Accuracy and consistency are my strengths: Badree

Leg-spinner speaks about bowling in T20 and being part of CSK

Delhi 05 May 2014
World No.1 in the ICC T20 Bowler rankings, Samuel Badree is one of the leg-spinners who doesn’t rely on flight and is comfortable bowling with the new ball. Inducted into the Chennai Super Kings side ahead of Pepsi Indian Premier League 2014, he is hoping to showcase his skills in the tournament.

He believes that a leg-spinner is an attacking option and can get wickets. He can also help dry up the flow of runs. Although he didn’t elaborate on the weapons in his arsenal, rest assured he has a few up his sleeve to get the job done.

While waiting for an opportunity to take the field, Badree has been busy working on his skills and learning from his teammates. Bowling to the likes of MS Dhoni in the nets helps him explore and work on options when he gets to bowl to similar batsmen. He is impressed with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s ability to remain unfazed and stick to his plans. While speaking to, he said, “He is not fazed by anyone. I think that goes to show his confidence in his abilities and his belief in himself. I have learnt a lot from that.”

Badree, who argues that leg-spin is a not a dying art, spoke about his craft and his role in the team ahead of CSK’s match against the Delhi Daredevils on May 5.

Excerpts from his interview:

How do you see leg-spin in T20 cricket? Do you get encouraged by watching the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Pravin Tambe succeed in the tournament?

Leg-spin has its role in T20 cricket. Those guys have variety – leg-spinner, top-spinner and googly as well. These guys are attacking bowlers, and in Twenty20 cricket, getting wickets is important. As long as you have guys who can get you wickets, you are in a good position.

What is your strength?

My strength is accuracy and consistency; trying to bowl as many dot balls as possible and keeping the batsmen under pressure. Making the batsmen play outside their comfort zone and having them come at the opposition team. Like I said, I am accurate, I am reasonably successful within the powerplay overs and that has been my strength throughout the years.

How has bowling at the likes of MS Dhoni in the nets helped you?

It lets you try different things. When you come in to bowl in a situation like that (against batsmen like that), you can explore different options. They have been wonderful in terms of giving me experience, letting me know what type of field to set against different batsmen, so it has been wonderful playing with those guys so far.

What is your stock delivery?

My stock delivery is my leg-spin. I bowl a lot of top-spinners as well as ones that skid. I have a few deliveries up my arsenal and I bowl according to the situation depending on who is batting.

Does seeing Pravin Tambe succeed and Shahbaz Nadeem got some turn at the Ferozeshah Kotla give you confidence?

Yes. These guys are a bit different from me. They probably bowl when the ball is a bit older. I normally bowl up front with the new ball, so that’s a bit different. So to compare myself with them would not be quite accurate. The pitch here seems to be dry, but the outfield is small. So taking all things into consideration, we have a good balanced team as well. So you never know.

Flight is a key aspect for leg-spin and it can get you a wicket but it can also cost you runs. How do work on using it?

What you bowl depends on the stage of the game. If the team requires wickets, then you obviously try to do that. If it is a situation where you need dot balls to create pressure, you bowl accordingly. It depends on the situation of the game as well. If you are bowling in the powerplay, it is difficult to give the ball a lot of flight because then you have only two men outside the circle. So it depends on the situation of the game – when you are bowling and who you are bowling to.

What do you usually try – taking wickets or restricting the batsmen?

It is important that you get wickets all the way through. It’s a bit of both. It depends on whether you are bowling first or defending a total.

Within CSK there are top of the line bowlers like off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and part-timers like Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina. What is your role?

Obviously, if I am given the opportunity, it will be up front with the new ball within the powerplay, trying to get early wickets. If not, at best, minimise the amount of runs that are scored in the powerplay. That will be my role essentially.

What are the attributes that you will take from Ashwin and Sunil Narine?

I have learnt a lot from Ashwin. He is a smart guy. He assesses the situation quickly. He assesses the batsman’s strengths and sets aggressive fields to him. He is not fazed by any situation. So no matter who is batting, he has his plan and he works accordingly. He is not fazed by anyone. I think that goes to show his confidence in his abilities and his belief in himself. I have learnt a lot from that.

Sunil Narine has always been consistent. He is a mystery spinner. His reputation precedes him. So a lot of guys are afraid of him and that works in his favour. Other guys don’t try to take him on and rightly so because he is an exceptional bowler.

How do you see yourself with a variety of mystery spinners coming into the fray now?

You have to keep evolving in Twenty20 cricket. You can’t be predictable otherwise batsmen are going to come after you. You need to keep working on your game and try to develop new strategies and techniques. There is also a bit of luck involved. Sometimes you bowl a good ball and it goes for four and you bowl a bad ball and get a wicket. There are a lot of dynamics involved. You have to keep working on your game.

Do you believe leg-spin is a dying art?

I don’t really think so. We have bowlers like Amit Mishra and Chahal from RCB, who has the best economy rate in the tournament so far. I do think there is a role for leg-spin in any format. It is an attacking option; these guys get you wickets and that’s very important in Twenty20 cricket.

How much do you enjoy bowling on Indian pitches?

It is good. They are helpful to the spinners. Whenever I get the opportunity, I relish it.
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