It’s all about wrist spin at the moment in limited overs cricket. Finger spinners have been all but booted out of white-ball cricket with only those who bat well remaining in the picture.
Having said that, just because you bowl wrist spin doesn’t mean you will succeed. Like any other trade, you need to be good at what you do and wrist spin is one of the harder arts to master.
Which is why getting two young and quality wrist spinners is like striking gold. India have two established and vastly different wrist spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Both have become integral members of India’s white-ball teams and will continue to make an impact for a long time to come.
Sri Lanka are not far behind. The country that produced the original mystery spinner – Ajantha Mendis – now has two wrist spinners who can lead the new age in the country’s spin department.
Right arm spinner Akila Dananjaya is a phenomenon. “He is made of steel,” Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said after the right arm spinner picked up 6-29 in the fifth ODI against South Africa that secured a 178-run win in Colombo.
Dananjaya had been smashed for 81 runs as the Proteas took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match series. After the Test series win, it was a setback for the hosts.
Dananjaya didn’t get flustered even when he went for 10 an over in three overs in the next ODI, which Sri Lanka won. The Proteas are always susceptible to quality wrist spin and the 24-year-old proved that in the final match of the series.
“Akila knows what he’s doing with the ball. It’s hard to take on someone like this when he has so many variations up his sleeve,” South Africa captain Quiton de Kock said of his six-for. “We have batted well against him in this series, but today he bowled really well.”
And that is what quality wrist spin is all about. You think you have it figured out but someone like Dananjaya bowls classic off-spin, leg spin and googlies with almost the same action. You are going to struggle against him.
Last year, bowling in just his third ODI, Dananjaya picked up 6-54 against India and even though he still ended up on the losing side, the spinner had embarrassed top class batsmen like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma.
His action is deceptive, plus he bowls with a full sleeve, meaning batsmen have very little chance of picking him with certainty if he gets the line and dip going. In 24 ODIs, he already has two six-wicket hauls.
The other spinner who has emerged for Sri Lanka is Lakshan Sandakan. A more classic left-arm wrist spinners, Sandakan picked up three wickets in one over in the one-off T20 against the Proteas which the hosts won.
Left arm wrist spinners are the ‘It’ boys and Sri Lanka can afford to invest as much time as they want to polish Sandakan.
However, it is Dananjaya who offers the most, not only with his variations but with the bat as well. As you can guess, he is an obdurate batsman as well with one ODI fifty. He promises to be the complete package that can carry the country’s spin burden.
Back at his home in Lahore, Sarfraz celebrated the special day by cutting a cake in the presence of his friends and family.
In a video posted later on Twitter by his wife, the Pakistan skipper could be seen cutting a green and white coloured cake while holding his young son in his arms.
Celebrating Independence Day at home PAKISTAN ZINDABAD 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/255teHUrMu— Khushbakht A Shah (@KhushSarfaraz) August 14, 2018
Elsewhere, pacer Rumman Raees shared a short video of himself wishing his countrymen a happy Independence Day.
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan took to Twitter as well to celebrate the joyous occasion as he shared a picture of his family dressed in Pakistan’s traditional colours.
Pacer Hasan Ali was also seen cutting a Pakistan-themed cake in the presence of his well-wishers.
Pakistan veteran Shoaib Malik also expressed his Independence Day wishes for his countrymen on Twitter while former all-rounder Shahid Afridi greeted the masses by sharing images of his daughter celebrating the special occasion.
On Wednesday, it was the turn of neighbours India to celebrate their Independence Day. While cricketing ties between the two arch-rivals have come to a standstill, there is no shortage of bonhomie between the players.
Afridi took to Twitter to wish his Indian counterparts, writing, “Happy Independence Day to India, our neighbors across the border. I sincerely hope that from this year onwards, both Pakistan and India work towards resolving their issues for a better, peaceful and prosperous region where India Pak cricket matches can also be frequently held.”
Happy Independence Day to #India, our neighbors across the border. I sincerely hope that from this year onwards, both Pakistan and India work towards resolving their issues for a better, peaceful and prosperous region where India Pak cricket matches can also be frequently held.— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) August 15, 2018
His sentiments were echoed by Malik, who is married to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza. Malik wrote: “Wishing Indians all over the globe (specially the one at home) a very Happy Independence Day India.”
The team is currently locked in a battle with England in the five-match series and are preparing for the third Test at Trent Bridge which gets underway on Saturday.
As India celebrated its 72nd Independence day, Kohli and Shastri unfurled the tricolour at the Taj London on Wednesday.
In a video shared by the BCCI on Twitter, the captain and coach can be seen hoisting the Indian flag in the presence on the rest of the team and support staff.
MUST WATCH: On Independence Day, members of #TeamIndia came together to honour the tricolour in England. What a proud moment this #HappyIndependenceDay 🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳 #IndependenceDayIndia— BCCI (@BCCI) August 15, 2018
Full Video Link---> https://t.co/MBEx1zhR6K pic.twitter.com/LWhooUwORO
The celebrations took place at the team hotel in London on Wednesday morning with the squad departing to Nottingham for the third Test later in the day.
The likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah could be seen posing with the hoisted flag as they took to social media to wish all countrymen on the special day.
India currently trail England by 2-0 in the series after tasting a 31-run defeat at Edgbaston before being humbled by an innings and 159 runs at Lord’s.
They will be hoping to make a much greater fist of it at Trent Bridge after their batting failures in the two Tests so far, where only skipper Kohli was able to put in a decent performance among the team’s specialist batsmen.