Cricket Web Staff Member
To avoid overtly swamping the Feedback thread, and to in-keep with the line both myself and Matt wish to draw under the subject...FaaipDeOiad said:I haven't seen Panesar bowl, but you'd have to be a complete fool to think that Giles (for example) is a particularly attacking bowler. The fact is, however much you might like to pretend that every fingerspinner is the same, there are different ways for them to bowl, and some are more aggressive than others. Just like Shaun Tait is a more attacking bowler than Stuart Clark, there are fingerspinners - like say Dan Cullen or Harbhajan Singh - who are much more aggressive and more focused on wicket taking than Giles is.
Giles usually bowls a negative line with a fairly defensive field. This is mostly because his role in the team is largely to contain and give the seamers a rest (unless the pitch is taking turn). Even when he is given more room to attack, he never goes around the wicket (generally considered one of the key attacking moves for a left-arm fingerspinner) like someone like Dan Vettori does. His trade is to pitch the ball outside the right-hander's leg stump and turn it across them, basically frustrating them and waiting for a mistake. This is not a particularly attacking mindset compared to that of other fingerspinners.
And in fact, to offer an Australian example to go along with Panesar, there is a reason that virtually every commentator who has discussed him so far in his domestic career has referred to Dan Cullen as an "aggressive" or "attacking" off-spinner. And I assure you that it's not because he's asian.
edit: having spotted the line, I will now shut up and wait for someone to make a thread on the subject.
Of course there are different ways to bowl fingerspin.
However, to simply stereotype one bowler as "he's attacking"; "he's defensive" is IMO utterly stupid, frankly. The best bowlers are capable of attacking and defending at the same time.
Quite simply - it just isn't possible to use fingerspin as an attacking option on the majority of non-subcontinental pitches. The ball doesn't turn - a spinner is not an attacking option. Fingerspinners can't turn the ball other than on especially dry pitches - referred to most simply as "turners".
To take the example of Daniel Cullen - if he's such an attacking bowler, he should have a good strike-rate and a high economy-rate. Yet that's not the case. Cullen took plenty of wickets last season, but has not done so this season. There's a reason for this. Fingerspinners very rarely find anything in the pitches in Australia. Plenty of bowlers, too, have a good\semi-decent 1st season, and people assume they'll get better. Richard Dawson is an English example of this, and I fully expect Cullen to fall into the same category.
Just because Ashley Giles has been forced to be primarily deployed as a defensive bowler, because of the fact that it's been pretty rare in his career for England to play on turning pitches, Giles gets the reputation "defensive bowler". This, as is demonstrated by his record on turning pitches, is quite a silly stereotype. Giles has demonstrated plenty, when he's played on turning pitches, that he's very capable of both keeping the runs down and taking wickets.
A lot of the Giles stereotype dates to that Bangalore Test, played on a seaming pitch under heaving skies. Yet the stupid irony of that is that this "negativity" didn't work. Tendulkar, the prime target, scored 90, and Giles took 1 for 74. In the previous Test, at Ahmedabad, Giles was able to attack, because the pitch turned, and he took 5 for 67 in the first-innings. To say Giles "never goes around the wicket" is again rather naive. In Pakistan 2000\01 and Sri Lanka 2000\01, Giles bowled around-the-wicket plenty, and reaped the rewards. Since Bangalore he's done it less often, but again - why does he need to? As he showed in the middle 3 Tests in 2004, he's still perfectly capable of bowling in an attacking vein from over-the-wicket.
There's only 1 occasion where I'd really criticise Giles for bowling over-the-wicket, and that's the second-innings of that Ahmedabad game I just mentioned. IMO England could have won that game if Giles had bowled round-the-wicket more on the final day. Despite this, I would criticise the selectors many times for picking him when it was clear the pitch was going to render him useless.
"Frustrating batsmen" simply doesn't work. Not for fingerspinners, certainly. If the pitch isn't offering turn, they can just advance down the wicket and smash the ball out of the park. No amount of "defensive" or "attacking" bowling can stop this.
With the case of Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, I can see him becoming a very formidable bowler at his home ground, because Wantage Road, Northampton has long been the most spin-friendly ground in the country. Unlike some people, I like it that way - for me, that's what cricket's all about and if you lose the spin-friendly venues the game becomes much more boring than if you keep them. Equally, I can see him doing very well whenever he plays a Test on a turning pitch.
But the reality is, that's not going to happen very often. And England fans hoping and expecting him to be some sort of saviour, being capable of doing things English spinners have not been able to do since 1973, are sadly mistaken. And, I can tell you now, they will be disappointed. Because if Panesar plays in England and we get typical conditions (ie extremely flat pitches) he won't cause many good batsmen many problems.
Because fingerspin can only be an "attacking" option when the pitch allows it to. No-one and nothing can change that.
And, frankly, with the seam-attack England look like having, with Hoggard having seemingly learned to bowl reverse-swing as well as conventional, we don't really need spinners on non-turning tracks.