England in India 2012-13

Dhoni right to bemoan slow pitches

MS Dhoni's comments about want more bounce in pitches has already sparked debate, but the captain's views are well thought out and argued

Sidharth Monga

November 20, 2012

Comments: 181 | Text size: A | A

Pragyan Ojha with his team-mates after taking a wicket, India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad, 2nd day, August 24, 2012
Pragyan Ojha took nine wickets in the first Test but MS Dhoni wants more bounce for his spinners © AFP
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For all he might have done wrong over the last 18 months, MS Dhoni can't be faulted for his calls for pitches that will make for more exciting Test cricket, pitches with bounce and turn as opposed to ones with no bounce and slow turn. The Sardar Patel Stadium pitch definitely fell in the latter category, and that is why Dhoni "doesn't even want to look at it". And it's good to see that Dhoni's pleas aren't being affected by results.

India might have won the Ahmedabad Test - and to outsiders it might look like the perfect pitch, negating the England fast bowlers and offering some help to the Indian spinners - but it was just the kind of track India have had a problem with. A better batting line-up or better application from this line-up or a different outcome at the toss would have ensured a drab draw. For a while it seemed that India were uncertain about their own batting and had opted for safety in the first Test, but Dhoni's press conference cleared those doubts.

Ever since he made that call, Dhoni is being criticised for openly asking groundsmen to "doctor the pitches". Among others, Steve Waugh, former Australia captain, told PTI: "Dhoni's comments this morning were really negative to the game, when he asked Indian curators to doctor the pitches, which I can't understand.

"You want to be aggressive and be the best in the world, you have got to take all the conditions and not always ask for the conditions that suits your style of play. I was a bit surprised with that. I think if you are looking to be the best in the world you have got to learn to play in all conditions."

While Waugh is right in repeating that India need to play well in all conditions, he will also know it is not done through pitches in home Tests. Australia didn't prepare for their India tours through rank turners at Gabba. The other thing that is often forgotten is Dhoni has been driven into making these statements by groundsmen who just don't play ball. At times, even Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble have struggled to get groundsmen to give them home advantage.

Dhoni is not "always" asking for these conditions; he is almost pleading, "For once, let me have them." Nor is he the first captain to have asked for certain conditions in a home Test; it's just that he is doing so openly because covert conversations haven't had any effect.

Dhoni's first Test as captain was in Kanpur in 2008, a square turner that produced an exciting Test that ended in three days. Dhoni was standing in for the injured Anil Kumble then. Later that year, Kumble retired, and Dhoni took over full time. It's been four years since, and Dhoni has yet to captain India on a proper turner.

Consequently, even during their best times, India couldn't whitewash Sri Lanka, New Zealand and West Indies in series longer than two Tests, forget stronger teams. In four years, there hasn't been a single pitch in India that would test the batsmen to the fullest, and that is a variety the game needs just as much as it does the green and overcast Headingley or Kingsmead's Green Mamba or WACA's trampoline bounce.

Dhoni and his spinners' main grouse with pitches in India has for long been the lack of bounce more than the turn, but all India has seen over the last four years is low and slow pitches. Contrary to the belief that Dhoni is asking for the easy way out, pitches with turn and bounce will only even the playing field. If it will make life a little easier for the Indian bowlers, England's fast bowlers will also prefer the bounce, Graeme Swann will become more effective, and also England's batsmen will find value for their shots.

To blame the groundsmen alone can't be the solution, though. The ICC doesn't like the ball turning from day one. It wants to standardise all pitches. In Galle last year, Michael Hussey and Mahela Jayawardene played two of their most-cherished innings, and Australia posted one of their most-cherished wins, only because the conditions were so difficult. The ICC, though, put the groundsman on notice. It is perfectly understandable for the Indian groundsmen to not risk the Jayananda Warnaweera fate.

Dhoni, though, in his own way, tried to emphasise the ICC shouldn't have a problem with turn on the first day because it doesn't have a problem with seam on the first morning. Change that claim with seam on the third or fourth day, and Dhoni is on to something. Except that, if the groundsmen do oblige Dhoni the captain in the upcoming Tests, Dhoni the keeper will have to raise his game drastically: his missed stumpings, especially that of Nick Compton when he wasn't even expecting the ball to come to him, didn't make for good viewing. That, though, is a story for another day.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (November 23, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

Dhoni had to call for turning track because some "wise" curator in India thinks they know cricket better than anybody else. Curators in Eng/Aus/SA have the basic intelligence to understand which kind of pitch will suit home team or will not suit the visiting team and prepare pitches accordingly (Aus pitches for SA series a good example, Clarke did not need to request curators for that). Regarding toss advantage in a dust bowl , I would like to know whether winning toss is less important in a seaming condition in the first day of a test (say in Trent Bridge). India need to learn to play well in foreign condition to become a good test team but similarly England need to learn to play spin to be respected. A real good team should be able to win in all conditions including so called dust bowls- just ridiculing Indian pitches is old disease of cricket pundit of England/Australia who cannot accept their failure against spin.

Posted by   on (November 23, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

Dhoni is absolutely right asking grounds man for lively pitches with turn and bounce. I don't see any wrong. When England was doing the same thing in their backyard,that time we were just looking for our batsmen failure. Cricket is always played like that last many years. Only thing Dhoni discover that BCCI and Cricket India has very thick skin, this is the best way to interact with grounds men via media. We don't need dead pitches, we need live pitches so that our batsmen should in hence their skill to play in tough conditions.Our spinners are not highly rated as Swan(he is the no. one in the world), so how it will help only Indian spinners.Bouncing and spinning track will only make batsman's life uneasy same for India or England.This just a myth that Indian are the best players of spin bowling, right is few great Indian player played spin bowling in past.

Posted by maruthikrish83 on (November 22, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

When Steve Waugh says that MSD shouldn't be asking curators to doctor the pitches, what happened to Adam Gilchrist's comments on asking for home advantage when Dravid and Laxman won the Adelaide test.

When they can ask for home advantage in their backyard, why can't MSD ask for turn and bounce?

Posted by Valavan on (November 22, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

@Gupta.Ankur, you are partly right and partly wrong. What you have said about venues back in SA/Aus/Eng is true. they dont change it at all, so the cricketers who play there knows exactly what the pitch gives, moreover every local Cricket association (example, Warwickshire, Yorkshire, NSW so on) prepare the pitches as required by the association and neither ECB nor CA can ask to doctor it. Even the national captains are not allowed to ask to doctor pitches. In India Dhoni is asking to doctor the pitch, that was the unacceptable part, instead they must be ready to play whatever track available or produced by the association. His requirement of turn and bounce can also help England, leg cutters, out swingers and angling deliveries for a paceman can get it better when there is a bounce and turn. The only disadvantage of that is win toss and bat first will always dominate as the fifth day pitch can get more turn and bounce and even 150 seems defendable. cricinfo please publish.

Posted by chapathishot on (November 22, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

nilb: We have seen it pakistan bowled out twice in a day in England and Srilanka in southafrica was not worthy even to comment.So You check your facts and comment and dont judge the Indian performances by the last two away series.As both Pakistan and Srilanka have not even drawn a test series in either Austrailia ,England or South Africa in last so many years where as India have won series in England and drawn series in Austrailia and South Africa and were unlucky not to have won test series in SA

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (November 22, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

The problem is two-fold: 1. In SA/Aus/Eng the nature of pitch has not been altered in ages and evryone who grows-up in these countries know how these pitches will behave at test venues

2. General perception is that a pitch is good only if it has bounce/pace and swing...in short if it suits the original powers of the game Eng&Aus

Spinning pitches are forever looked down upon as Aus/Eng don't do well on it.....Even ex-cricketers from India don't look too favorably at spinning wickets....

Posted by PointFielder on (November 22, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

Is Steve Waugh sleeping now?

1st test Vs SA (Brisbane): 450,565/5 2nd Test (Adelaide): 369/4.

Are these bowler friendly wickets?

Posted by Meety on (November 22, 2012, 2:54 GMT)

I have been critical of some of Dhoni's comments of late, from blaming rain in the T20, to being critical of umpires. He is however right here. Pitches need to have some sort of life in it. I have ZERO problems with turning pitches, my preference is for them to turn AFTER the 1st day, & on the first day there be some bounce & seam movement.

Posted by nilb on (November 22, 2012, 1:06 GMT)

Only India need flattest dust bowls to play their cricket.. Pakistan and Sri Lanka can adapt to bouncy pitches. No other sub continent team fail miserably like India in fast bouncy tracks.

Posted by enigma77543 on (November 21, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

And what is this nonsense by ICC about "standardizing" pitches! The only requirement for a pitch should be that it's not so bad that the ball is dangerously uneven right from the start of the Test, other than that there's no need to impose anything else on curators. The variety of pitches we see around the world offering pace, seam, spin, uneven bounce, etc in varying degrees only makes things more interesting for the sport as a whole & therefore curators & teams should have that freedom. And as Dhoni says, if ICC has problem with pitches turning on day one then they should also ban pitches that seam or bounce on day one!

Posted by rkhalil on (November 21, 2012, 17:57 GMT)

What's wrong if dhoni asks for turners. Why england. Aus, NZ, SA prepares the pitches as per their advantage, where was mr. Waugh when india was playing in eng and aus on bounced and seam pitches? It's easy to preach others mr.waugh.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (November 21, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

In the current series between SA and Aus in Australia, the curators have cooked up absolute roads with little assistance for quality fast bowling to nullify Dale Steyn Morkel and Philander. It will be interesting to see if these pitches all of a sudden get fast, bouncy and seam when India arrive.....

Posted by bijusportsfan on (November 21, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

@MattyP: dont know why you are worried about India languishing at midtable. If England lose this test series by 2-0 or more , they are probably going to go midtable . The margins are that narrow. So there is every incentive for Dhoni to ask for home advantage. dont forget that England climbed the rankings to the top based on their home wins. Also, before thw last test series in England, India had not lost a series over there for more than 10 years.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 21, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

Bounce or no bounce, spin or no spin, this England team is set to be humiliated by this underdog Indian team. If England cannot win now, they will NEVER. Because, these young Indian batsmen and bowlers will only get better from here on. England are playing as 11 individuals. KP looks to be 'SEPARATE' in many ways. I can CLEARLY tell he's mentally NOT a part of team England. He's playing as KP - the STAR 'in' the English team. There is a big difference. Speaking about pitches, many childish comments here. Indian pitches will NEVER have pace and bounce. It's the nature of the great land of India. The heat, humidity, soil types etc all contribute to it. Our English and Aussie friends need to start admitting there is a world beyond their cozy shores and that cricket is played differently everywhere.

