The history of Indian cricket was seen numerous spinners come and go. While some etched their names in the history books with brilliant performances, others quietly faded into the shadows. Similarly, the modern era of the sport has witnessed the rise of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who've pipped the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as India's premier spinners.
While Kuldeep has impressed everyone across formats, Chahal, too, has proved his mettle in limited-overs cricket. But, such has been the competition in the spin bowling department that another spinner Mayank Markande - who has proved his mettle in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and domestic cricket - was handed his debut in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) against Australia in Visakhapatnam.
But, while fans were eager to see Markande in action in international cricket, the inclusion of Krunal Pandya irked former Indian cricketer and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
Just to give you a little perspective on Krunal Pandya as a pure spinner in T20Is.
Kuldeep - Eco- 6.72 Avg -12.97
Chahal - Eco - 7.90 Avg - 19.93
Krunal - Eco - 8.72 Avg -31.40
Krunal weakens India's bowling.#INDvsAUS
Ahead of the clash, Manjrekar took to Twitter and questioned Krunal's inclusion on the basis of his statistics as a pure spinner in the shortest format. Comparing his economy rate and bowling average with Kuldeep and Chahal, Manjrekar went on to claim that Krunal actually weakens India's bowling.
While everyone is entitled to their respective opinions, Manjrekar's analysis of Krunal who has played a comparatively lesser number of games than Kuldeep and Chahal didn't really make sense. More importantly, for a cricket pundit of his repute, slamming an upcoming all-rounder on the basis of a senseless stat, was never going to go down well the fans.
While cricket fans had already begun training their guns at Manjrekar for his analysis, Krunal's bowling performance in the match, a few hours later, further served as a befitting reply for the former Indian cricketer. Making Manjrekar eat his words, Krunal recorded impressive figures of 1-17 in his quota of four overs wherein he didn't concede a single boundary or six.
Let's compare on IPL stage to level the field -
Chahal - Eco. - 7.7 Avg. - 25.2
Kuldeep - Eco. - 8.22 Avg. - 24.51
Krunal - Eco. - 7.12 Avg. - 28.2
No point making unbiased comparison and discrediting the bowlers. pic.twitter.com/bRm2cBxzGm
When compared with the other two spinners, while Krunal recorded an economy rate of 4.25 (second to only Jasprit Bumrah in the match), Chahal and Markande both conceded over 7 runs an over. It's needless to say that in a match, that the Indian bowlers had little to play with, Krunal was almost as effective as Bumrah sans the number of wickets.
That's a very irrational comparison since there's a mammoth of a difference between the matches played by these three-
Chahal - 40
Kuldeep - 18
Krunal - 10
Given more time, there's plenty of scope for Krunal to improve the figures. He's shown his worth time and again with ball!
In fact, Glenn Maxwell - whose 56-run innings paved way for Australia's three-wicket win - also highlighted how difficult it was to face Krunal and Bumrah in the middle. "Krunal and Bumrah were extremely hard to get away. I decided to target other players like Chahal. I was trying to hit another six (on his dismissal), but it was a poor bat swing, I'll make amends in the next game,” Maxwell said after the game.
And he bowled better than the other spinners todayð— Rajkumar (@im_rajkumar_95) February 24, 2019
4 over 17 run and 1 wkt.— KedarHirve (@KedarHirve) February 24, 2019
U gotta give him some time Mister!!
U can't compare him with current top 2 white ball spinners this early!!
Why you've to always eat your own words Sanjay ð¤£ð¤£ð¤£ he was the best tonight after Bumrah— sunit shrivastava (@sunit_utd) February 24, 2019
Krunal is all-rounder . Kuldeep & Chahal are only bowler.— à¤¸à¥à¤à¤¾à¤· à¤¸à¤¾à¤°à¥à¥à¤µà¤¾à¤² ð®ð³ (@subhash_im) February 24, 2019
He is a good fielder and a good batsman. Next you will start giving opinion about sportspersons based purely on their hairstyle.— Simon Robin (@simon_robin) February 24, 2019
Unfair on Krunal. Can't judge him on his stats when the sample size is so small.— Nish Navalkar (@YUVI_NISH) February 25, 2019
Completely irrelevant stats because Krunal obviously doesn't play as a 'pure' spinner. You can't measure allrounder contributions by leaving out half of their skill set.
Secondly, if stats mattered above all else, it makes no sense to back Pant despite his limited overs stats.
Has done more than good job today ð— Masud Asmat (@Masud96) February 24, 2019
You have this habit of targeting an individual every series! R Jadeja was your target down under and now it is Krunal. BTW he has the best economy rate after 15 overs in the innings— Pannkaj Neeraj (@pannkajneeraj) February 24, 2019
He is surely a better cricketer than you— Devansh Desai (@DevanshDesai125) February 25, 2019