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The bowling gamechangers of IPL-4

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New Delhi: Cricket, the age-old game, has come a long way and has survived its mid-life crisis when it was labeled a batsman's game with tongue in cheek. Now the game is as much of leather as it is of leather. Even in this 20-over slam-bang version of the game, quality bowlers actually separate the good teams from the great ones. Here are some of the flame-throwers, the willow-wielders should shield against.

Dale Steyn: There are bowlers who can give you nightmares with the new ball and there are others who can be deadly at the death. They are two totally different species with special talent that separates them from the rest. But what would you call a bowler who is equally incisive both at the opening and at death? For people in the know, he is known as Dale Steyn. The figures of 27 wickets in 28 IPL matches don't reflect the South African mean-machine's stature, even figuratively. Steyn has been a destructive bowler in every form of the game ever since his inception. Apart from his towering field presence, the South African will be a role model for the fringe players in the Deccan Chargers' camp.

Ravichandran Ashwin: Another contribution of the Indian Premier League to world cricket, this Indian off-spinner is known for his accuracy rather than turn. No-nonsense student of the game, Ashwin came into prominence with his miserly bowling for Chennai Super Kings which made his team a force to reckon with. Being a silent performer, his efforts were acknowledged when he was crowned the man-of-the-series in CSK’s Champion’s League victory. Ashwin was inducted into the Indian team for the World Cup when an extra spinner was needed and there too he surprised all with his clinical display. With World Cup winner's medal on his chest, Ashwin is expected to be wiser and worthier this season.

Zaheer Khan: Zaheer is inarguably the kind of fast bowler India had never seen. The spearhead of the Indian bowling, 'Zak' has been a hot property in the cash-rich league. He started with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first season and then was taken over by Mumbai Indians. Now back in old red and golden, Zaheer is expected to do what he has done for so many years with the Indian team. After being the joint highest wicket-taker in the World Cup, confidence will be sky high for the left-arm seamer.
Lasith Malinga: When Malinga came into the scene, he wasn't welcomed with floral garlands and had to make his way through eyes of scrutiny and calls of blasphemy. With a low-slung action, the concerns of the purists were not uncalled for. But since then, the world has accepted that his peculiarity too is an art. His performances in every version of the game speak volumes about the man behind the wild mane. He spearheaded the Mumbai attack to finals last season and his toe-crushing yorkers are expected to make more batsmen hop around this summer.

Muttiah Muralitharan: Though he has finally retired from the world scene with a staggering tally of 1334 wickets, his hunger remains insatiable. This season in Kochi attire, Murali is likely to spin his magic again, probably for the last time in the IPL and sans the pressure of national team, he might unleash his complete arsenal one last time.

Read more at:http://cricketnext.in.com/news/the-bowling-gamechangers-of-ipl4/56385-5.html

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