KOLKATA: In six ODIs during the 2018 tour of South Africa, Indian spinners snared 33 wickets with an economy of 4.83. This time they took just three wickets across three matches with an overall economy of 5.51. South Africa and New Zealand traditionally offer the most challenging conditions to spinners in all formats but the numbers from this series are not new—they are just the latest in a series that show a steady decline of Indian spinners even as the team seeks to find and shape the combinations that can ideally serve them in both the T20 World Cup in Australia this year and the ODI World Cup at home in 2023.
Look back to 2019 for a possible first, and startling, sign of this decline. In an ODI against West Indies right after the World Cup, defending 287, the Indian spinners sent down 198 deliveries without a wicketthe highest such ratio for an ODI in India-at that bastion of spin, the Chepauk in Chennai.
The best performance from Indian spinners outside Asia in the last ten years came at the 2013 Champions Trophy in England where they averaged 4.28 per over and took 20 wickets at an excellent strike rate of 27.3.
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