I have been reading a lot of reports in Australian newspapers that Stuart MacGill’s injury is a big set back to Australia when they play India this summer. IMHO, it is the exact opposite.
No disrespect to MacGill – he is a great wrist spinner, probably the best in Australia since Warney retired. But the fact is that India have always played spin well. Even the greatest spinner of all time – Shane Warne has struggled against India. His average of 47.18 is in stark contrast to his career average of 25.41. Clearly the Indians play spin well. If you look at MacGill’s stats against India, it is a modest 14 wickets @ 50.78 in 4 tests. Even if McGill played he wouldn’t have been a big threat. Now that he is out of the equation, the other spinners in the scheme of things appear to be an even lesser threat –
- Brad Hogg, who has bowled reasonably well against India in ODI matches but Test cricket is an altogether different game
- Dan Cullen, who bowls off break and has played one test against Bangladesh
- Bryce McGain, the Victorian leggie who is the leading wicket taker among spinners in the domestic tournament this season.
Spin bowling appears to be the weakest link in the Australian bowling attack. The best strategy for Australia would be to play all four fast bowlers – Lee, Tait, Johnson and Clark. Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke can act as relief slow bowlers. Fast bowling is Australia’s strength and they should use it. They should do this even in Sydney and Adelaide where there is chance of turn in the wicket. If MacGill is fully fit, the thought of playing 4 fast bowlers would never arise (except maybe at the WACA), and that is why MacGill’s injury is a bad thing for India and its supporters.