Posted by prabhunagaraja on (November 21, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

Nothing is wrong in asking for a pitch that turns and bounces. As waugh said to be a great cricketing team you need to play under all pitches and conditions. Then what is the problem for england to play under spinning conditions. Recently they were the No 1 test playing nation. May be waugh said that because the only territory he did not conquer as a captain is India. Also when he was captain he had gread bowlers like Mcgrath, shane warne. They can bowl in any surface and take wickets.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

ICC went beyond the boundary, viz a viz the Sri Lankan pitch episode, where it was just assisting turn and was not dangerous to batsmen with skills to handle spin. ICC unwittingly (or, perhaps willingly) went overboard pandering to those teams who can't handle spin well. However they were right, regarding Kotla, where the bounce was uneven with unpredictable bounce and dangerous! And, Dhoni, clearly said, he doesn't want such dangerous pitches.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

@Varkay. Swann's 3 wickets on day one was more the result of his supreme skills; and nothing to do with the low & slow pitch at Motera. It was not BECAUSE of the pitch; it is DESPITE the pitch. Give the devil, his due! I mean, Swann.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

@Naresh28. How tall is Sunil Gavaskar, when he performed exceedingly well in overseas tours, to such an extent, he is almost an adopted son of West Indies? How tall is Sachin Tendulkar? How tall was Don Bradman? So, there goes your Tall Vs Short theory!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 21, 2012, 14:58 GMT)

@ AsitDe I wonder if you saw any of the series of India in England. There is no way those pitches could be descibed as hostile. The fact is the Indian bowlers could not adapt to the conditions. What didn't help was Zaheer getting injured because he bowled well in his opening spell with enough movement to ask questions of the batsmen and took 3 wickets. What did you expect of recalling RP Singh from a Miami beach. Praveen was the only bowler who came out with any credit bowling with plenty of heart and movement but lacked pace to consistently trouble the batsmen. Mishra got some big turn but overall his batting was better than his bowling and the less said about Ishant the better. How do you expalin that SA played this year and were able to bowl England out twice in 2 of the matches.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

What was wrong with Dhoni, was his performance; both behind the stumps and in front. Not, in what he said. Hang a man for his crime and NOT for telling a few truths!

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 14:55 GMT)

Some time Captains hesitate to enforce the follow-on, since the bowlers have to take "more than 10 wickets" -- in fact 20 wickets! If circumstances force you to enforce it, to improve the chances of a win, and in that process, if key bowlers have to bowl 70-80 overs, it is hard work on ANY surface. If a Captain mentions that, it is just a statement of fact, and an indirect way of appreciating the efforts of his bowlers in public. What is wrong in that? Where is the criticism of the umpires in that (Of course, umpires make it more than 20 -- around 25 or so, in my count). Again, if he asks for pitches, where toss will not be a decisive factor, and giving equal chance to both teams, what is wrong in that? Most of the Indian pitches, which play low & slow, give an unfair advantage to batsmen. So, asking for one where both batsmen & bowlers can display & exploit their skills, what is wrong in that? In the whole process, if viewers enjoy test cricket better, what is wrong in that?

Posted by Nampally on (November 21, 2012, 14:48 GMT)

@Nicholas Saunders: Never mind Swann's 9 for 208, Jim Laker took 19 out of 20 Wkts. at the Oval Test match vs. Aussies. Also Vinoo Mankad of India took 5 for 192 in 96 overs at the Lords test match in 1952. So England wickets do offer help to good spinners.Similarly good fast bowlers also revelled on some pitches in India dating back to Fazal Mahmood of Pakistan - who was also outstanding on the Lords wkt..I don't think anyone is moaning here. The fact of the matter is no Curator can prepare a pitch made to order. Dhoni's is wishful thinking!. He hopes Father Christmas will come with goodies for him.Every bowler has to work hard for his wkts. on the Indian pitches which are all batting friendly.It is the England batsmen who failed badly, to give India the victory. Cook & Prior showed it is possible to score.

Posted by Nampally on (November 21, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

You say ICC doesn't like the ball lturning from Day 1 & that they want to standardise all pitches!.Can any curator make the pitch to order? The answer is "NO". I challenge ICC to name a curator or give a recipe for producing the type of pitch they want!. Even if Dhoni wants the ball to turn from Day1 of the 5 day test match + have a bit of bounce, can the Curator meet his recipe? So all this talk from both Waugh & Dhoni is just gamesmanship. Dhoni struggled behind the wkt. & missed several chances including the one of Compton yard down the wkt. He must also make better use of all his bowlers.This was a test match with several deficiencies. Umpiring was very poor to start with, especially of Aleem Dar! England batting can only improve from here . So India need to be prepared. Ashwin never met the expectations let alone his non existant mystery ball! Ojha,ZAK & Yadev bowled well.SRT & MSD both need to step up to justify their spots.A right arm leg spinner will boost the Indian bowling.

Posted by enigma77543 on (November 21, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

It's funny that sub-continental teams go overseas to find seaming &/or bouncy wickets, usually they don't moan about it, they just accept the fact that they are not very good on seaming &/or bouncy conditions & that they need to improve, they don't call them "poor pitches" simply because they can't play very well on them! On the other hand, when teams that travel to sub-continent always whine about "poor pitches" even if the ball turns a little bit rather than manning up & accepting that they aren't very good in these conditions & that they need to improve their skills. And Ahmedabad pitch didn't even turn much, it was pretty flat & a better team with better batting & bowling skills would have easily drawn the Test. In sub-continent, there are two choices in the main, turning pitches or flat ones, & making flat ones & producing dull-draws definitely won't help the falling popularity of Tests around the world so result-oriented pitches should be always be the way to go!

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (November 21, 2012, 14:03 GMT)

MSD is saying he wants result oriented pitches not the draw oriented pitches, so england fans don't jump w/o understanding....

Posted by Harshtmm on (November 21, 2012, 14:01 GMT)

We are just defending poor spinning talent in India. Had the tracks been turning swann would've had india on the Matt. England Psyched themselves to loss. Nothing that Indian spinners did. Dhoni should beg for these kind of mind game pitches instead of spinning ones as that would level the field and India would definitely loose by comparing spinning talent.

Posted by ibbani on (November 21, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

MS is right to say or turning pitches. while all other countries does the same andplay for their strengths. See SL who finished the match in 3 days itself. Why cant no one comment on SL pitches.

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (November 21, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

It is interesting how sub-continent tracks according to visiting teams are already 'spinning square' and 'dust bowls' when talking about series results in the region, but when they analyze batting records the statement is immediately changed to how they are 'flat tracks' and how players like Sehwag are 'flat track bullies'. Same flat tracks on which the likes of Ponting average 25 or so... Seems like according to visiting teams 'ball doing something' means only swing and seam and yet they cannot win a series on same pitches where the flat track bullies are scoring runs!!

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

"The ICC doesn't like the ball turning from day one. It wants to standardise all pitches."

The nub of the issue is this. The ICC wants to standardise everything, like the Americans - astroturf for cricket anybody.

The charm of cricket has always been the varying conditions in different countries and the grit, guile and gumption of players to cope with the conditions. That is what made (and makes) test matches so interesting. I remember a scene from The Bodyline tele serial where Ames, had to pack his wicket keeping gloves with steak so that he could soften the blow when collecting Jim Laker's bowling.

While standardisation is good, particularly in gear and protection, too much of standardisation will lead to boredom and the loss of the sporting spirit that epitomises true Test matches.

So, can the ICC focus on making Test matches interesting rather than creating a bureaucracy that will strangle the sporting spirit.

Posted by Hindh on (November 21, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Make a track like Kanpur or 2004 mumbai spitting cobra track and let us see how these english and aussies cope with it....must be fun to watch...

Posted by Naresh28 on (November 21, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

@nicholas saunders - You forget other factors also come into play when prepairing pitches. Soli types, weather, rain, water,sunshine, leeching etc. You cannot force the pitch against these forces of nature.Therefore you will have to LIVE with it. Another factor INDIANS live with is the fact that we are not as tall as other races - this has the effect that we have shorter batsman who are adept at playing lesser bounce. Its the other way around ( e.g. Pieterson) when we tour. We have to face up to this fact and find taller batsman for overseas matches and shorter for local.This is one of the main reasons why Dravid succeeded overseas cause he was taller than the average batsman. throwing all this aside you JUST HAVE TO SKILLED to counter whatever is on offer.

Posted by varkay on (November 21, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

I am not clear with MSD comments on turning wickets. The pitch in Ahmedabad was turning from Day 1 as Swann got all the 3 batsmen out by a turner. Moreover, all the wickets of Ojha was due to turn. What MS exactly mean that that the wicket was not turning? What exactly he is expecting out of the wickets? I am surprised with these statements as he has made it more than once where the wicket was turning quite well. It happened during west indies series where Ashwin was wicket less and Dhoni made this statement. If our spinners are unable to turn the ball are we to blame the wickets? Ashwin is not a great turner and he depends on bounce like Anil Kumble. He needs to be accurate and have more variation to be consistent. He has to work on it rather than all commenting about the wickets. If Swann can take wickets why can't our spinners do the same? Let us think throug it...

Posted by PutMarshyOn on (November 21, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

For a pitch to turn and bounce from the first ball it has to be prepared to disintegrate. No match will last much past lunch on the 4th day. Fantastic - we can get some more T20 in!

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

In the past, Dhoni even went on to say that pitches will always be made to give hometeam the advantage. Afterall, why shouldn't the hometeam have it? If, when India tour NZ, we are made to play on pitches where the ball swishes past our face after bouncing, NZ shouldn't complain if they are made to play on tracks that turn in India. That is perfectly alright! What Dhoni is asking for here, isn't abt giving/not giving hometeam its due advantage, but to make the Test Cricket more interesting. Infact, what he is asking will only take away the advantage from India. Yet, if done once a while, it will give test cricket its value and worth by producing competitive matches (and not one-sided yawning games that even if we win, we hardly remember for more than a week).

I, as a spectator of cricket (and not just blind supporter of India) echo Dhoni's words too. Give us some real cricket to look at, not the ones we can follow just by looking at the scorecard at the end of the day.

Posted by Boston_Legal on (November 21, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

What is MSD on about? Have you ever heard NZ preparing damp tracks, Aus preparing seaming ones or South Africa bouncy? Why do you need spinning tracks. Play the game on whatever the host nations are laying out for you, Mr Dhoni!!!

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

@screamingeagle - what are you on?

Swann collected 9-208 in the Oval match AGAINST INDIA, nothing to do with Englands batting. Swann can't bowl against England if you haven't noticed. The point I was making was the oval deck turned a fair bit and was about as far removed from a greentop as you could imagine.

