Mendis won’t be a threat to Indian batsmen: Vishwanath

July 21st, 2008 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi , July 21 (IANS) Sri Lankan ‘wunderkid’ Ajantha Mendis might be threatening to bamboozle Indian batsmen with his different kinds of deliveries in one over. But former Test batsmen Gundappa Vishwanath felt that Mendis’ won’t be a threat to the Indian batsmen. Mendis, a mysterious finger spinner, shot to fame in the final of the Asia Cup when he single-handedly demolished the Indian batting line-up with a six-wicket haul and guided Sri Lanka to the title. And now when Sri Lanka is preparing for a crucial three-match Test series with India, the build-up has been dominated by a media frenzy over this latest unorthodox bowler.

Citing his personal experience, Vishwanath said: “On my first tour to Australia in 1969, there was a freaky bowler called John Gleeson, who could bowl all kinds of deliveries. There was a hype about him before the tour, but when I faced him, he was just a normal bowler. I used to watch his wrist and played him and in the first Test scored a century.”

Vishwanath said that the Indian batsmen will have to adapt a similar ploy if they want to thwart the Mendis threat.

“I don’t think the Indian batsmen will have a tough time playing Mendis. They will have to just watch his bowling arm and they can play him with ease,” the 59-year-old told reporters at a function organised by the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) here Sunday ahead of a two-week camp.

Vishwananth and former Australian leg-spinner Terry Jenner will conduct the camp at the Feroze Shah Kotla.

The 63-year-old Jenner said that no doubt Mendis is a good spinner but doubted the Sri Lankan’s effectiveness on fast Australian pitches. But the Australian felt that Mendis’ rise at a time when great spinner Shane Warne is retired two others Anil Kumble and Muttiah Muralitharan are about to retire, is good for cricket.

“Mendis is a good bowler but I am doubtful about his success in Australian pitches. His carom ball is not unique, what is unique is his pace. However, his sudden rise in popularity is because of the fact that most of the world’s best spinners have either finished their career or in the twilight. In Mendis people are trying to find a Warne, Kumble or Muralitharan, but by doing so they are putting too much pressure on him,” said Jenner.

The Mendis hype has erupted because of his instant success and unique style. He is neither a wrist spinner nor a traditional off-break bowler, but he can bowl all their different variations using just the tips of his fingers to impart spin. He admits to having five different deliveries, and is working on a sixth in the nets.

And Jenner has some advice for Mendis. “He needs to develop the stop ball which is very essential for leg break bowlers. When I heard that he doesn’t have stop ball, I was amazed. Best bowlers in the world have great stop ball. Murali was one of them. As a coach we need to teach basics not magic deliveries.”

Jenner also said that young Indian leg-spinner Piyush Chawla should not be written off.

“Don’t write off Chawla. He can be the next best thing in the world of spin bowling, but he too lacks variety. His wrong ones are very deceptive but he can’t bowl two to three wrong ones in an over in Test cricket,” said Jenner.

The Australian felt that Chawla needs to develop a good leg break if he wants to be successful in Test cricket.

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