Leg spinners are a rare breed in New Zealand Cricket. It would take most of us a very long time to recollect who was the last leg spinner to play for New Zealand! I have definitely given up and the only way I can is through googling.
Well there was a leg spinner who made his debut yesterday at the Cobham Oval in Whangarei against minnows Zimbabwe by the name - Taurn Nethula. Prior to this Nethula lad, the last leggie to play for Zimbabwe is Brooke Walker. Now I certainly heard of this name and this Brooke Walker was a thin leg spinner who also was the Captain of Auckland. But with just 5 Tests and 11 ODIs between 2000 and 2002, one can easily forget about this name - Brooke Walker. Hope the same doesn’t happen to Tarun Nethulla, the new rare leg spinner in New Zealand Cricket.
What excites me and prompts me to write this piece on Cricwaves.com is not that the 28-year-old Tarun Nethula bowls leg breaks but the fact that he is of Indian origin and more so from the same state and city that I belong to! My interest in finding out more about Tarun Nethula emerged when I saw that he was born in Kurnool, a town in Andhra Pradesh state. The full name of this leg spinner is Tarun Sai Nethula and damn sure he is from a Telugu speaking family.
Before Tarun Nethula, players of Indian origin representing New Zealand in International Cricket were Dipak Patil and Jeetan Patil. Both the Patils - Dipak and Jeetan although not related to each other are off spinners and had made decent appearances for the Kiwis. Tarun Nethula, it seems has a bright future for New Zealand with Daniel Vettori aging and also struggling with constant injuries. The Kiwis are looking at using the variety that the leg spinner Tarun Nethula can bring in Test Cricket in an otherwise seamer-dominated bowling attack. This boy also can expect to be picked for New Zealand’s tour of India which is scheduled in August 2012.
Tarun Nethula moved to New Zealand when he was 12 years of age. Unfortunately, his mother had passed away when he was just 11! Tarun’s parents are well educated while this cricketer has settled with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. His late mother was a professor in the medical field while his father Sainath Nethula is a Chemical Engineer and also a School Teacher based in Auckland. Tarun Nethula has cricket in his blood as his father seems to have played for the Osmania University some years back in India. Tarun claims that he has played for the Hyderabad U13 team in 1994/95 before his family had migrated to New Zealand.
One of the biggest breaks for Tarun came in 2008 when he made his first class debut for Auckland in 2008 as a 24-year-old. After being with Auckland for two seasons, Tarun Nethula moved to the Central Districts and has played for them since then which has now got him into the New Zealand national side. Tarun Nethula has a bit of reputation in getting the extra bounce in his leg breaks. Let’s see if he is going to do well with all his variations in the international circuit in the coming days! He hasn’t had a great start so far going for 0 for 55 in 10 overs against Zimbabwe yesterday but let’s hope he does make India proud like the Panesars, Amlas and the Boparas of world cricket.
- BV Swagath