Cricket: Vox Pop: Why doesn't England produce good spin bowlers any more?

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The Independent Online
It takes a lot longer for spinners to develop on covered wickets, and being so uniform the bowlers aren't learning the subtle varieties that we did on uncovered wickets. The youngsters all want to play first- team cricket so quickly as well and we put pressure on them to do so, when we should really allow them to develop the art. This is where captaincy isn't that great in England. We don't give young spinners the time they need fully to learn the game, the patience and support that is necessary to produce top-quality spinners.

JOHN EMBUREY

Northants director of cricket

RANJIT FERNANDO

Sri Lanka team manager

One of the key reasons is that most of the pitches are not conducive to spin bowling so youngsters haven't been encouraged to try the art. On the sub-continent the sun beats down all day and bakes the wickets but in England there is so much moisture, particularly early season. Also youngsters need a role model to follow. Why would youngsters want to bowl spin in England? Saqlain Mushtaq at Surrey will encourage youngsters to bowl spin, but then they need the good wickets to bowl on.

DERMOT REEVE

Somerset first-team coach

Club cricket in England doesn't encourage youngsters to bowl wrist spin because captains prefer accuracy and rely on seamers or off-spin and youngsters want to bowl and will bowl whatever gets them on. Two-day cricket, as in Australia, allows the craft of spin to be learnt at a young age. This year's wet summer hasn't helped either and a lot of county cricket is now played on relaid wickets which crack and get uneven as the game goes on, so the seamers are preferred to make use of the uneven bounce.

SAQLAIN MUSHTAQ

Pakistan and Surrey spinner

In England the weather is wet, cold and windy, which makes the ball swing and seam, and the wickets tend to be grassy and green. The spinners are not the main bowlers but more of a second thought, and so if England want to develop better spinners they have to prepare more turning wickets. England have two good spinners, but they don't get the wickets to bowl on, and they are often brought on to rest the seamer or when the seamers have failed to take many wickets.

ROBIN SMITH

Hampshire captain

Maybe it's because the overhead conditions are more conducive to the faster bowlers and this encourages youngsters to bowl seam. In my opinion we have a world-class spinner in Phil Tufnell, but I think he has been very badly mistreated as a personality. If he was understood as a character and used properly he would be a top spinner but that hasn't happened. I honestly think that we haven't seen the best from him yet but that we only will if we learn how to treat him as an individual.

DEREK UNDERWOOD

Former England spinner

Spinners aren't bowling enough - 15-20 years ago a spinner could bowl 500-700 overs, but today with covered wickets they don't bowl nearly as much. If they started bare and dry then the spinner would have a chance, but they are left with a good covering of grass - there aren't the number of turning wickets on the county circuit any more. If we had a Shane Warne, youngsters would try to emulate him but the low, slow wickets just don't encourage wrist spin.

INTERVIEWS: IAIN FLETCHER

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