Dhanraj lets down his fellow spinners

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Rajindra Dhanraj's unfortunate experience in his first Test of the series has proved a further set-back for West Indian spin bowling.

Dhanraj has waited a long time for such an opportunity. The policy of pure pace blocked his entry into the Test team as it had done for so many others of his ilk. Yet he came into this match the leading wicket-taker on tour with 47 and, if he found the pitch so slow as to negate the effect of his leg-spin, no captain could be expected to put up with the number of boundary balls he delivered. The 21 fours he conceded in the first innings were followed by another five in his brief appearance yesterday afternoon.

He clearly lacks the confidence a spin bowler requires, especially one given so few chances at the highest level. It is now likely that he has played his last Test and just as unlikely that West Indian selectors will be inclined to give others who practise the art a go in the near future.

Dhanraj's failure here is only the most recent instance of several that have befallen spinners trying to break the West Indies' obsession with pace in recent years.

When a teenaged leggie by the now forgotten name of Narendra Hirwani took 16 wickets on debut on a dust-bowl in Madras in 1987 the specialist West Indian spinner of the time, Clyde Butts, could not take one and defeat was the upshot. When, a couple of years later, Allan Border earned 11 wickets with his little-practised left-arm spin in the Sydney Test, Roger Harper, the West Indian standard bearer of spin, also failed to snare a single victim.

These are facts that have stuck firmly in the minds of those who run West Indian cricket and have proved considerable hindrances to those seeking to follow in the tradition of Ramadhin, Valentine and Gibbs when slow bowling was an integral part of the balance of the teams.

Comments