Melbourne, Dec 23: Former Australia spinner Brad Hogg feels that the absence of an attacking spin bowler in the Indian side is hurting the visiting team's chances in the ongoing four-Test series against Australia.
Hogg said lack of quality in India's spin department is probably one of the key reasons why Australia have only been bowled out once in the last four innings. While Nathan Lyon has taken 17 wickets in four innings, Indian spinners have been able to account for only six in three innings.
"Bowling spin in Australia isn't easy at all," opined Hogg. "Most spinners have pretty high averages here and it is only recently that Nathan Lyon has really come into his own. He is someone who used the bounce in pitches here to his benefit and that is something Indian spinners are perhaps not used to given how pitches back home behave," he pointed out.
At Adelaide, debutant leg-spinner Karn Sharma was chosen ahead of both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja under Virat Kohli's leadership, while at Brisbane, Dhoni thought differently and brought back Ashwin into the playing XI, benching Sharma after only one Test. Although Ashwin performed well initially in Brisbane, the off-spinner was smacked later on by the tail-enders.
"The Indian spinners haven't made it easy on themselves in terms of selection. Ashwin and Jadeja haven't done themselves any favours and they haven't bowled well in overseas Test cricket off-late. They haven't played as much cricket in foreign conditions as they would have liked but even in those few chances, they haven't been too impressive.
"It is in that light Karn Sharma came into the picture at Adelaide and you could understand that decision as an attacking choice. He bowled decently well for his first Test, on a tough wicket, but the gap from limited-overs to five-day cricket has obviously been too big for him," Hogg said.
With Jadeja being ruled out due to a shoulder injury, left-arm spinner Axar Patel now joins the Indian squad Down Under and it will be interesting to see if Dhoni will opt for a surprise selection for the Boxing day Test.