March 2009
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Jrod: Australian batsmen – learn to spin

March 23rd, 2009 by Jrod in Test cricket

Say what you want about Bryce McGain’s Test debut, but few people will forget it. That is what happens when you are a 36-year-old making your debut, forget how to bowl and go at over eight runs an over. People find those sorts of things hard to forget.

Not only has Bryce put his career in a terminal position (by that I mean six feet under), he may have sounded the death-knell for the next generation of spinners.

Australia has been rotating through spinners like Mark Nicholas does superlatives. Bryce is the best performed at state level, by some margin, so his colossal thrashing doesn’t say much for the boys behind him.

People like Terry Jenner, Brydon Coverdale and, well, me, will tell people that in state cricket Bryce never loses control like that, that his length has military precision and that he is the best slow bowler in Australia.

That is all dandy, but this was a man having a monumental case of the yips. When I interviewed Bryce for this very publication he said, “It doesn’t matter how hard they come at me, I wont forget how to bowl”.

He did forget how to bowl, he lost all faith in himself, he lost the ability to trust his basic motor skills and he may have lost a career.

When he made that quote he was talking about Sehwag, Tendulkar and VVS – three men that can take down any spinner. He was not talking about Ashwell Prince, Jacques Kallis and AB DeVilliers.

Ricky Ponting had pretty much no faith in spinners before this event, so Bryce may have poured some kerosene onto that.

He was the last card – there is no one left – and Australia are already looking at basing their attack around the boring cornerstone of four pacemen and part-time spinners.

There was a time when Australians would throw the ball to a spinner as an attacking option. That time has passed.

Now my advice to any young Australian batsman would be simple: learn to spin.

Jrod is an Australian cricket blogger. His site won last July’s Best of Blogs in TWC

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