Ravichandran Ashwin. (TOI Photo)
CHANDIGARH: Like any other left-arm spinners in the 1970s, Dilip Doshi‘s early cricketing career too was overshadowed by Bishan Singh Bedi who formed the famous quartet with off-spinners Erapalli Prasanna and S Venkataraghavan and leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar.
Left-arm spinners as good as late Rajinder Goel, Rajinder Hans and Padmakar Shivalkar never got to play for India. But unlike them, Dilip Doshi made his debut for India at the age of 32 and went on to play 33 Tests and 15 One Day Internationals for his country.
“Back then selectors were quite pathetic. There were cricketers who became larger than the game, but at the same time, I consider myself lucky to play for India. I was able to play at the level I had always dreamt of and help India win a few games,” said Doshi during an online chat session with the Playwrite Foundation.
“There used to be lobbying, quota system and regionalism and cricket used to be played on a different pitch. Thankfully, over a period of time, selection process became more transparent in India.”
On current Indian spinners
Dilip Doshi believes Ravindra Jadeja is India’s No 1 spinner in all the formats. “I consider him best among the lot. I will play him all the time,” said Doshi.
The former Indian spinner took a dig at off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. He said: “Ashwin’s records are fabulous in Indian conditions, but he needs to decide if he is an off-spinner or not. If he calls himself an off-spinner, he should keep bowling his stock balls.”
On leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, Doshi said: “Look, Kuldeep is a great talent. The more he bowls, the better he will become. About Chahal, I am not sure but there must be something good about him that’s why he is in India’s limited overs team. I will like to see if he is capable of bowling 30 overs in a first-class game.”
On Indian batsmen struggling against spinners
From Moeen Ali to Nathan Lyon, fingers spinners have caused problems to Indian batsmen.
“The emergence of T20 cricket has changed the game completely. I believe every good club cricketer can perform in T20 cricket. For me, Test cricket is a broader canvas. I think it is the lack of application among the modern-day batsmen and that’s the reason they struggle against quality spinners,” said Doshi.
“It hurts me when people call a high-class batsman such Cheteshwar Pujara as ‘too slow.’ I will not drop a guy like Pujara from my ODI team. I will ask him to hold one end and keep on batting till the 50th over and I think he is quite capable of it.”
Advice to young spinners
Young spinners must spin the ball. The essence of spin bowling is in spinning the ball. “I will encourage youngsters to keep tossing the ball and don’t get disheartened of punishment. For batsmen, runs are like supply of oxygen, so just don’t give them the easy runs, try and suffocate them.”
Best batsmen he bowled to
Sir Vivian Richards was the most difficult batsman to bowl to for Doshi. “Although I never played any Test match against West Indies, I bowled a lot against him in county cricket. Then there was Greg Chappell, Graham Gooch, Javed Miandad, Ian Botham and Allan Border, who used to frustrate the bowlers.”
“In India, I would say Sunil Gavaskar was a master batsman, there are not many like him. Gundappa Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Mohinder Amarnath were good too.”