Dilip Doshi has seen it from both sides of the divide. Being a former India spinner, he knows a little about the oriental art and having been living in England, he knows the English weakness against the turning ball. Being a spinner himself, he knows what it takes to get wickets in India and what Pragyan Ojha and Ravichadran Ashwin should do.
Currently in India, the 64-year-old Doshi looks at the ongoing India-England series with a great deal of interest. He does not declare India as outright favourites but reckons that the home team’s chances depend on the approach of the English batsmen towards the hosts’ spinners.
"India are strong at home, no doubt, but you cannot rule out the English team. In their support staff, they have Andy Flower and Graham Gooch, two of the best players of spin bowling in their time. They can provide the required expertise to the English players. India cannot depend only on spin to win the series," says Doshi, who has played in 33 Tests.
According to him, England batsmen could do well with a positive approach. "They were not positive in the first-innings at Motera. There was a marked change in their approach which has helped them save an innings defeat. If they bat positively, they can make a contest out of the series. But they will have to play two spinners, not one."
As for the Indian spinners, Doshi thinks R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are going through a learning process and would develop into good bowlers. "They are doing well. There is nothing wrong with their bowling. I think it is a learning curve for them. Today (the fourth day of the Test) they did not have too many wickets to show, but it must have been a valuable experience for them. I don’t want to do corridor consultancy by offering them free advice. They will do better with experience."
The only advice he wants to offer is that the spinners should not indulge too much into variations like doosra, teesra and the carom ball. "My belief is that you have to have trust in your stock delivery. Your surprise delivery cannot be your stock delivery. Don’t get too much into the variations."
So what about this Test?
Doshi thinks India should pull it off on Monday. "It is a good situation to be in. I feel India are in a comfortable position to take a 1-0 lead. England have fought back, no doubt, but India should be able to win this Test. The two spinners are bowling well in tandem. "