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Murali and Vettori reveal the secrets of bowling in Australia

What kind of spinners will have success at the T20 World Cup in Australia? Ask Muthiah Muralidaran, and he supports wrist spinners – like the tournament’s recently crowned Asia Cup player – Wanindu Hasaranga. Pick Daniel Vettori’s brain and he believes fingerpinners – from the R Ashwin mold – will get more out of those surfaces. However, they both agree on one thing: use the bounce in Australia to your advantage.

Vettori in particular emphasized the art of topspin, as Nathan Lyon has done with great success in Test cricket on these grounds. “In New Zealand and Australia, and to a lesser extent England, it’s all about all the drift and the number of turns you get on the ball,” Vettori said during a media interview in Kolkata. “While on the subcontinent you can let the wicket do a little more work for you.

“And we all know Ashwin is exceptional at that [topspin] of how he bowls in Test matches. The point is he’s finished the back of a great IPL and he’s one of those guys who can adapt very flexibly, who understands what to do in any situation. If he is elected, he knows what to do. He has been to Australia many times before. Among India’s plethora of spinners, most of them are also all-rounders, which is what sets them apart and gives them so much balance.”
Muralidaran, on the other hand, believes that a wrist spinner’s ability to generate more side spin gives them the upper hand. That kind of skill, he thinks, makes someone like Hasaranga – who took nine wickets with an average of 18.88 on the Asian Cup – the one to watch out for.

“In Australia, leg pinners are more likely than finger pinners because you can get a side spin and bouncing will help,” Muralidaran said. “I think Hasaranga will be a difficult opponent to hit because you have to be careful with him. But there are still players who can play [him] good.

“He’s a great T20 bowler. He’s been very successful, that’s why he played for” [Royal Challengers] Bangalore too. He has done great things in the past 2-3 years. He’s a young guy, not old, he’s about 26-27 years old [25 years old]. But I don’t often talk about spin bowling with him. I don’t see him much and Sri Lanka has a spin bowling coach who he needs to talk to about what he wants to improve.”

Sri Lanka, due to their poor T20I ranking at the cut-off time to decide who will get direct entry into the T20 World Cup, have to play the first round of matches to qualify for the Super 12 stage. Although Muralidaran calls it unfortunate, he doesn’t care too much about it.

“We had a young team in recent years. They now have a little experience and played the best cricket in the Asia Cup, they deserved to win,” said Muralidaran. “They are formidable, but unfortunately we have to play play-offs to get into the tournament as we have had some bad games in recent years to make it straight away. At the moment I am confident that we will do well too will do at the World Cup.”

Both Vettori and Muralidaran spoke during a media interaction ahead of the Legends League Cricket tournament which kicks off Friday with an exhibition game between an India XI and a World XI at Eden Gardens. The main competition then starts on Saturday, with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Chris Gayle, Jacques Kallis, Shane Watson, Ross Taylor, Harbhajan Singh, Graeme Swann and Brett Lee, divided into four teams.