India has a long history of churning out some of the greatest batters, who have won many matches. But when it comes to dominating opponents on home soil, spinners have led the charge.

Indian spinners have been an integral force in dismantling the opposition batting lineups on spin-conducive pitches. Over the years, many spinners have displayed their craft, making batters dance to their tunes.

In this article, we’ll look at the 10 greatest Indian spinners of all time.

1. Anil Kumble

Now, when we talk about spinners, we expect them to extract spin from the surface. But Anil Kumble was different from other leg spinners. 

He relied more on beating the batters with his line, pace, and variations. The method worked wonders for him, grabbing wickets on almost any surface and helping India win numerous matches. 

Kumble had a wonderful stint for India across formats, as he picked up 953 wickets in 401 matches. Moreover, he is one of the few bowlers who have plucked 10 wickets in a Test innings.

2. Ravichandran Ashwin

From playing cricket on Chennai streets to becoming an integral part of the Indian team, Ravichandran Ashwin came a long way. He is one bowler who has great game knowledge and doesn’t shy away from experimenting with new variations.

Ashwin boasts different off-spin variations like off-break, arm ball, and the lethal carrom ball. He’s a master at work who knows how to turn the ball and catch the batsmen off guard.

Since making his debut in 2010, he has made quick strides and picked up 700+ wickets, with over 500 coming in Tests — only the 9th bowler to go past the mark. Apart from being an ace spinner, he is a handy batter, rescuing the team from tricky situations.

3. Harbhajan Singh

Before Ashwin came onto the scene, it was Harbhajan Singh who turned the tides with his off-spin. He partnered with Kumble to rattle the opposition with their lethal combination, driving the opposition out of the contest.

Harbhajan possessed the ability to generate sharp turn and grab wickets by employing different variations. His tactics earned him 707 wickets in 365 matches in all formats, placing him among the top 5 wicket takers for India.

4. Bishan Singh Bedi

Bishan Singh Bedi was a master at fooling batters into committing them to play wrong shots and gifting their wickets. He used to turn the ball, but he deceived the batters by giving the ball more flight, tempting them to have a go at the ball.

Bedi’s cleverness resulted in him garnering 272 scalps, with 266 coming in Tests. His international numbers may seem less, but Bedi had a stellar First-Class career with 1560 wickets to his name.

5. Subhash Gupte

Subhash Gupte was one of the finest leg spinners in his playing days, taking everyone by storm. With precise line and length, he imparted spin from the surface, along with bowling flighted deliveries.

Gupte’s mastery was on display when he bowled deceptive googlies to leave batters in tatters. He represented India in 36 Test matches and took 149 wickets with his leg spin.

Also Read | Different Types of Leg Spin Bowling Variations

6. Bhagwath Chandrasekhar

One wouldn’t have dreamed about taking up a sport after getting infected with polio in childhood. But Bhagwath Chandrasekhar was built differently.

Despite the hindrance, he went on to leave an indelible mark with his proficient leg spin. Chandrasekhar had googly, topspinner, and leg break up his sleeve, which he bowled with a bit of a pace.

In his 58-Test career, he minted 242 wickets, while he took his wicket tally to 1063 in First-Class cricket.

7. Erapalli Prasanna

Erapalli Prasanna was one spinner who outplayed the batters even before the ball came into play. The off-spinner was an astute bowler, with a command over bowling flighted deliveries to trap the batters off guard.

Prasanna was the fastest Indian spinner to take 100 wickets (20 matches) until Ashwin surpassed him by taking 2 matches less than him. Prasanna ended his Test career with 189 wickets in 49 matches.

8. Ravindra Jadeja

Only the 4th Indian bowler to have 500+ wickets across formats, Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm spin took him to places. He has formed a formidable pair with Ravi Ashwin to become India’s most successful bowling pair in the longer format.

Jadeja has a knack for finishing his overs in a snap, just like his bullet throws that rattle the stumps. He is one guy whom every captain would like to have on his side with the plethora of things he offers with bat and ball.

9. Srinivas Venkataraghavan

Srinivas Venkataraghavan was one of the longest-serving cricketers for India, though he got sparse opportunities. His career collided with that of Bedi, Chandrasekhar, and Prasanna, as the 4 of them formed a spin quartet. 

However, Venkataraghavan made the most out of his 57 Test appearances, taking 156 wickets. His bowling accuracy, coupled with his knack for spinning the ball, helped him pick up wickets.

10. Vinoo Mankad

When one talks about Vinoo Mankad, the first thing that pops up is the controversial ‘Mankad Dismissal’. But apart from that, he was a fine left-arm spinner and a proficient opening batter.

Mankad could pick wickets on surfaces that didn’t offer much turn. He varied the pace of the ball, taking 162 wickets in 44 Test matches.

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