Posted by AsitDe on (November 21, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

@Nicholas Saunders, I agree in general that the English pitches are far more batsman-friendly than elsewhere, barring probably the first day. But that was NOT the case last year in general when India toured. Actually there was quite a bit of pre-series talk from the English media and perhaps one or two players on the horrors they had kept in store for the Indian side and if I am not too mistaken the discussion included directly pacer-frindly pitches. Swann is a good bowler, no doubt about that and Raina is not as good a batsman (at least in Tests), but that does not prove your point. Please do not talk about double standards. We can give at least a hundred examples of double standards being practiced by match referees, umpires, officials and players targeted at the Indian team until about 10 years ago. For understandable reasons, these now have abated.

Posted by CiMP on (November 21, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

Dhoni's call is right. We need a turner to favor the spinners but also a pitch that offers bounce. Except for the occasional snorter from the rough, Motera was not letting the ball rise beyond a slave's head. Spinners like Bhajji and Ashwin will need bounce to be effective consistently. Else batsmen who can apply themselves with discipline like Cook, Prior and even Compton who did it for a brief while in the second innings of the first Test, can dent the Indian spin attack. What will then be on offer is attritional batting making for dull draws. So even from the narrow perspective of India's short term interest we need more bouncy and turning pitches.

Posted by screamingeagle on (November 21, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@Nicholas Saunders, please do laugh, thats upto you. What is not green for you are probably green for a lot of sub continent players. Similarly, I do not think the English players have a different definition of spinning tracks as compared to the Indians. As regards spinners prospering in England, pretty obvious with the kind of batting we have been seeing from your test team. And please do not even start about moaning, that is a british talent, no one can beat you at that. You may want to look at the Oval test, I like to look at the T20 highlights in SL. Matter of preference, really.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 21, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

I dont think its acceptable for this never ending focus on pitches. It would be a boring world if all pitches were 'sporting' - what ever that means - when you have two different attacks on the park. The idea is to excel at the picth presented be it green, slow,turner or flat. This is what makes the game interesting. The other strange thing is pitches only come in to focus in Asia. For example the Newlands last year finished in three days where two teams were bowled out for less than 100. The JHB test V SL was so green you coulndt see the pitch from the outfield. Yet Galle got the warning despite the hard foguth win for Aus on which there was a century on the 4th day. I think if a pitch is dangerouse to the batsman then a warning is on the cards - everything else is fair play. After all an Asian team would wouldnt find a green top a sporty wicket in as much as visiting teams would find a rank turner in Asia.

Posted by vivek3 on (November 21, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

India should always prepare spinner friendly pitches tat turn frm day1.we should play according to our strength.dhoni is absolutely right.wen we toured ENG, AUS..they were playing according to their strengths.steve waugh ...once you prepare spining tracks in AUS..den you talk abt pitches in india

Posted by Biggus on (November 21, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

If Dhoni is given exactly the pitches he wants he will have a shorter list of excuses to use in case of failure, so he'd better keep winning or he'll need some even sillier ones to shift the blame away from his clueless one-plan captaincy.

Posted by vivek3 on (November 21, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

why all the time we talk abt the pitches in INDIA??wats wrong..when we go to eng, aus, sa...do we get spin tracks?????so..why we shouldnt play according to our strengths...

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

England - greentops? Don't make me laugh. We've had a couple with a hint of green on Day 1 and the rest have been flat as hell.It swings round corners at Trent Bridge but that's about it. Even Headingley is flat now. Spinners don't prosper in England?, well Swann seems to be doing ok. If you need more proof then go and watch the Oval test of the last Eng v India series. White as a sheet,batsman spanking it everywhere and Rana spent 30 balls collecting a duck as Swann ripped it past him repeatedly. Talk about double standards, you don't see England moaning.

Posted by chokkashokka on (November 21, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

these groundsmen are a stubborn bunch - someone needs to have a sit down with them and read them the riot act. They work for Indian cricket - prepare wickets to reflect home field advantage. I find it hard to believe that this has actually reached a level where the home captain has to plead - fire these groundsmen and get new ones that will get the job done. It is not the groundsman's fault if the visiting team does not know how to acclimate to Indian conditions. A test match getting over in 3 days does not necessarily mean the wicket was bad. I hope there is bounce in Mumbai - and this will not be good news for the English. Actually the wicket should be different for every test - so the tourists get to experience all the indian conditions. Hoping the Indian bowlers to reverse swing and spin their way to another famous victory in Mumbai.

Posted by gsingh7 on (November 21, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

steve looks rattled by indian dominance in sc, he will whine more when india spins their weak batsmen in india in few months, we will take cold revenge coz revenge is best taken cold

Posted by AsitDe on (November 21, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

I do not see anything wrong with a turning track that offers a bit of bounce. There is a difference between a underprepared pitch and a spinner friendly pitch. Many countries shamelessly make pitches to take home advantage, South Africa with almost unnatural bounce and pace, NZ with unfairly damp pitches that assist an enormous amount of seam and swing etc. During last year tour of England, India had to face mostly very very hostile pitches that were tailor-made. No matter how much I dislike Dhoni for his lack of wicket-keeping and batting form in Tests (especially overseas), I fully support the statement of Dhoni and actually applaud him for courage to say such things (deemed politically incorrect) openly. We know all about people in this world who would forever like India to be under their feet. But times have changed.

Posted by himohan007 on (November 21, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

Steve Waugh is simply afraid that because of Dhoni one day India will make all track to Sporting wickets. It is quite natural for Aus EX-Players because of the upcoming batting talents from their domestic. It means their cupboard is bare. Kudos to Dhoni for making forward steps about pitch

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

Galle is turning out to be one of the most challenging pitches in world cricket. not any batsmen can runs there and thats good for cricket. i hope the Galle pitch will stay challenegin so all future players will want to play there and make runs. In similar vein if we had grounds with unique pitch characteristics it would be better fro cricket all round. each match will have a different flavour. I hope the ICC can see that. 3 day matches is not a bad thing. but if the ICC lets money override good cricket we will have uniform boring pitches to look forward to

Posted by Vanchy on (November 21, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Now .. I have issues with Steve Waugh and Greg Chappel trying to tell us how to play our cricket or worry about our overseas form. What is the definition of "sporting" wickets. I have issues with Steve Waugh and Greg Chappel and anyone else owning that definition. In India "sporting" wickets are ones that spin from day one and spin viciously on days 3, 4 and 5. I find this justification of what the Indian Captain wants very apologetic. The Aussies (Read Allan Border) moaned when the WI pace battery was walloping them ("Pace bowling is killing the game"). But now flaunt their bowlers on green tops. Home advantage is used by everyone and why shouldnt India do that too. I don't see a reason for justifying it in any which way. Anyone who has a problem can stuff it!

Posted by AjayyS on (November 21, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Lords is a perfect example for a neutral pitch, and the tracks in adelaide and sydney does not favour too much bounce. But none of the tracks in India suits fast bowlers.

Posted by vish57 on (November 21, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

It is time ICC steps in to ensure pitch standard norms are published and adhered to failing which, Indians are capable of preparing pitches to ensure 40 wickets fall on a single day. ICC which is a part of BCCI if you reverse the BCCI (ICCB) is spine less to go against BCCI, DRS though useful is rejected by BCCI. If BCCI is permitted to sell DRS review rights , then they will manage a sponsor and ensure DRS review is increased from 3 per innings to 10 per innings. Short term goal to have turning tracks, sports is always played on even terms except Test Cricket in the world and ICC owns to neutralise the home advantage.ICC please act, instead of pleasing BCCI

Posted by bMike on (November 21, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

I have never seen a captain like Dhoni who always talks about other things ( like rain, color of sky, humidity, oxygen percentage in air, injuries , pitches) than cricket whe it comes to talk about cricket.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 21, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

I wouldn't say that the England and Australian pitches are completely green or aids fast bowling too much. But for sure, their pitches designed such a way that spinners don't get good purchase on them. A good track need not always aid pace bowlers but still, it should aid bowlers in general irrespective of their brand. What everyone want to see is a battle between bat and ball and not between fast bowler or spin bowlers. Even last game, pace bowlers did have a role to play and the Indian pacers did the job when it was tough for the tweakers to do the job.

Posted by sachinisawesome on (November 21, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

@depp17 but when u have to face that "TEST" on spinning pitches u cry. When India goes overseas then it is a "test" for India but when teams come to India then it it India's Cheapness coz your players r incompetent to play SPIN. What a hypocritical opinion. But what is the point to explain to people like u who r not even aware what "TEST" cricket is? It is a "TEST" of character to play in alien conditions.

Posted by ramli on (November 21, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

If inability to play spin is hand-cuffing ... then ... Eng need not tour India ... in that case ... only problem will be ... we may be forced to see more and more of Ind vs SL ... which is the epitome of eyesore ... so please ... let us see Eng struggle rather ... period

Posted by grizzle on (November 21, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

JKerr_NZ: You make some excellent points, IMO. However, I don't quite agree with what you say for the following reasons.

1. You say that a seamer's wicket normally takes turn on days 3, 4, and 5. Well that would be true in an ideal world but isn't. Lord's is a famous example (hardly deteriorates). It more often is the case that there is some measure of variable bounce (if that) and that too helps the fast men.

2. Subcontinental wickets do help the pacemen, just not in the sense of seam and new ball swing. The dry pitch makes reverse swing a big factor and the lack of bounce makes LBWs more likely than say at the WACA. You could argue that reverse swing is a more potent weapon than conventional swing since the latter is around for a longer time. (The Indians got it going around the 20th over in Eng's second innings.) So it is not the case that spinners thrive and fast bowlers are doomed to suffer on these wickets (just ask McGrath, Gillespie, and Steyn).

Posted by n_jraman on (November 21, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

i dont know why ppl say indian pitches are flat...is spin not considered a turn..you can say a pitch is absolute flat ,when there is no turn or bounce or swing..come on gentlemens grow up!! start playing spin..

