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Daniel Vettori, the most respected left-arm spinner in the current era, looks back at his career, the role of spinners in all forms of the game, the role of senior players and what he gets to learn from the IPL.
As a senior player himself, TheRoyal Challengers Bangalore skipper has taken on the role of a statesman, guiding youngsters, sharing his knowledge and contributing to every team he plays for. After guiding New Zealand through tough times, Vettori is now helping shape RCB as well. Always a student of the game, Vettori shares how the RCB dugout gains from the presence of Anil Kumble and Muthiah Muralitharan as well. Excerpts from his interview with iplt20.com:
On turning into an effective all-rounder from just a bowler
When I was in school, I batted reasonably up the order. When I came to first-class cricket and international cricket, I was well down the order and probably didn’t take batting as seriously as I would have liked. Then, I got to a stage where my record wasn’t very good and I was little bit embarrassed. So thought of a turnaround and worked really hard on changing my technique a little bit and things came from there.
On whether spinners form a group among themselves
I think so because generally you are the only person in the team who is a spinner. So when you play the opposition, you normally have an affinity with the other spinner there. [In the IPL] these are big squads and there are two or three spinners; there is [KP] Appanna, Syed Mohammed and Abrar Kazi in the RCB team… so, four of us. We get along pretty well and talk about bowling. We like to talk about the ways we can improve and get better.
On how Anil Kumble, Muralitharan and himself influence youngsters in RCB
The respect that Anil and Murali have from the group, because of being such successful and such great ambassadors of the game, that whenever they speak about cricket, you listen. And that’s the best thing. Sometimes the message doesn’t always get across if it doesn’t come from the right source. But when Anil and Murali talk, it makes everyone listen; and generally, it’s spot on. On the impact of spinners on the Twenty20 format
I think that the spin bowlers always had the ability to adapt no matter what format of the game it is. But particularly in Twenty20 cricket, you know that the batsman is going to be aggressive and try and hit a six on a lot of the balls. So, I think bowlers have learnt to read batsmen and [now] have the ability to stop their progression. I think spinners, more than anyone, have been able to do that quickly.
On innovations in Twenty20
I think they are just the same as one-dayers and Test matches […] where people are just looking to change their pace as much as they can. For bowlers like Murali and Amit Mishra, it helps a lot. I think for the left-arm spinners, mixing up the pace as much as you can and trying to keep the batsmen guessing works. On new deliveries that have been developed to restrict batsman
The bowlers work to their strengths. So, someone like Murali has the ability to spin it both ways. For me, it is trying to keep people guessing. The same is with [KP] Appanna. It is for each individual bowler to work it out.
On evolving from a young spinner a senior statesman
As the more experienced you get, you develop into the role [of senior statesman]. The more you play, the more you have the responsibility to help the young guys in the team. The best way you try and do is [to] try and set an example for everyone to follow. And you see that all around the world, with the senior players, most people aspire to be like them.
On spinners who are likely to make a mark
[There are] not as many as there have been in previous years. But I really believe that Syed Mohammad and Appanna here have something that is pretty special and they [could] go on to play for India. There are likes of England’s Monty Panesar, who has done really well for them. But it has been the time of the off-spinner I suppose with the likes of Murali, Harbhajan [Singh], Syed Ajmal and Graeme Swann who have dominated world cricket of late. So hopefully, there is a chance for somebody to come up through the ranks.
On what about the IPL has impressed him the most
I think, just learning how other people do things. When you come to New Zealand, you have a certain way of doing it, but you come here and see how the Indians play the game, the Australians and the South Africans and the Sri Lankans. That’s the thing that I have enjoyed the most. Sometimes, you get sort of stuck or set in your ways, but you come here and you learn a lot.
1 The Rajasthan Royals suffered a defeat for the first time after making 160-plus runs in the first innings of the match.
3 Number of batsmen to aggregate 2,000 runs in the IPL. Sachin Tendulkar joined Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir on this list.
5 Number of times a side has registered a 10-wicket win in IPL. The 163-run target is the highest chased by any side in IPL without losing a wicket. 6 Number of wides sent down by Shaun Tait – the most by any bowler in a match in IPL 2012. In fact, this also equalled the record of most wides bowled by a bowler in an IPL match. Interestingly, Tait has now done this on two occasions. The other occasion was also against the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2010. Shane Harwood and Lasith Malinga are the other bowlers to have sent down six wides in a match, both in IPL 2009. 8 Number of opening pairs used by the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2012 – the most by any side along with the Pune Warriors India. 163 The first wicket unbroken partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith – this is the highest opening stand in the IPL. The pair obliterated the 159-run stand between Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay for the Chennai Super Kings against the Royal Challengers Bangalore last year.