Neglecting Spin

New Zealand cricket is on top of the world at present with the Black Caps reigning test champions and runners-up in both the 50-over one-day and T20 World Cup grand finals. 

Playing depth in most areas is good and the future looks bright, but nothing of course is ever perfect and former Canterbury cricket player and coach Garry MacDonald is concerned that spin bowling in New Zealand is being badly neglected and has been for some time.
 

That may sound a big call after Ajaz Patel’s brilliant 10-wicket haul in an innings against India ,but as MacDonald said, Patel probably wouldn’t be in the 11 when the next test is played in New Zealand.

As a left-arm spinner himself, MacDonald was brought up on flat hard pitches at Horton Park in Blenheim back in the 1970s-80s when that pitch was regarded as arguably the best batting surface in the country
 

Very rarely conducive to spin bowling in that the ball did not generally spin, MacDonald said he had to adapt and find other ways to deceive batsman which he did with good success.

In this revealing and extremely insightful interview with absolutelyfamous, MacDonald believes a spinner should be picked in every test no matter what the conditions because they offer a point of difference. Just because it might be a green top as New Zealand pitches generally are, doesn’t mean spinners can’t be successful, he said.
 

Obviously they have to be good enough but he doesn’t believe they are getting enough opportunities to develop into top class performers.

 He said Australia never would have considered leaving Shane Warne out of their test team no matter what the conditions and the same applies now with Nathan Lyon, both these great players successful in all conditions.

MacDonald believes a spinner should be picked in every test no matter what the conditions because they offer a point of difference. Just because it might be a green top as New Zealand pitches generally are, doesn’t mean spinners can’t be successful, he said.

MacDonald said there was so much young spin bowling talent in New Zealand and he reckons young kids all around the country will be inspired to bowl spin on the back of Patel’s brilliant performance.

MacDonald has coached the Nelson College first 11 for many years and said he’s seen young spin bowlers there and in his home town of birth Blenheim with a lot of potential, but they need encouraging, coaching and hope that they can crack the test team one day in the future.

The former Canterbury coach used to be employed by New Zealand cricket to travel the country coaching not only spin bowlers but coaches into how to mentor spin bowlers but that does not happen now. He questions why the Black Caps have a fast bowling coach and not a spin bowling coach.

A cracking interview this from a man not afraid to express his views in forthright fashion and a highly respected cricket brain around the New Zealand cricket scene.

Check out John Alexanders video interview with Gary below.

Listen to this fantastic interview with former Canterbury player and coach Garry MacDonald. His strong views are particularly relevant given the shock omission of history making left-arm spinner Ajax Patel from the New Zealand test squad named today. Patel recently became just the third bowler in the history of test cricket to take 10 wickets in an innings.

Interview & Words by John Alexander | Header Image taken by Tony Stretch. Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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