight the ball, Narine as well, they get significant overspin on the ball, plus they vary their pace, Ajmal also has a genuinely difficult to pick doosra. There is no comparison, Mendis runs in and bowls flat wobblers that turn half an inch either way at 90 kmph while Ajmal generates more spin, turn and flight while having a variation that is actually tough to read, like all spinners he is more effective on turning pitches. Saying not everyone needs to flight the ball and spin it hard is ridiculous, bowlers like Doherty have shown that you have to spin the ball hard to succeed at finger-spin at international level.

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    State Vice-Captain karan316's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximas View Post
    Ajmal does flight the ball, Narine as well, they get significant overspin on the ball, plus they vary their pace, Ajmal also has a genuinely difficult to pick doosra. There is no comparison, Mendis runs in and bowls flat wobblers that turn half an inch either way at 90 kmph while Ajmal generates more spin, turn and flight while having a variation that is actually tough to read, like all spinners he is more effective on turning pitches. Saying not everyone needs to flight the ball and spin it hard is ridiculous, bowlers like Doherty have shown that you have to spin the ball hard to succeed at finger-spin at international level.
    Ajmal has himself said that he doesn't like flighting the ball, and Narine bowls over 90 kmph most of the times and bowls a rare flighted delivery to deceive the batsmen. Mendis doesn't bowl flat all the time like a part time spinner, he variates his pace really well.

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    Well Narine hardly has a promising test career. It may well be in need of reviving this time next year
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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Meh. Just a glorified net bowler. Nothing to get excited about.

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    International Captain Maximas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karan316 View Post
    Ajmal has himself said that he doesn't like flighting the ball, and Narine bowls over 90 kmph most of the times and bowls a rare flighted delivery to deceive the batsmen. Mendis doesn't bowl flat all the time like a part time spinner, he variates his pace really well.
    I have no idea where you heard Ajmal say that, he definitely flights it better than Mendis, Narine bowls at the mid-80s most of the time I see him. And even if Mendis does vary his pace, he may as well not, there is no loop in his bowling, he will never beat the batsmen in flight. But whatever, I don't care if you think Mendis is a threat at test level, unless the pitch is turning square I think he's useless.

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    State Vice-Captain karan316's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximas View Post
    I have no idea where you heard Ajmal say that, he definitely flights it better than Mendis, Narine bowls at the mid-80s most of the time I see him. And even if Mendis does vary his pace, he may as well not, there is no loop in his bowling, he will never beat the batsmen in flight. But whatever, I don't care if you think Mendis is a threat at test level, unless the pitch is turning square I think he's useless.

    Most of the things you are posting are all plain assumptions, firstly, Narine bowls at an average speed of around 95kmph most of the time. Here's an article where Trevor Bayliss who was his coach at KKR has said that his accuracy and extra pace has helped him

    IPL news : IPL news: 'Accuracy, extra pace are key to Sunil Narine's success' - Trevor Bayliss | Cricket News | Indian Premier League 2012 | ESPN Cricinfo

    And this is a long video of his bowling, most of his deliveries are around 95 kmph, he rarely bowls below 95 kmph.

    Sunil Narine *PASSIN' LICKS* 11 Wickets @ 14.45 vs. Australia - 5 Match ODI Series 2012 - YouTube

    In fact these guys who rely on such variations should bowl it a bit quicker so that the batsmen doesn't get time to adjust if they misread the delivery.

    And Ajmal doesn't spin it much, he creates different angles and uses the crease well, I have seen him from his debut match where he was just firing it flat from different angles and using the doosra effectively. Later on he started to bowl a few flighted deliveries here and there, but that is just to add variety to his bowling.
    From your comments I really doubt if you have actually seen these guys bowling.


    Talking about lack of spin, Kumble was criticized for it, and even he did well only on turning wickets at the start of his career, but he ended up much better as compared to someone like a Harbhajan who is an orthodox spinner who bowled with flight and extracted enough turn. Again, Kumble's accuracy gave him success along with the subtle variations he had. He did struggle at times, but once he was experienced, he won many games for India. If Kumble would have been dropped after some of the failures he had and the selectors would have given up on him, people would have pointed out that he failed because he didn't flight the ball enough and didn't turn it enough.


    Mendis needs time, if he gets his space, and a captain who would back his abilities, he'll improve into a much better bowler. Spinners need a bit of time to grow, they have to be dealt with a bit of patience. Look at the way the Aussie selectors are being impatient with their spinners, thats the reason why they haven't been able to find a regular spinner in the team since Warne. There was nothing wrong with Hauritz, but he was dropped just because he got thrashed by a team who generally do well against the spinners. Krejza was unique, he could have been useless elsewhere, but could have been a real threat with his kind of bowling on sub continent wickets, but he just played 1 more game after picking 12 wickets in his first game against the Indian team which had guys like Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, Sachin, Dhoni and Ganguly. Next in line is Lyon, won't get surprised if he is treated in the same manner.
    Last edited by karan316; 09-07-2013 at 11:06 AM.

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    International Vice-Captain andruid's Avatar
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    I don't get how y'all are not seeing that you are being trolled
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    International Captain Maximas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andruid View Post
    I don't get how y'all are not seeing that you are being trolled
    Not trolling, honestly believe Mendis is useless, Narine and Ajmal flight the ball, I've seen them bowl, even if it's only occasional flight it's more than Mendis, no matter how slow or fast Mendis bowls, he doesn't flight it, the batsman can sit back and play his straight breaks.

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    Mendis needs a stock ball. That's his biggest issue - leg-break, off-break, cutters, whatever - something he can bowl with consistency and repetition. That's Test bowling. He can bowl how he likes in ODIs and T20s; it's obviously working for him.

    His current style is perfect to counter sloggers but serves as nothing but fodder for players who are content to simply rotate the strike. His variations are fairly toothless in Test cricket unless he's able to work on a batsman for 4-5 balls in succession before deceiving them, which is hard when they've escaped to the other end.

    That's what made Kumble a force - despite his relative lack of revs as a leggie he could keep a batsman at one end long enough to psyche them out.
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