Former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden said that he would have preferred facing Yuzvendra Chahal over Kuldeep Yadav. Hayden, in a conversation with news agency PTI, explained the variety that leg spinners provide in a limited overs match and why finger spinners have fallen out of vogue in the shorter formats. “Leg spinners provide option and variety. In particular, if you look at Kuldeep, his strength is not how far he turns the ball but his strength is how the ball just like Shane Warne’s deliveries arrives at the batsman. It has a distinct curve in the air,” said the former Australian Test opener.
“Chahal is a different bowler. He is a very stump-to-stump. He bowls much flatter and straighter. He doesn’t get the drift. If I was a player, I would prefer facing Chahal because he doesn’t get the drift.”
Hayden said that a restrictive approach is what has cost finger spinners like R Ashwin places in their limited overs sides. “What has happened is that off-spinners have learnt the art to contain batsmen, which had kept them in play for a certain period of time. But now, the players have got used to the flatter trajectory of the off-spinners. Off-spinners have lost the art of being able to get the pace to drop (vary pace),” he said.
He used Nathan Lyon’s second spell in the third ODI as an example. “He struggled in his first spell against the likes of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav but helped in cleaning up the Indian lower order in his second spell towards the end of the match. During his second spell, the speed was like 80-82 kmph compared to 90-92 kmph in the first spell. So that’s a clear drop of 10 kmph. All of a sudden, he looked unplayable,” said Hayden.
He said that a defensive approach does not help all the time in limited overs and over time, off spinners’s tendency to prioritise containing the batsmen over taking wickets has been their downfall. “They have this courage issue where they don’t want to give away runs. In Tests, they become wicket-takers compared to being run-savers. That’s the difference,” he said.
Hayden was also all praise for Ashton Turner, who hit a match-winning knock of 84 off 43 balls against India in the third ODI to level the series 2-2. The 47-year-old is working as a pundit for Star in the series and was seen working with the junior members of the Australian team in the nets, including Turner. But Hayden said that he had little to do with the 26-year-old’s innings. “It’s not my doing,” Hayden said with a lot of modesty. “The boys have worked very hard on their game and that created the change. I have been working more with younger boys like Ashton Turner,”
“The scoring options were much better from the third one-dayer compared to the first two. The first two were truly bowling wickets,” he said. “We Australians, our hands by instincts go towards the on-side because we have bounce to work with on our home pitches. In India, there is not much bounce on offer and if you watch Virat Kohli’s hands, they go straight through the ball while our players tend to come across the ball. It’s a hard habit to get rid of, we are so used to our conditions.”