It’s hard to look past Tabraiz Shamsi as the best spinner in T20 World Cup: Badree

Former West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree has said that it is hard for him to look past South Africa wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi as the best spinner going into the men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman. He added that Shamsis left-arm angle poses a significant challenge for batters.

“When it comes to the best spinner at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, it’s hard to look past Tabraiz Shamsi. The South African is ranked No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings for a reason and as a left-armer, he poses a significant challenge for batters,” wrote Badree in his column for the ICC on Saturday.

“Left-arm wrist spinners are rare in international cricket – he’s very consistent, can turn the ball both ways and has tremendous control. I saw him recently in the Caribbean when South Africa played the West Indies and he was able to spin webs around the West Indian batters,” observed Badree, who won the T20 World Cup with West Indies in 2012 and 2016.

Badree believes that Shamsi will have a big role to play for South Africa in the tournament. “I see him playing a major role for his team with the ball – he has the ability to bowl in different phases of the game, too, which is important. His captain Temba Bavuma will be able to call on him to deliver at any time in the innings and that’s worth its weight in gold.”

Badree pointed out India’s Ravichandran Ashwin along with Australian duo of Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar to do well in the tournament. “In terms of other spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin is of course there for India. He has that experience; he’s played for quite a long time now. Australia can bowl Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar in tandem and they have done well bowling together in the recent past.”

The 40-year-old expressed his concern over the spin options of West Indies with leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr not at his best. “That said, if there’s one area of the West Indies team that I’m worried about, it’s the spin department. It’s an area of shortcoming for them. They have the one frontline spinner, Hayden Walsh, who had an exceptional home series quite recently. He didn’t have a good Caribbean Premier League and going into this tournament, his form is not the best and his confidence might not be the best. He is quality enough to do well in the tournament, but outside of him, there aren’t any out-and-out spinners.”

“Being able to take wickets throughout the innings is so important. If the power hitters like Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle and Andre Russell can get the team to over 200 runs consistently, that area of deficit can be ignored. But if we don’t score those types of runs, the bowling will be found out and spin bowling in particular. Spin was a big strength of ours when we won the tournament in 2012 and 2016. We had Sunil Narine, Sulieman Benn and myself who could all use the new ball in any game,” concluded Badree.