4 Wrist-Spinners who are dominating limited-overs cricket in recent times.

Cricket is not just a sport but an emotion that has surpassed all the boundaries and united us as one. The game has undergone tremendous changes to make it more entertaining and viewer-friendly. The new rules bestow undue advantages to the batsmen and have caused disparity in the competition between bat and ball. There is no breathing space for the bowlers as batsmen get lucky and procure the desired result even on a miss-hit. Among the bowlers, it is the spinners who bear the brunt of the assault and disappear for plenty in the allotted quota of overs. Just as the batsmen have upgraded themselves to dominate the current era of the game, the wrist-spinners are making their presence felt when it comes to the limited-overs format.

Their ability to take the ball away from the batsmen is forcing the latter to fetch them from outside and bestow simple catches to the fielders positioned in the deep. That’s how the other variety of spinners have remained relevant and posing some serious threat to the batsmen who are poor at playing spin.

In the below piece, we look at four such wrist spinners who are dominating limited-overs cricket with aplomb:

1. Adam Zampa

The Australian is on the upward journey in his cricketing career and is the preferred spinner in the limited-overs formats. Zampa loves tossing the ball and invites the batsmen into precarious drives against him. His impeccable line and length and ability to extract requisite drift off the surface make him a difficult campaigner to negotiate. No wonder, why the spinner has had the wood over India’s megastar batsman, Kohli!

In 61 ODIs, Zampa has scalped 92 wickets at an average of 32.65 and an economy rate of 5.55. While in 41 T20Is, he has done the damage against 43 batsmen at an average of 22.70 and an economy rate of 6.92.

The numbers are testament to his worth as the no.1 spinner in the white-ball formats. There’s hardly been any series in recent times when Zampa has gone wicketless or failed to leave a mark. Be it bowling on the spin-friendly tracks of India or the seaming tracks of England, Zampa has used his wit to succeed on the geographically distinct surfaces. The skill level is the same, only that it comes with a slight mental adjustment and adaptation.

Considering his rapid growth in international cricket, it shouldn’t be a surprise if he ends as the all-time highest wicket-taker for Australia in limited overs cricket and leads his team to ICC titles which they once flaunted incessantly for a decade or so!

2. Adil Rashid

Flight and dip is what a leg-spinner craves for and Rashid is blessed with the same in plenty. The spinner has become indispensable for England given his variations and knack of picking wickets.

In 106 ODIs, Rashid has picked 155 wickets at an average of 31.70 and an economy rate of 5.6. His performances in the T20 format have been equally impressive having scalped 53 wickets from 55 games at an average of 26.3 and an economy rate of 7.49.

Many highlight the inconsistency and the expensive spells that he bowls, but the England selectors are least bothered by their opinion as long as he keeps getting the breakthroughs. There would be no bowler who could escape punishment that is inflicted by the batsmen. The batters would obviously go hard given the roles they have been assigned and it is upon a bowler’s shrewdness to deceive them and halt their progress.

Rashid might leak a few runs but his aggressive intent towards picking wickets eventually pays him rich dividends and allows the other bowlers to get back in action, dealing a final blow and getting the results in their favour.

3. Rashid Khan

This star Afghan spinner is no lesser than a child prodigy, who has achieved immense success at the tender age of 19. From making his international debut for Afghanistan in all formats to captaining the side, Rashid has seen it all and only the almighty knows where he will finish at the end of his magnificent career.

Rashid has picked 140 wickets from 74 ODIs at an average of 18.6 and an incredible economy rate of 4.18. It is the T20 format that he has set on fire with his mind-boggling performances not only for Afghanistan but for different T20 franchises across the globe. In 49 T20Is, Rashid has dismissed 92 batters at an average of 12.50 and an economy rate of 6.16.

The T20 stalwart uses his googlies as a wicket-taking option and many times, they don’t deviate and go straight at an angle. It’s the premeditation that gets the better of the batsmen who come in the line of the stumps and are adjudged lbw. Rashid’s greatest strength is his quick release and ability to hit the same spot throughout his spell.

It is a common understanding in cricket that batsmen over time and with experience learn to work out a bowler and neutralize his threat. While the saying might hold true for other bowlers, it is an exception in the case of Rashid as the bowler is improving year after year and coming up as a completely new prospect, demolishing opposition lineups.

4. Tabraiz Shamsi

Belonging to the rare breed of left-arm wrist-spin bowlers, Shamsi has eventually cemented his place in the South African limited-overs side. The retirement of Tahir has eased out his international journey, who faced steep competition from the fellow leggie for the premier spinner’s spot.

Shamsi has picked 26 wickets from 22 ODIs at an average of 38.19 and an economy rate of 5.32. In the 28 T20Is that he has played, the spinner has procured 27 wickets at an average of 28.20 and an economy rate of 7.38.

Just like Tahir, Shamsi too likes to celebrate his wickets be it the ‘shoe-call’ or the ‘bus-driver’ celebrations which get the crowd excited and equally involved in the game.

Though the spinner was around for quite a few years, it is now that he is getting consistent chances to perform and make an impact. Considering the competition for spots in the current set-up, Shamsi will look to put his best foot forward every time that he steps on the field and win games for South Africa, who desperately need some to settle the off-field issues and move in the right direction.

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