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

i think right time to include bhajji in the side for second test...i am sure with his experience he will be very effective in mumbai

Posted by silly_pt on (November 21, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

Forget about the pitches, England didn't risk even the balls they used for the India series last year(they used 2010 duke balls instead of 2011). That said there should be nothing wrong with the turning pitches as long as there is nothing outright irrational in the manner ball turns. I guess that is what England have come India to play - spin. If they wanted swing they could have better stayed home. Yes there should be more bounce and pace but not at the cost of spin. As far as improving outside asia is concerned, it should be done through the pitches for domestic matches and not the international ones. Conditions in Northern India are suitable for producing and sustaining green and bouncy pitches and should be used so.So turning and slow tracks in southern part along with green and bouncy tracks in northern parts should be enough variety to improve quality of domestic competition. Cricinfo publish

Posted by chin-music on (November 21, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Coming from Siddarth , this moaning that India's home pitches are essentially "not doctored enough" is disappointing ! Somehow he seems to pander to this easy generalisation that overseas, we always face a routine homogenized monster pitch called "greentop" (never mind that Eng/Aus batsmen had no problems padding their averages on these monsters) - but at home , we get into splitting hairs between turner-with-low bounce , with-high bounce etc.Dhoni's comment sounds like a boxer saying that handcuffing my opponent is not sufficient , i want him to be gagged & blindfolded as well.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (November 21, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

To all those talking against Turning Tracks in India - Why everybody want the easy way out when touring India? Come to India and face the Turning Music just the same way India tour to Australia, South Africa and face the Chin Music. These people doesnt have a problem issuing warning that "India will be facing Chin Music" when india is about tour these countries. So come to India and face the MUSIC people. If you guys can dare others to face the fast bowling, show some guts to face the turning ball. Dont say when the ball turn its not sporty. IT INDEED IS SPORTY AS WE CAN NEGOTIATE TURNING BALL. Just show if you can

Posted by Naresh28 on (November 21, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

@depp17 - YA the recent game ended in three days? India has won a series in ENGLAND for your short memory. Many batting records by INDIANS have been set throughout the world. CHAND won the U19 WORLD CUP in OZ. SACHIN was the best batsman in ODI WC in SA 2003. India won t20 WC in SA. Yuvi thrashed BROAD for 6 sixes in one over in SA. We have won an ICC WC outside INDIA. So dont talk nonsense - INDIA only fails overseas due to poor PACE BOWLERS.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 7:14 GMT)

Well..Pace and Spin both is indeed any day better than Slow spinning wicket..I mean come on..a bit of bounce will help English pacers too..Won't it? If he had asked for slow and low and spinning wickets..then that combo would have been the ultimate advantage to India because no matter how slow the wicket is..If its spinning, England and on the receiving end..However, with Dhoni asking for bouncy and slow wickets, it has opened a windows for Englishmen to utilize..And If they are criticizing that too, then I believe they should play with dolls for the rest of this series..plus if they get similar pitches in all 4 matches, they might have a chance to win the last 2 tests after being accustomed to spinners and pitches..!

Posted by Naresh28 on (November 21, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

When INDIA toured OZ we did not ask them to prepare SPINNING TRACKS for US.We play to our STRENGTHS - there is nothing WRONG with that. OZ has 6 PACE BOWLERS to choose from - THEY PLAY TO THEIR STRENGTH in OZ. So STEVE WAUGH talks nonsense when he says that INDIA should not DOCTOR pitches. Dont OZ DOCTOR PITCHES TO MAKE THEM PACY? Why should OZ only be allowed to do it? When they lose fair and square in INDIA thats part and parcel of the GAME and has been the same for AGES.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

Each tour is supposed to give different challenges...If u english, or any other non subcontinent teams feel that these are poor conditions for cricket, please bear in mind that seaming, swinging, green tops are the only wickets in which cricket can be played. Would you dare prepare a spin pitch in england when india or any other subcontinental team tours england?? Nd remember Swann got the best use of the pitch...because by the time the indian bowlers came on the pitch had started to become dead...If ur bowlers can bowl only on seaming, swinging conditions...its not our problem...see how our Fast bowlers bowled...its all about adapting to the conditions...nd with the no. of practice matches, the english should have been better prepared.

Nd people please stop going back to the 8-0 loss....the indian team was collectively out of form or not fit...I am sure even the english or aussies could not believe it...!!!! SA, AUS nd then IND are the only teams to have won in all conditions...!!!

Posted by jagatr on (November 21, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

When Waugh called for wickets 'with pace and bounce' its fine. If Dhoni calls for wickets with 'bounce and turn' it becomes doctoring. Truly, cricket is a funny game!

Posted by pp_cric on (November 21, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

Dhoni is trying to find short cut route to win the series. As Australian Legend Steve Waugh rightly pointed out, Dhoni should not care about the pitch. Pitch should have its natural quality should allow the curator how they pitch used to be prepared traditionally. If he wants rest of the series pitchs to have only 2 factors SPIN + BOUNCE, it would be funny. By nature England, Australia and SA pitches assist Pace and Bounce.. Sydney bit similar to Subcontinent..Perth assist pace and bounce..English pitch always have Pace, Bounce and Swing along with bit of juice in air..They don't "Doctor" the pitches.. But why is Dhoni has special interest to create tailor made pitch to his liking. His wish is going to back fire.

Swann is tall guy who can extract more bounce and spin than Ashmin. Ashwin is more ambitious and trying a lot.. English pace men will be happy if the pitch shows bit of extra bounce...

Dhoni has to concentrate on his batting and behind the stumps a lot than the pitch.

Posted by raghavan88 on (November 21, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

@depp17 India do have bouncy,fast pitches like Mohali,Bangalore,Dharmashala,Brabourne and to some extent Nagpur.Problem is Bangalore never gets enough test matches like Wankhade and Eden,and crowds at Mohali and Nagpur are disappointing.When was the last time Brabourne ever hosted a game?Does Dharmashala have 5 star hotels?As a result of this,we are subjected to games at Motera,Hyderabad,Kanpur etc.BCCI should simply ban such venues from future tests,restore the dull wickets at Kotla and Chepauk and bring back test cricket to Brabourne.

Posted by PointFielder on (November 21, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

When India go to England they give wickets which are favorable to pace bowling and swing.

What is wrong if India offers wickets which assist spinners.

Okay if India takes first step to revers the trend and makes pace friendly wickets, then is England, Australia, South Africa going to change all their wickets and make them spin friendly?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 21, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

@Lillian Thomson, there is this small matter of a billion people not finding the matches in India boring. So, you can try to change your tastes and enjoy the test matches being played in India or else you know what to do - you can happily stay away from our series and enjoy the maulling being dished out to New Zealand.

Posted by dunger.bob on (November 21, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

@ maddy20 on (November 20 2012, 23:25 PM GMT) : Actually, when all the paranoia is stripped away, what Waugh says is the ultimate truth in International cricket. .. you should take heed of the ancient words of the wise one..to be considered the best you have to play really well at home and quite well every where else. .. it's a very simple equation .. everything else is an unwanted diversion.

Posted by depp17 on (November 21, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

The tests in India is just one sided because of the spin factor, it really is a task ask for the English Team to play continuous spin when the pitch keeps dying every day. I still wonder why the fast tracks are not prepared in India, they are so dependent on spin pitches as they know the fact that they wont win a match if that's not the case. Dhoni found his place in tests all due to mere luck and if he trying to show off that he wants the turning pithces it is just to prove his winning streak in India. I wonder if how is made the test captain when is technique is not at all to the mark .As far as I know I dont think India can win a series in South africa , England and Australia be it any track. India this is complete cheapness and clear desperation to win in homeland. Be fair and play Fair."Test" the name itself suggests that it has be a challenge and not a ball bat game in 3 days.

Posted by Captain_Crick on (November 21, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

Dhoni is right in asking for a wicket that turns and bounces from Day 1 . Rather than playing the next test again on a low, slow wicket it is better off playing on a wicket with good bounce, which would also assist the fast bowlers. This would 1) Negate the toss advantage and 2) Ensure the best possible sub-continent conditions for seam/spin for both the teams. Though Steve is right is saying "You want to be aggressive and be the best in the world, you have got to take all the conditions and not always ask for the conditions that suits your style of play", however guess he has misunderstood Dhoni's comments and intentions to actually play on a sporting track than those slow, low boring flat tracks.

Posted by the_blue_android on (November 21, 2012, 5:31 GMT)

To everyone saying pitches which turn from day 1 take the seamers out of the equation, please reword your sentences to " take the english seamers out of the equation". See how Dale Steyn bowled in India, see how other fast bowlers from yesteryears bowled in India. Zak and Umesh yadav took 1/3rd of the total wickets. Just because good for nothing english pop gun bowling attack cannot take any wickets doesn't mean " seamers are taken out of the equation". too bad mediocre bowlers like Broad and Anderson cannot roll up the English pitches and take it to every country they go to.

Posted by paps123 on (November 21, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

Pitches in England & Australia offer something for everyone unlike these Indian pitches which have nothing for the English seamers. I am not asking for a green top, but there must be something for everyone. Even SL have learnt it and are preparing better pitches as was evident against NZ and in T20 WC. India are not that good a side that it takes once in 20 years for teams to beat them in India. That's only bcoz its such a uneven contest. Virtues such as hitting the seam, bowling the line, being good judge of Off stump, a good leave are useless things in Indian pitches.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 5:19 GMT)

I don't understand why people think spin or spinning tracks are India's strength.Indian batsmen have done done well only against ordinary spin bowlers.The last good bowler India played well in India was Shane warne.If for some reason India has to bat on last day to chase 150 on a turning track againt Swann or for that matter any good spin bowler they are going to lose.And right now India don't have any outstanding spinner. All this rant from Dhoni is just beacause he doesn't want to put any sort of fight for winning a test match. he just wants that people dish him a win in a platter as he has been doing when playing overseas. England may not return the favor. With this mindset, I think ,all England need to do is show a slight fightback and Dhoni is going to lose heart and lose the matches.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 21, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

The spinning ball is very much a vital part of Cricket. It is not unlike the seaming ball. The conditions of play determine whether the ball will spin or seam. I see no reason for a debate on this subject legitimising one and bemoaning the other. What needs to be discouraged is for the captain to say such things. the wicket at Brisbane for the recent Test between Australia and South Africa was an absolute highway as we saw.This after the lively wickets last year for the India Australia Tests clearly shows that the curators in Australia like the people,their umpires before neutral ones were introduced and the curators all respond to their team's requirement.They know that on lively wickets Steyn and co will simply destroy their side.The curator at Brisbane knew what he had to do and did it most faithfully.The captain did not have to say that he wanted such and such type of a wicket. I wish Dhoni and Gambhir will realise that such utterances only cause them to be talked about negatively.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

@Keerthu Anil: because you are just looking at the negatives leaving out how quick he is in most cases...

Posted by bsksara on (November 21, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

Yes its true, ICC governed by nations where they don't play spin well. so obviously they dont like spin from day 1. Dhoni is correct. ICC never question when India/Sri Lanka gets bowled out in 2 session and match ends in 3 days. Mumbai pitch should play as per Dhoni and India's expetation.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

People Lecturing Steve Waugh Even Know Weight Of A Cricket Bat ? Waugh Was A Master Act..He Scored Runs [ Including TONS] Even On Indian Soil.... Alistair Cook Has Shown How To Bat On A Track Like Motera... Wat Abt Dhoni HImself ? His Keeping Is Worse Than Pathetic... He Cant Bat On Turners, he Cant Bat On Green Surface, He Cant Bat On Hard Surface, He Cant Bat On Swinging Condition... So Wat's His Present Role ?

