Daniel Gregory’s weekly column: Slow bowlers have t20 batsmen in a spin

England's Graeme Swann celebrates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Shoaib Malik
England's Graeme Swann celebrates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Shoaib Malik

I was somewhat surprised to see slow bowlers dominating the ICC’s t20 rankings when I had a look over the weekend.

The top six ranked t20 bowlers are in fact spinners of some variation. This surprised me a little bit until I remember that these spinners are put to use after the powerplay overs at the start of an innings and batsmen are more likely to set about the slower stuff than they are a fast bowler sending down a 90mph delivery.

England's Jonny Bairstow

England's Jonny Bairstow

Graeme Swann is the only England player who makes it onto the list, but he is now top of the rankings after last night’s dramatic win against Pakistan to clinch the three-match series.

Behind Swann, the other top t20 bowlers are Ajantha Mendis (SL, 739), Saeed Ajmal (PAK, 723), Nathan McCullum (NZ, 709) and Shahid Afridi (PAK, 705) and Johan Botha (SA, 701).

Watching Swanny bowl in the three t20 matches against Pakistan, it is easy to see why he is top of the rankings.

Any young spin or slow bowler looking to improve their game or pick up some new tricks should watch Swann bowl.

He varies his pace and flight superbly so the batsman often has to play a pre-meditated stroke.

A few weeks back I requested a retweet for my column about the England Test side from Ian Botham, and to my delight Beefy duly obliged.

I had written in the column that Swann is the best spinner in the world.

I then received a barrage of tweets from Pakistan followers claiming that Ajmal is the best spinner around.

Now it may be controversial to say this, but I wouldn’t ever rank Ajmal up there as I firmly believe his action is illegal and he should be banned until he can sort it out.

He gains an unfair advantage, as does Sri Lankan ‘slinger’ Lasinth Malinga.

On another positive note, young Yorkshire wicket-keeper/batsman Jonny Bairstow is showing some superb form with the bat, cementing his place in a young and energetic team, epitomised by their captain Stuart Broad.

I spoke to Jonny at North Marine Road after his century for the England Lions last year and he is a genuinely nice lad who I hope will continue to shine at the top level.