India v New Zealand, 2003 October 15, 2003

'India will face problems abroad' - Ross

Wisden Cricinfo staff

quoteAfter Craig McMillan and Nathan Astle helped New Zealand salvage a draw in the first Test at Ahmedabad, coach Ashley Ross sounded confident about his team's ability to succeed under any conditions.

"I am pleased with the players and their ability to adapt to different conditions. We are fully prepared for the challenge ahead," Ross said. He also mentioned that the team might make changes to the final XI for the second Test after considering the conditions at Mohali. "There is every chance that we may choose a different eleven for this Test match. We will decide later," he said.

On the Mohali wicket, Ross said: "We played here four years back and we are mindful of its reputation. We are excited by the challenge. It's an interesting wicket. I have seen the wicket yesterday and today. There are some cracks." But Ross did warn that India's penchant for preparing slow dustbowls would let them down abroad. "India may face problems when they go abroad if they continue with such slow wickets. To play well in Australia or New Zealand, you need to have the experience of playing on fast wickets."

New Zealand's batsmen handled the spinners better than expected, albeit on a slow track, and Ross drew confidence from that performance ahead of the Mohali Test. "It is great for the New Zealand players to face such great spinners in Indian conditions. Facing them is a great challenge," he said.

When asked whether New Zealand were contemplating a victory at any stage of their second innings, Ross said "We were playing for a win throughout. But given the conditions on last day and with some quick wickets falling, we settled for a draw. It wasn't a win, but it wasn't a loss either," he said. Ross did however caution against complacency and hinted that there was still much room for improvement. "There are still a lot of areas where we can improve. With every match you have to improve. What is important is to adapt to a given set of conditions," he said.

Underlining New Zealand's emphasis on planning well in advance, Ross said: "It helps us enormously. We prepare for all the eventualities. We work hard to be successful in unfamiliar environment."

When questioned about why Nathan Astle was playing at Mohali despite carrying a knee injury, Ross said that the medical panel felt it was unlikely that he would aggravate the injury further by playing.