Sport

Slow bowlers sought for Big Bash League

Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka gestures after a fielding mistake during the 2011 ICC World Cup Final between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Mumbai, India.
Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka gestures after a fielding mistake during the 2011 ICC World Cup Final between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Mumbai, India. Tom Shaw / Getty Images

IT'S the fastest format of the game, but slow bowlers have become the most sought-after commodity ahead of this summer's Big Bash League.

And the best of them all, Sri Lankan superstar Muttiah Muralidaran, who retired from Test cricket in 2010 with a world record 800 victims, will line up with the Melbourne Renegades.

Other teams have also pounced on some of the leading present day spinners, with Adelaide Strikers snapping up the world's No.1 T20 bowler, Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal and defending champions the Sydney Sixers securing the services of star West Indian spinner Sunil Narine.

Murali said spinners had done better than expected in the Twenty20 format, particularly the Indian Premier League, and he hoped that would continue in the BBL.

"It's not easy to hit spin because you vary the pace of the ball. Some players also turn it and have a lot of different deliveries these days so people struggle to read them," he said.

That stats back up the role played by the spin kings, with the top 10 spinners in last season's BBL conceding 6.45 runs per over, compared to the top 10 fast bowlers who conceded 7.11 runs per over.

Of the players who bowled at least 12 overs, the three most economical - Brad Hogg, Stephen O'Keefe and Luke Doran - were all spinners.

While South Australia has a shocking record in the Sheffield Shield in recent seasons, coach Darren Berry said the team had done particularly well in the shorter versions of the game thanks to an emphasis on spin.

"It's no secret that we feel spin is a big part of T20," Berry said.

"'Spin to win' has always been a flavor of mine as coach and with Johan Botha, Nathan Lyon and now Ajmal we believe we have secured three of the best spinners in the world."

The BBL kicks off with a Melbourne derby between the Renegades and Stars, which includes spin king Shane Warne, at Etihad Stadium on December 7.

Topics:  big bash league cricket



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