1. Giving Excuse And Blames To Other? 2. Spoiling TEAM INDIA, Which Hardly Lost A Test Series Outside Sub-Continent 3. Forcing Legends [ Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman...And Now Sehwag And Yuvraj] To Retire So That He Can Ensure Free Berth To His CSK Mates ?

Posted by Sheela on (November 21, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

On going through comments of older critics (some of them no more living), the pitches in India were sporting and to enable a so called great to perform well Brabourne Stadium pitch ws made a graveyard for the bowlers. It seems that other groundsmen followed suit.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (November 21, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

If you want seaming tracks all over the place why have home and away tests Mr. Waugh. Why can't you just play the ashes all year around with your English buddies.

When playing away tests the challenge is for the touring side and India will gets its due challenges when it travels. There is no need challenge yourself in home conditions at the International arena. Even if Indian batsmen need to learn spin let them learn in the domestic arena. So why are the English batsmen so clueless playing spin ? Why didnt they offer dustbowl in rosebowl ? Why did Australia in its prime with you as a captian prepare a greenest of top to welcome India in 2008 ?

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 21, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

Eng are going to have a tough time of it in Ind I make no quarels about it. However being English I am pretty use to Eng languishing mid table. Outside of home conditions we are generally competitve, yes results don't always follow but even in UAE the games were close. Last year India played 8 away matches, 6 losses were by over an innings and the other 2 were right wallopings too. I doubt very much ENg will be on the recieving end of a whitewash here (I could be wrong). Maddy. Ind are certainly a formidable team at home but totaly hapless away, if you are happy with that fine.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

nothing wrong in preparing a spin/turning wicket. If the wicket supports pace bowling nothing wrong.. then why there is something wrong if the wicket is turning wicket? Afterall, spin bowling is part of cricket as much as pace bowling. I dont agree with Steve Waugh. Waugh, what about the pitches in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne? which bowler (pace/spin) likes these wickets?

Posted by yoogi on (November 21, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

On how many instances of drawn matches where fourth innings didnt take place at all, despite declarations in the first Innings (my odd is that it happens in about a quarter of all matches) did ICC sent notices to groundsmen? Do they not have any problem with batsmens paradises? doest that hurt Test cricket? Do they not have any problem with overcast conditions where ball seems a lot and whoever bats in such morning lost that session completely isnt it? whats the problem with ball turning from first day onwards. Its actually unusual high bounce that can injure batsmen, not low bounce or turn. Hope ICC know where to draw the line.

Posted by raghavan88 on (November 21, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Dhoni is right.Remember he praised the curator in Bangalore by saying the conditions provided were more like Napier.Before 1996 the Bangalore Track use to be similar to Motera or Chepauk and threw up a rank turner in 1987 against Pak.When the Chinnaswamy Stadium was redeveloped for the 1996 World Cup,they changed the pitch.Since then there have been just 3 draws, 2 of them weather affected, the visiting teams have 4 wins and India have won 2.Ideally there should be a good mix of bouncy pitches like Bangalore,Mohali,Nagpur,Brabourne and Dharmashala and sporting turners like Wankhade and Kolkata.It will be great if the pitches at Kotla and Chepauk are made sporting.Kotla has become sluggish in recent years and Chepauk has always been dull.A minefield like Kanpur which turns from day 1 must be a last resort.Featherbeds like Hyderabad and Rajkot should never be encouraged.

Posted by MasterClass on (November 21, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

With all the discussion about green, bouncy and turning pitches I think we should also throw in the possibility of returning to UNCOVERED pitches. If judiciously applied (I know we're talking about the ICC and so this is a stretch!) it would add a further element of excitement and challenge to the teams.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

I go vth Dhoni because every country is trying to get pitches of their own so Y NOT india have spin piches form day one.

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 21, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

Steven Waugh is already worried about the fates of Aussie team to tour later. As far as pitches are concerned it's all about skills. If you can't play spin doesn't mean pitch is doctored. Even if Indian groundsmen leave a grass on Indian wicket the test will be a boring draw, because rather than seaming the wicket tends to flatten down. I can't see anything wrong with dhoni comments. He wants to see more result oriented test pitches which test cricket desperately needs

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

There is a bit of confusion between pitch/home conditions v doctoring. Pitches are a product os the soil, climate, weather etc.,. The home team obviously knows the conditions better and based on which opponents they play, are perfectly fine to choose the venue that suits them best..ex: if India were playing a seam strong team, then not choosing Mohali, given it's reputation is FINE. But, after having chosen a venue, you cant go on and meddle with the preparation. Think Mumbai v Australia ('04) and v SA in Kanpur later. Were those ''typical' conditions..not really. Similarly, when we tour Australia, they could choose NOT to use Sydney / Adelaide which closely resemble Indian conditions. Recall, when WI were at their peak, Australia pitches did not change character to 'negate' them..they were walloped, but would scrape thro' Sydney usually due to its inherent character

Posted by amitgarg78 on (November 21, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

Waugh had Mcgrath and Warne bowl for him in his career as skipper. He didn't have to worry about the home advantage, which is not to say that his team didn't dish out the bouncers when sub continent teams visited. The point being, ability to play pace/bounce is integral to performing in Australia. It's the same with swing in England or NZ. So what's wrong with playing spin in India? different surface, different challenge, different "test"? This is not doctoring the pitch, but taking advantage of the home conditions. But, till the old boys club at ICC really buys into this, spinning tracks in Asia will always be called "low bounce dust bowls" or "unsporting". Quite how spinning wickets mean unsporting wickets, none of these ex-players will explain. I view it as inability to play spin of visitors and the failure to adapt. Truth is, every major team is a bully at home, having mastered the tracks and struggles outside. SA seem the only exception.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 21, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

Ok. Let us be clear. India can't produce fast and bouncy tracks which will have fast bowlers in the game for a good part of the game as we are not in that particular part of geographical zone. It is all fair. Even if you give green track, it will flatten out from second day and might well end up in big second and third innings score even if the team winning toss chose to bowl and dismisses the batting team for low score. That is how it has been before. So, why opt for a flat track with no assistance to any of the team and make a natural death to test cricket? Go for spinning track where fast bowlers can have a role too with reverse swing. Let the batsmen earn runs and bowling team be prepared for the challenge by picking good spinners in their team and challenging the opposition. I don't see it as "doctoring the pitch" but see it as "better for test cricket" with result oriented tracks. And, as Dhoni said - Games not decided by the toss. Isn't it important to the game?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 21, 2012, 3:21 GMT)

While I don't agree with pitches being doctored anywhere, I do agree that that slow, low pitches generally make for unattractive cricket, regardless of who wins or draws. I think that many fans make far too much of the pitches their teams play on overseas. All this talk of India playing on greentops in England is stupid. Anyone who says it doesn't know English pitches. Pitches will always favour seam more in England and spin more in India. That doesn't mean that you have to go overboard in either direction though. I do think that every team, England and India chief amongst them, need to look long and hard at the pitches they play on at home and decide whether they are really preparing them for life away from home. Both countries could do with a bit more variety in the pitches they play on domestically in order to better prepare their players for international cricket. There's only so much you can do when the climate is a big factor but that doesn't mean that there's nothing you can do

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

How about we talk about ur wicket keeping? Is it always just me who thinks what a pathetic keeper dhoni is in tests. Why is it that the experts never notice the flaws in his wicket keeping technique, the catches he drops, the stumpings he misses, the byes he concedes.. Why why why???

Posted by joseyesu on (November 21, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

The pitch is almost dead with no bounce and no carry and litle turn. All he wants is a good pitch preferably a spinning track. Happy that ind got the result in first test.

Posted by Sakthiivel on (November 21, 2012, 2:41 GMT)

Dhoni is 100% correct we want a sporting wicket that gives result, whoever may wins. We dont need to waste time in 5 day drawn matches.

Posted by jasonpete on (November 21, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 20 2012, 21:59 PM GMT, Pakistan team is doing well in UAE even if they are not playing in their home condition , srilanka playing good cricket at the moment .By looking at the recent performances of England team in subcontinent,,I feel they are going take the mid table for all the time Unless they are able to play outside their English conditions.So try to make some spinning tracks and learn to play spinners first before asking subcontinent teams to perform outside.

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

@Stark62 - Australia does have a spinning track. It's called the SCG and it's been that way for years and years. Its probably why SRT amongst others have such a fine record at that ground compared with others around the Country.

Posted by samincolumbia on (November 21, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

@Matty - India won a series against England in England in 2007/8. While England has yet to win a series in about 3 decades! India have stayed #1 twice as long as England has. England just got thrashed in their own backyard. You should be more worried about your team who cannot even win in their own familiar conditions, before lecturing India about adapting!

Posted by maddy20 on (November 21, 2012, 1:58 GMT)

@MattyP1979 We have had only one bad year after 5 pretty good years, where we have hardly lost any test series outside India(Barring Aus in 2007 which we lost due to reasons known to all).A T HOME WE ARE INVINCIBLE AND NO TEAM HAS BEATEN US IN OVER 8 YEARS. England and Aus on the other hand were repeatedly whipped by SA at home and thrashed by India , Pakistan in subcintinental tracks. Our pacers picked up 7 wickets in the game for 166 as opposed 256/1 by the so called "worlds best pacers" Anderson, Broad and Bresnan. Eng has beaten us when we were rebuilding and plagued by injuries. Now that we thrash these perennial losers in subcontinent(Aus & pommies ) we will rpeat the 2007 thrashing of England. We have several other pacers now in domestic circuit who can bowl 140+(Varun Aaron, Shammi Ahmed etc.,) and next time we tour there you will be in a world of hurt!

Posted by   on (November 21, 2012, 1:35 GMT)

we sure need Bombay and Kanpur type pitches.... matches might end n 3 days but I dun think anyone in this world can deny the amount of entertainment they provide.... its such pitches which provide a new life to test matches.....

moreover if its not the advantage of pitch then wtf is home advantage?

if they want to standardize the pitch it better if they slow down Durban, Kingston, Perth to the level of Mohali pitch at least......

thn play fair cricket.....

Posted by moscowman on (November 21, 2012, 1:23 GMT)

Waugh must think that all of us are wet behind the ears. They prepare bouncing track,resort to bodyline bowling and aim at the batsmen's head and body to terrorise and commit mistakes. They,meaning,ICC even amend the rules to include two bouncers per overs to reduce the domination of India/SriLanka/Pakistan in cricket. So what is wrong in preparing pitches to suit our strengths? Do not WHINE,WAUGH,, be a sport and improve your batting skills to play spin. One must be a allround player able to handle all types of balls. Best of luck.Can we hope for a spinning track in Australia/England?NO.NEVER

Posted by JKerr_NZ on (November 21, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

@Jerry_V re: "If pitches at home (Headingley) can seam and bounce from day one, what is wrong with pitches that spin and bounce from day one?"

