Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: Will wrist spin win the World Cup?

Opinion: Will wrist spin win the World Cup?

Will wrist spin win the World Cup?Since the last World Cup in 2015, four of the top six ODI wicket-takers have been wrist spinners - and each of them are well-placed to be influential in the 2019 tournament.

Adil Rashid of England leads that wicket-taking list with 125 scalps in 78 ODIs, followed by Rashid Khan of Afghanistan. The Proteas' Imran Tahir is fifth, while India's Kuldeep Yadav is sixth.

Adil's exile from the Test team has led him to hone his white-ball skills - and he is a vital member of an England side that will have to cope with the tag of favourites at the 2019 World Cup.

Every team in world cricket has sought their own wrist-spinning option, deployed to get their skipper those critical middle-over wickets that can turn an ODI contest on its head. The role has been pioneered in some ways by Tahir, but arguably the best of the bunch is Afghanistan's Khan.

Afghanistan start the tournament as rank outsiders but the leg-spinner, who bowls more googlies than leg-breaks, could give the fledgeling full member of the International Cricket Council the ability to surprise some of the big boys.

India's Kuldeep operates alongside leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in a spin pairing that is the envy of world cricket. The left-arm wrist spinner has been the cause of big challenges for opposition batsmen - and he is one of the hardest bowlers in world cricket for batsmen to pick.

The potential spanner in the works for the wrist spinners could be the pitches in England and Wales, which are expected to be prepared with high-scoring contests in mind. Curators will operate under the instructions of the ICC, rather than their home board, for the duration of the tournament.

A willingness to attack a wrist spinner has been many batsmen's downfall through the years, though, and men like Tahir and Rashid have shown a willingness to get taken for a few in the name of making a breakthrough.

The best in the spinning game can have an impact on the contest even when the surface isn't playing along. A good wrist spinner could be the key to unlocking the door to World Cup success - and all the top teams will bring at least one to the party.

It would be a surprise if Adam Zampa wasn't picked in Australia's squad, while New Zealand have already named leg-spinner Ish Sodhi in their 15-man squad. The Proteas should take Tahir to a World Cup that will be his ODI swansong along with left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

Pakistan get a little extra mileage out of Shadab Khan, who has grown into a useful lower-order batsman as well as being a great leg-spinner.

Sri Lanka's mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya deploys some wrist-spin variations and is among the spinners pioneering a new approach to slow bowling. India Test stalwart Ravichandran Ashwin has even added a leg-break to his repertoire.

In an environment that is expected to favour batsmen, world-class leg-spinners could be the edge a team needs to propel them to the World Cup trophy.

Written by @JonhenryWilson

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