One important reason why India lost the first Test was because of the fitness of their spinners: Sanjay Manjrekar
Ashwin finished as the highest wicket-taker in the first Test with nine wickets under his belt, however, the other two spinners Nadeem and Sundar failed to live up to the expectations.
Updated - Feb 11, 2021 8:44 pm
Former Indian cricketer and renowned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar analyzed the performance of Indian spinners in the first Test of the four-match series against England as the hosts lost the game by a massive 227 runs. Manjrekar believes that the spin attack including Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, and Washington Sundar couldn’t exploit the pitch of the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai as they lacked physical fitness.
Ashwin finished as the highest wicket-taker in the first Test with nine wickets under his belt, however, the other two spinners Nadeem and Sundar failed to live up to the expectations as the former could pick just four wickets while the latter went wicketless.
In his column for the Hindustan Times, Manjrekar reckoned that the Indian spinners lacked physical strength and thus couldn’t exploit the slow-turning Chennai pitch. The veteran believes that the lack of fitness restricted the spinner from making full use of their body.
“For the betterment of Indian cricket, we must accept one hard fact. One important reason why India lost the first Test was because of the fitness of their spinners. When I say fitness, I mean, specifically, physical strength,” Sanjay Manjrekar said.
If I were to coach our spinners, I would just get them to spend hours in the gym: Sanjay Manjrekar
“They must work on getting strength in the fingers and the entire body, so it can be used to get that ultimate effect of being slow in the air and quick off the pitch. If you are not fit and strong, you automatically tend to just use your arms and fingers and not the full body, and this limits your potency on slow turners,” Manjrekar added.
Further, speaking about the preparation for the second Test, Manjrekar opined that the coach should ask all the three spinners to spend their time in the gym as they are equipped with enough talent and just need strength to do wonders against England in the second Test in Chennai.
“If I were to coach our spinners, I would just get them to spend hours in the gym. Skills they have in plenty. All they need are strong bodies to get that ball to fizz off a length on a slow turner so that Joe Root & co would not be able to play comfortably to a ball pitched full-length even on a slow pitch,” Manjrekar concluded.