The issue is that pitches that seam and bounce on day one eventually become wickets that take turn on days 3, 4 and 5 as the wicket wears out. Seamers and spinners get a turn to shine when the pitch allows it.

Pitches that spin on day one, take the seamers out of the match at the start and usually keep them out of the game later on. You don't often see a spinning wicket turn into a seamers wicket later on in the match.

Also, in some countries, e.g. Australia, you get some wickets that are good for quicks (WACA), others good for batsmen (Adelaide) while the likes of the SCG seem conducive to spinners (later on) and the MCG seems a good all-round pitch. While I'm not an expert on sub-continental pitches, most wickets in India seem to be 'low and slow'.

Preparing pitches for teams is fine, just make them different from test to test.

Posted by RaviNarla on (November 21, 2012, 0:29 GMT)

Is this some kind of mystery. You know what you are going to get in India. Why can't you prepare. The same applies to Indian team when they travel abroad. People who put in hours of practice thrive and others surrender meekly. Cook stood out and Prior too played an outstanding knock. I would like to See a Pujara, Kohli and Rahane play such knocks in SA, AUS and India. Playing in challening conditions proves your mettle. Having said that Dhoni is right in asking for what his Strength is. If the opposition has the courage and skills let them counter it. India did not have when they toured England, let us see if England has.

Posted by premclement on (November 21, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

MattyP1979, Haven't we seen how England play outside their country, even if it is seamer friendly? At least India, apart from they last trip to Eng & Aus, have played good cricket even on a seamer friendly wicket. So it is Eng who would learn to play spin. didn't Eng and Aus provide Seamer friendly pitches when India tours those countries? so why should India prepare seamer friendly pitches when those countries visit India. Spin is a part of Cricket. Therefore, Eng & Aus players should learn to play spin in India.

Posted by RaviNarla on (November 21, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

People need to understand that the world's top 3 wicket takers are Spinners. Spin bowling is an art. Not many can master it. We were fortunate to watch Watch Warne, Kumble and Murali in the same era. We enjoyed fast bowling in the 70, 80's and 90's. Why not spin now. This article clearly explains when a ball can bounce and seam from the word go why not Spin. Aus, SA, Eng, NZ do not prepare turners. Every country has their strength. You play to your strength not to your weakness. If Waugh is right so is Dhoni. A team's class is determined when they go overseas and win in alien conditions. That is what makes a team world class. Australia and West Indies were. Even when they were world beaters they never played on wickets that favoured the opposition.Conditions across the world are different. It is like asking can you provide me English weather in India.

Posted by Ben1989 on (November 21, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar what a ludicrous & hypocritical comment, Aus along with SA & to a lesser extent, England are well known for their green pitches & not turning one's, why should we put ourselves in a worse position to lose a match by having a pitch suited to the opponent & not ourselves??? I could say the same thing to you, why don't India produce green pitches when we travel there because thats what we're use to? you even mentioned yourself, Test cricket is about playing on all types of surfaces, therefore you expect to play on turning pitches on the sub-continent & green bouncier pitches in Aus, SA & england... Test cricket is best because of the player having to adapt to so many different situations & now people are saying WACA should be banned because it has unnatural bounce, well no really it doesn't, it's natural for Perth... everyone needs to be stop being such a bloody hypocrit & accept every country had their own style of pitch which is perfectly fine......

Posted by Chris_P on (November 21, 2012, 0:01 GMT)

Just for those who don't do any research, Steve Waugh played for NSW, a team that frequently played 3 (That' s three) spinners when playing at home. The Aussies had a diverse pitches when he played, very diverse.

Posted by OzWally on (November 20, 2012, 23:55 GMT)

Enough of the OZ bashing please. Pitches in Australia have been consistent for years, when you go to Perth or Adelaide, etc. you know what you are going to get year after year. The curators prepare fair pitches and their definition of "fair" is one that has a little for both bat and ball and that (hopefully) generates a result on day 5. (i.e. day 1 favors bowlers, days 2 & 3 the bat and then by late into day 4 to day 5 the bowlers again). A 3 day test is in no one's best interest. Results back it up, less than 16% of tests played in Australia over the past 20 years have ended in draws. In India it is over 32% (i.e. how they earned the flat track bully label).

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 23:39 GMT)

@Dravid_blah_blah_blah So Brisbane doesn't favour spinners? That would be news to one Mr Warne. Sydney doesn't turn? Difficult to explain why Bob Holland, Allan Border and Michael Clarke got wickets there then isn't it? And Adelaide offers nothing to spinners? Weird how Australian spinners and even visting spinners can thrive on these pitches. Perhaps they assist spinners but don't turn, or maybe they do offer assistance and the comments here are just made in ignorance.

Posted by Mitcher on (November 20, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

I'm happy as an Australian fan to agree with Dhoni's statement that low/slow pitches are bad for Test cricket. If a bit more bounce produces better cricket then Í am all for it. Not that I am saying he is suggesting it, but a rank turner from day one would be a differnt story. One clarification is needed for some though. The pitches India played on in their last trip to Australia were not green tops and did not have an undue amount of bounce. The Indian batsmen made them look that way. Have a look at some footage of the pitches we used to dish up for the mighty West Indians, then you'll know what a treacherous pitch looked like.

Posted by LillianThomson on (November 20, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

And there was me thinking that the BCCI was ordering flat, dusty home tracks to minimize the risk of home defeats and so that a fading Tendulkar can still maintain a decent average against castrated bowlers. They would be happy in the next two Tests to see each side compile First Innings of 500+, with SRT scraping a final century in a bore-draw.

Posted by maddy20 on (November 20, 2012, 23:25 GMT)

"You want to be aggressive and be the best in the world, you have got to take all the conditions and not always ask for the conditions that suits your style of play" A really hilarious statement of sorts. Perhaps Mr.Waugh would like to refer to the term, "home advantage" in a dictionary. Christmas is coming, someone gift him one. For a team that prides itself on intimidating opponents with slander, profanity and what not, he is not eligible to make a statement like this in the first place. Perhaps he is afraid that the OZ rookies will be thrashed by India and be pushed into the middle of table once more? I just don't care as long as we hand the Aussies another sound drubbing like the two series in India before!

Posted by JustIPL on (November 20, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

Dhoni is getting defensive again and it is pointing to the fact that further slide for team india is on the cards. First of all he had difficult times behind the wickets on low balls while some of the balls that bounced got wickets. Also, he might think that Ashwin, Yadav and Zaheer may be more effective if they get some bounce. Yadev was different in this match from his usual self where he is hit out for 6 an over. For sure India don't have bowling resources to beat this top ranking English team only the time will tell.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 20, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

To have a sustained run at the top you need to be formidable at home and decent away. Unlike Ind Eng have that capacity. We play ok in WI,NZ, AUS,SA,Bang. Ind as I have said are the ones that will rot mid table unless they can adapt outside. Unlike other playing nations the toss is hugely important in the sub-cont and will ensure even at home Ind cannot maintain a winning streak. It is up to cricket Ind to find where they are happy sitting in the world, unbeaten at home THRASHED away might be good enough for them but I doubt it. On the plus side for Ind they are able (at present) to play4 years out of 5 in the sub, this is a disgrace. Regardless how this series pans out Ind will not be taken seriously as a cricket nation.

Posted by dunger.bob on (November 20, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

Dhoni seems to be just asking for a bit more bounce. Nothing at all wrong with that. Bounce is good for cricket. Gee, if the pitches had been a bit bouncier, even Shane Warne might have taken a few more wickets in India. .....I've got to say I find this article confusing. .. when all this bull-dust began in Australia last time it was actually Gambhir who started the ball rolling by calling for rank turners at home. ... again, nothing wrong with that. That is your tradition and nobody goes to India expecting fast, bouncy pitches. What annoyed so many people down here was the implication that Aus. had unduly spiced up our pitches which is just total garbage. They were actually a bit flatter than usual. Gambhir simply came across as scared and out of his depth once the ball got navel high. Clarke scored 400+ for once out on these same pitches. I bet Steve Waugh thought Dhoni was calling for even flatter pitches because at the time all the talk was about the bounce poor old Gambir hates.

Posted by igorolman on (November 20, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

A pitch that seams on day 1 will slowly lose the seam and start to take turn over time as it deteriorates. A pitch that turns on day 1 will continue to turn more and more and not seam over time as it deteriorates. We don't want pitches that dart around with the old ball on day 4, we don't want pitches that turn square on day 1. But most of all we don't want pitches that start as roads and never deteriorate so you get 600 v 600. Zzz. The ideal pitch has seam movement and consistent good bounce on day 1, is good for batting on days 2 and 3 with consistent reasonable bounce, and then slowly starts to deteriorate and bring the spinners more into the game on days 4 and 5 as bounce becomes more variable. Pace on a pitch helps everyone: quick bowlers obviously, but also batsmen (pace on the ball = faster off the bat), and spinners get faster turn which cuts down on reaction times. The only people it hurts are defensive batsmen and bowlers who try to bore the opposition.

Posted by JustIPL on (November 20, 2012, 23:04 GMT)

Dhoni should be thankful to the groundsmen as they paved the way for an Indian win otherwise India would have lost this test match. After all they are fifth ranked team playing a team near top of the ICC table. Great batting from English lower order made a turning pitch look easy alongwith Cook who dictated the terms. It was evident when Ashwin tried to bowl lilke left hander to find some more tricks. English batsmen had not seen much of these two spinners during the warmups where they faced substandard spin and so the first innings became extension of the warmups. Furthermore, if Dhoni thinks pitch was not great then Man of the match is Cook and not Pujara as Cook was under pressure throughout.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 22:55 GMT)

i think maybe the indian curators don't know what kind of pitch they are making in india, they just prepare the pitch and then wait for the weather and soil to play its role and sometimes it turns sometimes it does not and its always slow because of the soil factor..... they think if they try to do their trick on the pitch it will just break....haha

Posted by Hippiantor on (November 20, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

@Alex400 In Aus, wickets are never doctored. There isn't one example of the Australian managment attempting to influence the curator. The curators would tell them to back and mind their business. They are prepared according to natural conditions. Every wicket is planned to play according to it's traditional strengths, Brisbane bounce & swing, Perth bounce and pace, Adelaide flat etc. These all vary from year to year based on weather condtions and the like. If it is traditional natural for a particular Indian wicket to spin and bounce then so be it, but doctoring of wickets is unacceptable. Waugh is accurate in calling this negative tactics. Let the curators prepare the best possible wicket according to them and butt out of interference.

Posted by RameshRayaprolu on (November 20, 2012, 22:28 GMT)

I agree with what Waugh says..a team MUST adapt to all conditions, work HARD, and FIGHT to WIN...not asking for 3 day pitches (either home/away or seam/spin, doesn't really matter)!!

