It is tough to be an offspinner in Australia

Thanks to the hamstring concussion of Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin is in for a tough time.

Kerry Packer thought offspin was bullshit. Perhaps I am slightly paraphrasing, or even just making it up completely. But he thought little of Ashley Mallett, a fine Australian offspinner.

This may be because Packer was Australian, and as a nation they had given up on offspin sometime after Hugh Trumble was good.

(This doesn't include mixture bowlers like Mark Waugh, Andrew Symonds and Colin Miller. Min 10 wickets.)

Not that there weren't good offspinners out there, just that Australia spent all their time dreaming of legspin. So players like Ashely Mallet and Bruce Yardley have better bowling averages than Nathan Lyon and over 100 wickets. But they were though of as disposable or handy, and not GOATS.  Lyon's long career was probably down to the lack of leggies and DRS helping finger spinners.

It's clear looking through history that Australian offspinners have done pretty well, from limited opportunities.

Since 1999, Australian finger spinners have averaged 35 at home, and overseas finger spinners are at 53.

This shows if you weren't fortunate enough to be born in the lucky country, it's tough to be a finger spinner in Oz.

There are obviously a few reasons for this, Australian batsmen don't go out cheap in the top order as much as overseas players. Meaning the foreign finger spinners have to bowl to set batsmen more. Despite their fairly well earned reputation, Aussie batsmen are decent or superb playing finger spin everywhere except Asia.

And Australian finger spinners are better at home than overseas spinners, because you need to bowl the spin differently. Nathan Lyon uses more top spin than other finger tweakers, most others impart their turn on the side of the ball more.

All of that is a problem for any team who depends on a finger spinner in Australia. You will struggle to be economical, and probably not take many wickets. There is one finger spinner with over 500 balls in the last two decades that has a good average and economy, and that's Ravi Jadeja.

Min 500 balls since 99

And he will miss the first Test.  Jadeja isn't just important as a spinner, although I think this graph suggests he's a man apart.

Here are the all time leaders in average differential - essentially the most effective all rounders of all time.

Min 100 wickets and 1000 runs

Now his numbers are slightly inflated by the fact he often comes in for spinning pitches, everyone else on this list were automatic Test selections. And he's also played 65% of his Tests at home.

Even so, he's a player who if he keeps batting at his current level has a chance of going down as one of the best records of all time. He can give India huge flexibility in their line up from now on. And he has been batting so damn well.

But he got a hamstring related concussion and won't be playing in the first Test. So then it's down to two options, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Ashwin.

Kuldeep has bowled in three Test innings against Australia and has taken nine wickets. Five in one innings at Sydney. Australians should be more use to left-arm wristspin than others as it seems there is more of it in the Big Bash than any other T20 league on earth. But with the first Test at Adelaide as a day-nighter, India seem to want a more reliable option, like say, a finger spinner who can bat a bit.

So that means yet again it is Ravi Ashwin's job to bowl somewhere where he’s not suited. It was bowling in Australia almost a decade ago that made the Indian selectors believe that he couldn't play in overseas series. Which is a bit like a team deciding their seamer is no good because he's struggled in India.

As you can see, of the heavy usage offspinners in Australia, Ashwin's actually been pretty much the best. Though Swann would have done better if he turned up with an elbow for his last tour.

For Ashwin, an excellent series - if he plays more than one Test - will look like an economy of three, and a bowling average of 40. That doesn't mean he can't get crucial wickets, or rest his bowlers, but anything more than that and he should run around the outfield wearing a cape screaming I am the Lizard King.

Because maybe the semi-fictional Kerry Packer in my mind had a point. Even if Australian offspinners are better than he thought, when it comes down to it, bowling offspin in Australia is tough. It may not be bullshit, but it's bloody hard.