S. Dinakar

Chennai: As the pitches in the Caribbean begin to feel the effects of wear and tear, spin could play an increasing role in the World Cup Super Eight stage and beyond.

A side like England has an advantage over South Africa since it has a quality left-armer in Monty Panesar. South Africa is without a worthy specialist spinner.

The ball is already `gripping' for the spinners. This suggests stroke-making might not be the easiest of tasks for those with limited footwork, even in the abbreviated form of the game.

And the wrong choice in the use of feet could prove disastrous. M.S. Dhoni committed the folly of playing back to a quicker delivery from Muttiah Muralitharan, which was not lacking in length, and was soon walking back in Port of Spain.

Muralitharan, with his flight, drift, and spin, is arguably the toughest bowler to handle in the middle-overs. Bowlers work in combinations. Muralitharan's delightful variations jell well with Sanath Jayasuriya's flat left-arm variety; Jayasuriya does not allow the batsmen to get under the ball for the big blows.

Disrupting rhythm

Bangladesh, the other sub-continental side in the fray, has a left-arm dominated spin attack. The discipline of the bowlers can have the right-handers, who do not attempt to disrupt rhythm, in shackles.

But this is an attack that could run into serious problems against the left-handers. Off-spinners who can deliver the doosra can operate against both the right and the left-handers. This is precisely why Muralitharan could emerge the bowler of the tournament.

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