I am sure MS got tired on the field for 2 days (or more) and so he got his frustration out to curators......but I think that's the way test match goes, and YOU and YOUR TEAM need to try for wickets ALL the time while on field...not just wait for the pitch (or ball) to do something...

Posted by wake_up_india on (November 20, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

There is no doubt now that cricket has split into at least 2 versions -- (a) Hindustani cricket, the version played in the subcontinent, and (b) Anglo cricket played in England and the old Commonwealth. Perhaps a third variety would be Calypso cricket, although it has now lost most of its old, flamboyant character. These are as different as pasty, vindaloo and jerk chicken. The best team will be the one which can stomach all. I don't see any team doing that today. There was a time when Australia and West Indies would steamroll India in India but not any more. One way for India to get to that spot is to have their players play county cricket in England (as in the old days, even as late as Sourav and Dravid) but that would be an act of financial sacrifice (thanks to IPL) that no highly ranked Indian player will be prepared to make. On the contrary, more and more Anglo cricketers will learn Hindustani criciket by playing in the IPL, if that form of the game survives at all.

Posted by gemmy123 on (November 20, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

Well said CricMatters.

Dhoni's rationale is because his team were flogged into the ground on day 4 due to a dead pitch that handed England a way back in to the match despite their appalling 1st innings performance. In some ways India were lucky - England threw away so many wickets that they made the pitch's shortcomings almost irrelevant.

From here on in, if the other pitches are similar and Cook wins some tosses I think India are in for a rough ride given their fitness levels and mobility.

In modern times watching teams tour India brings a consistency of tedium you rarely get elsewhere in test cricket. A true shame.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 20, 2012, 22:04 GMT)

The pre-match tactics of Ind have had a very good outcome for the last test. It also ensures that when they next travel away from the sub (in 7/8 yesrs time) they will be met with exactly the same. End result....Ind languishing mid table for all time, great at home hapless away. If Ind and their fans are happy with this then fine but I somehow feel they won't be. Eng have more of a chance (coin toss importance) to get something out of the next three than Ind have against anybody/everybody away.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 20, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

I agree with Waugh. You have to succeed on all kinds of surfaces. And it's about time, they (Australia) prepare turning pitches in their home series against India, Pakistan and Srilanka. It's a shame that they (Australia) are not taking the step in the right direction.

Posted by Agila on (November 20, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

Its all like do everything in their power to protect their advantage. I find funny when Eng, Aus, NZ , SA keep thinking that green tops which are fast and bouncy are sporting and that the Spinning and bouncy are not...Its fair when they do it, and Unfair when they get their coin back!

Posted by MattyP1979 on (November 20, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

For those sub-cont fams asking for the rest of the world to prepare turning pithces are plain silly. With Pak unable to play home tests, Sri-lank no longer a major force and Bang making up the other sub teams why would we make turning pitches, when results against them are far easier. No it is Ind that need to adapt. Ind will rot mid table for all time unless THEY are able to play outside the sub.

Posted by Stark62 on (November 20, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

That is a ridiculous statement given by Waugh!!

A countries captain can tell the curator to prepare any type of pitch, he wish's.

Why don't Eng, SA and Aus prepare spinning tracks, after all they need to conquer all in order to be the best.

Posted by JerryV on (November 20, 2012, 21:14 GMT)

I can't say I understand Waugh's complaint here. Dhoni, to my surprise, is asking for an even contest between the bat and ball. That can only be good for cricket.

If pitches at home (Headingley) can seam and bounce from day one, what is wrong with pitches that spin and bounce from day one?

Does the former Aussie captain prefer roads on which batsmen can bat on and on and on?

Posted by cricmatters on (November 20, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

By the same token, WACA pitch should be banned by the ICC. It provide unnatural bounce and unfair advantage to the local team. When team India led by Anil Kumble visited last time at Perth, there were talks in the media of unleashing Shaun Tait on the hard bouncier WACA pitch. As it turned out India won that Test Match and Tait's test career was over. If you have quality players, it should not matter what the conditions are as you should be able to adept and use it to your advantage.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

"The other thing that is often forgotten is Dhoni has been driven into making these statements by groundsmen who just don't play ball. At times, even Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble have struggled to get groundsmen to give them home advantage."

Joke of the week :D

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar - pls change ur name .. its kinda irritating ..tho am more of a dravid fan too but insulting another legend in the game is not right .. ppl wont hate u but instead comment hastily n compare between two greats of indian cricket .. so hope u understand n not take it in wrong way .. pls publish !!

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar , johnathonjosephs - with no disrespect imho finally i can agree with both of ur comments in cricinfo for frst time

Posted by Poda_Pokkai on (November 20, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas_Statchin_Selfishkar - Why can't waugh tell his own Men the same statement? - the opponents should play in all conditions and pitches as well. Fair enough to Dhoni - Be the boss in your own DEN

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 20, 2012, 19:45 GMT)

Agree with Dhoni. I don't believe he is asking for "doctored" pitch, just a good, typical, Indian wicket of days gone by. This last match against England the pitch was terrible.

Posted by pknn on (November 20, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

if u want wickets which turn square, then plz prepare for the next white wash in south africa and other places outside the sub continent.

Posted by Ashique129 on (November 20, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

I do see the valid point in Dhoni's demand. I don't see this demand any different from asking for bouncy and fast pitches against subcontinental opponents. Neither do I see any difference between "they can't play bouncers" and "they don't know how to play spin". Since when the host captain's demand are "negative to cricket"? That does not happen for many other captains around the globe. This is a fair "home advantage" and guests should suck it up and move on. Hosts should make sure that the advantage stays with the host and does not assist the guest (unlike the case of Bangladesh as the host).

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 20, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

I agree with Waugh. You have to succeed on all kinds of surfaces. And it's about time, they prepare turning pitches in their home series against India, Pakistan and Srilanka. It's a shame that they are not taking the step in the right direction.

Posted by ProdigyA on (November 20, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

I think people are taking the toss for the 1st test way too seriously. Yes it was important, but i disagree that it "would" have changed the result, it "might" have but not "would" have. The way India batting with so much ease on the 5th day was further evidence of that. It was just that the England players were not good enough even if they had batted first.

Posted by Jimmers on (November 20, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

I think a lot of the comments here misunderstand what MSD is saying. We all understand and accept the concept of home advantage through familiar conditions, but who honestly wants home conditions that only ever produce high scoring draws? If England hadn't batted so badly, this would surely have been another 500 plays 500 plays 500 yawn fest. If Test cricket is to retain its supremacy, there has to be every reasonable measure to ensure results. Good on him for speaking up for it, I really hope he gets into administration once he's retired - such a sensible and switched-on man.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (November 20, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

What hypocrisy. The entire cricketing world talks about how India is filled with flat pitches that ensures draws and boring matches, but when the Indian captain himself says this, its a bad thing? If England had replied in the first innings by posting up a 500+ score and ensured a draw, would they not be saying the same thing? The last pitch was flat flat flat

Posted by Buggsy on (November 20, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

All groundsmen should be left to preparing the pitches the way they want. As long as it's not dangerous, gives a good chance of result and goes the distance, I don't see any problem with a pitch that turns from day one or seams to gully on day five.

Posted by nlambda on (November 20, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

Aside from the "seaming pitch good/spinning pitch bad" debate, the broader issue is: why on earth should anyone tolerate a groundsman making batting friendly pitches which end in draws? It is outrageous that Indian curators frequently prepare wickets which would take 7-8 days to produce a result. Such curators (and among others I am thinking the gentleman who prepared the pitch for the 1st test between Ind-SL in 2009) should be suspended for attempted murder of test cricket. There is just no justification for such draw-oriented pitches.

Posted by sk12 on (November 20, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

Steve Waugh - Then why did you complain about the Mumbai 2004 pitch? Ponting was the captain for that match, why didnt you advice him otherwise. Esp when you had already won the series. Werent you supposed be the best team in the world? Others - Face it, India is not going to become a great team, not in the near future.. Sub continent/WI are the only place we would dominate, thats where we score our points. There is no point in conceding this advantage. The way to improve our standard overseas is to change the pitches used in domestic games, not international matches.

Posted by Rohanpatel.pst on (November 20, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

Mr.waugh please make a mark that when ind goes on to a foreign tour they provide india with a green pitch and test them with pace and bounce. So why there is a problem to provide a spinning bouncing pitch for the teams touring India. Its totaly correct. Cumon India white wash England with 4-0.

Posted by Herath-UK on (November 20, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

It is home team prerogative to prepare pitches as it want so Dhoni has a right to speak out what he wants.When Sri Lanka toured South Africa last time all the side games prior to the Tests were all taking spin to be shocked to see a green top,never seen so green before, for the first Test.Unless ICC comes out with a plan for the Test pitches doctoring pitches to suit the home team will continue. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (November 20, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

"Consequently, even during their best times, India couldn't whitewash Sri Lanka, New Zealand and West Indies in series longer than two Tests, forget stronger teams"......Sri Lanka, along with Pakistan, are the strongest opponents India will get at at home....a bit more bounce in those pitches like Dhoni wanted and India would have really struggled against Murali and Sri Lanka's superior players of spin!....flat tracks and slow turners actually assisted India back then! and yes, an addmittedly superior batting unit...

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (November 20, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

This definition of help seamers for a day, then batting for 2 days and spinners for the remaining 2 days - biggest myth I've ever heard. Then would we call it a shame if seamers get wickets on the fifth day? NO. This is nothing but step-motherly treatment meted out to spinners and the colonial mentality of looking down on anything that is 'Un-English'. People need to have their own identity instead of feeling comfortable with being lectured and indoctrinated by others.

Posted by Arrow011 on (November 20, 2012, 18:34 GMT)

ICC should encourage spinners but sadly nowadays 4 out of 5 are pace men in most teams, spinners are brainy characters & we should have more spinners than pace men in any team.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (November 20, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

Yes, the reverse is true as well, indeed Aussie and England need to play/succeed on all kind of surfaces, that is why we need to prepare bounce and Turning pitches. End of the day it evens out. Is it not?

Posted by Crazy_4cricket on (November 20, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

Good Article Siddharth.... The mood is Captured after Steve Waugh's Comment.."Australia didn't prepare for their India tours through rank turners at Gabba". we have to admit that the art of preparing a good Test Wicket is going down ... haven't seen any series after Ind Vs Aus 2001 series where all the matches of a series offer true support to both Spin n Pace... While Bhajji was highly successful with his 32 wickets in 3 tests, the likes of Mcgrath and Gillespi were able to test Indian Batsman on the same tracks.. while Warne was totally ineffective..... As per ICC's regulation to standardise Pitches across All countries, it will be really tough to find out a Standard thing... Probably its time they should think Logically and stop atleast Test cricket going the way of ODIs where ICC have almost removed the effectiveness of Slower bowlers by introducing Two New Balls,reducing the no of players outside 30yard circle...

