Why spinners are enjoying a purple patch in cricket

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BEING a spinner is tough. Unlike fast bowlers, who usually occupy three or four berths in the starting 11, spinners generally compete for one spot. Modern batsmen look to slog their loopy 50mph (80kph) deliveries out of the park from the first over. These are far less intimidating than the 90mph missiles that fast bowlers hurl at head height. The sort of pitch that spinners play on has a big influence on their effectiveness—they are useless on early-season grassy tracks in England, on which a turning ball refuses to grip. Sending down plodding balls for hours with no lateral movement to beat the bat can be a wearisome task.

Yet spinners are currently enjoying a prolonged purple patch. Over the past five years they have taken 40.5% of wickets in five-day Test matches, their highest share for more than 40 years. The percentage of batsmen that they dismiss in shorter one-day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 internationals (T20s) is hovering in the mid-30s, having languished near 10% when those formats were first introduced, in the 1970s and…Continue reading

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