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

I completely agree with Dhoni, Indian pitches are so slow now a days. Another point i want to bring here is that Harbhajan singh is main victim of these slow pitches. he has been made to play in slow turners where he performed not that bad but due to his high standard those performance were only at par. In that pitches Ashwin would not get a single wicket, look what happen to him on this slow pitch of Ahmadabad he just got 4 wkt. Ashwins has got wicket only in good pitches and against weak opposition where as Harbhajahan has got wicket against good opposition on hard tracks. When ashwin came they started making fast turning track and where such tracks were not provided ashwin could not take wicket, his carrom ball is no mystery because it never turns. feels sorry for harbhajan he is made to look more out form than he actually was by the slow pitches.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 20, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

Most people involved in cricket plead for faster piches. Abslolutely no-one asks for a low slow pudding of a wicket, and yet too often it is the dullest fare that is served. I do not know what is said by ICC, but there is a belief that the money men like these anaesthetised surface to get a fifth day crowd, but it leads to turgid cricket and is short term thinking if it leads to a drop in interest in the format. The Ahmedabad pitch offered turn but the bounce was almost an offence against players. Over time you would have to say that Australia had been least guilty of the crime. Obviously subcontinent pitches have a certain character but just a bit of pace and bounce would make for a better game. I think most people want to see pitches which spin in subcontinent but the groundsmen really need to work out how to get pace into the wickets.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 17:57 GMT)

Why was the Great Waugh silent when Australia prepared the pitches to suit their conditions ? Have they excelled in home conditions ? they lost to new zealand or abroad ? Lost Ashes and 2-0 in India If one has to be the best by playing in all conditions , then who has ever done so ? Nobody is .. Even the Australians have a won a series here only once and India remains undefeated in home on the last decade which no team can boast of, by that means India is the Best team ever team in the world in order to discriminate that they say Indian pitches are unsportive, dust etc....

Posted by jango_moh on (November 20, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

i partially agree with Dhoni, the pitches should have bounce but start turning(sharply) only around 3rd day... bounce also means its better for fast bowlers... so i wud say bounce on a pitch brings eng seamers and swann/panesar into play as well, IND batsmen would be tested against spin as well.... so overall, a good argument, as long as it doesnt start bouncing and turning sharply on the first day itself... my thoughts...

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 20, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Agreed, if we had batted without diliberatley chucking away our wickets as if they were going out of fashion then it surely would have beena a draw. Just like the article says, it's no fun for anyone to watch, I saw the full days play for 3 & 4 and it was slow and low. Batsmen if they get in can make big scores but never truly unleash and dominate the bowling. ICC's reprimanding after the SL/AUS test was a crime, fair enough if the pitch is dangerous, but it was far from that, the best matches are when the batsmen really have to fight for their runs! it basically sends a message to only prepare a flat track for a test, it is understandable the BCCI wanting to kill off test cricket, as they have a competing product, but not the ICC!!

Posted by devalyagnik2003 on (November 20, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

Mr. Steve Waugh, if India need to play well in all conditions to prove they are a good team why don't you apply this fact to Aus and Eng. They should be able to win series in India to prove they are a good team!!! Biased statements every time wouldn't help you correct their recent record in India. Remember out of last 6 test match IN India Aus is 4-0 BEHIND. And England is waiting to win series in India for Ages. India while moving towards No 1 won series in England 1-0, Drew two series in SA, played competitive cricket in Aus twice, Won in NZ and WI, in Pak as well. Drew twice in Srilanka. So before this two 4-0 loss actually India improved their away record and that is why they were at no 1. Of course that was mainly because of top 3 batsman, Kumble, Zaheer, Harbhajan, and now the time is gone but similar to THE great Aussie team even Steve and Ricky were dying to win series in India. So apply same LOGIC and MATHS to all the team.

Posted by PPD123 on (November 20, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

The argument can be done both ways. While home advtg is something everyone does, it is playing well in all conditions that helps you achieve greatness. I do not see any problems with Dhoni asking for more bounce and turn. Mind u Dhoni is not asking for rank turners, he is asking for more bounce which will only make the sport a better spectacle.Seems like Dhoni's problems is now that he has become very open about his demands. I am sure he would not have come out this openly had India not be drubbed 0-8 overseas. Even though India ever do whitewash teams, he wants to give back Eng and Aus the same what India got when they visited there. It no surprise that certain pitches turn characteristics depending on the opponents - eg Durban and Gabba have a very different look to it when India visit there, than when there is a match between Aus vs SAF in these venues. Also remember Sydney when Pak visited Aus last time round? Suddenly one of the spinning tracks of Aus turns in a green mamba.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

I don't agree with Steve Waugh that it is negative for cricket, I think it is the other way around. This is result of positive mind set where India wants results for all the tests other than winning the series for name sake with 1-0 by playing safe for draw on placid pitch for the rest of three tests.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 20, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

@ FlashAsh. Exactly. Which team captures the critical moment win the match. India had twice in two test to beat england but england tail were strong in england. England did fail to squander the catch on pujara. India would have all out for 375. That will allow india to chase 250+ second innings. India lost a test match in bombay recently to england because indian batsman felt the pressure in second inning. So winning the Toss play massive role in indian pitches. Playing in spinning picthes need as much skill as fast swininging picthes. Atleast playing spin do not hurt player but fast bouncy pitches hurt players. So asking spinning pitches is absolutely correct thing. What we do not see is variable bounce which may physically hurt player. We had once that kinda dangerous pitch in delhi. Spinning pitch ok not variable bounce. Get it curators? Is it closely connected?. I think probably that reason ICC is obstructing? Spin and bounce we saw in calcutta in 2001 was best.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Nothing wrong what Dhoni asked for and he has every right. Do Eng, AUS and SA prepares a turning pitch for the opposition team?? In fact England has one of the world best spinner Swann in the team they can also use the conditions along with Penesar.

Posted by satya_vankayala on (November 20, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

dear mr, dhoni, as a true cricketer you should be able be play on any kind wicket as pro cricketer , so dont please request for kind of wicket that siuts your team and mates , for example for a true champion of tennis he needs to win all four, the french clay , the american hard , wimbledn grass , australian , be a champion ,only possible with guys like roger fedex, or some like that , he never talked about that to curaters, better concentrate on your skils at trade

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

We need to come out of this sick mentality of suiting to visitors interest in our den. When in England, SA and Australia if there are seaming wickets, they must know that when they come to India, the pitches would turn. As simple as that. For seaming tracks, the climate also needs to be like that. In hot conditions, the wicket would help the spinners more. Pretty natural. Also it is pretty hipocritic. If a match ends in Srilanka in less than 3 days and Herath takes 11 wicket, there is no problem. But in India the test went almost 4 1/2 days and there were 100s and 200s, but still, people would have trouble with the wickets.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

I support Dhoni. If turning pitches are not okay then bouncing pitches are not okay too,,,else just play on mat or cement pitches ;)

Posted by crick.nick on (November 20, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

If asking for a pitch that produces results and gives fair and equal chance to all the teams is negative for the game, don't know what's positive. This is the reason we didn't do well overseas Dhoni is not to blame for recent bad performances, the selection panel that hardly dares give any chance to talented youngsters is supposed to be blamed. Dhoni is right. BCCI got no sense, ICC doesn't seem like having any existence.

Posted by VJGS on (November 20, 2012, 16:42 GMT)

Truly said. The game does need a complete variety of pitches. From seaming tracks in Australia or England to spinning tracks in the subcontinent. Having a track that offers spin from Day 1 takes the toss out of the equation and makes the game more fair and thrilling to watch. The game might end in 4 days, but the way it ends is worth it. Isn't that what Test Cricket needs to survive? Why is the ICC so stubborn to see this

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 20, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

Contd only truly top class teams would succeed in alien conditions and / or if the home team is very weak. Having said that, in theory the lines should be blurred in England and India with English players allbeit not many at the moment playing IPL domestic cricket and Indians playing county cricket. But Dhoni is right in calling for pitches with bounce even if the idea did backfire by offering something to the England pacers and Swann. At least the Indian batsmen would be properly tested and we wouldn't be living in this Utopia that Indians are tigers at home.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

Superb article. 100 % I agree with you .. The last line is a ripper.. :-) " Except that, if the groundsmen do oblige Dhoni the captain in the upcoming Tests, Dhoni the keeper will have to raise his game drastically: his missed stumpings, especially that of Nick Compton when he wasn't even expecting the ball to come to him, didn't make for good viewing" Excellent !!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 20, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

Slow low pitches makes means bowlers aren't rewarded for their efforts and batsmen don't get value for their their strokes. All test match pitches should be true i.e. bowlers work for their wickets and batsmen work for their runs resulting in a proper contest between bat and ball. If one of the disciplines is to be favoured I'd prefer it would be for the bowlers so that centuries and half-centuries are earned, and remembered by the public unlike in India where they tend to be 10 to penny. I don't understand the ICC's position - they don't want turning pitches from the off but they've got no problem with fast bouncy tracks from day 1. If pitches outside the SC can offer something for the pace bowlers over 5 days why shouldn't SC pitches turning from day 1? It makes no sense to say that spinners come into the game on days 4 and 5. Then to succeed abroad SC teams would have to adapt to seaming pitches overseas and touring teams adapt to spinning SC pitches.

Posted by JoieDeVivre on (November 20, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

For once I have to agree with M S Dhoni. What I find very hard to understand is why can't we produce pitches which turn from day one, surely the BCCI groundsmen can't be reprimanded by ICC, only reason I can think of BCCI wants the Test match to last for 5 days even if this is at the cost of dull and boring Test match it's okay. Foreign players complaining about India asking for rank turners should quite frankly keep quite as nobody other than media hears them. When was the last time India played on a flat deck when touring, agreed this approach from India is very myopic but playing against a turning ball is as much a skill as playing on a seaming green top. One just hopes pitch at Mumbai makes for a interesting game with ball spitting like a cobra. This will test not just England but also young Indian batters.

Posted by FlashAsh on (November 20, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

I must admit as an ENg supporter that Dhoni is right. Nothing wrong with HOME prepared pitches that is what cricket is all about. you only have to ask all the village and league cricketers in the UK and each pitch has it's own "specialities".

Ludicrous of ICC to expect regular pitches and players need to be able to accomodate different conditions! just look at the furore Jim Lakers pitch would have caused today!

I'm just hoping Cook wins the toss next time and the IND batsmen are asked the same sorts of questions the ENG batsmen were. I accept the TV people want matches lasting 5 days and the first test did just that and people easliy forget that if ENG had held their chances in the field the outcome may have been very different Pujara's fine innings would have been cut off at the knees!

Posted by BalaSenty on (November 20, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

Mr Monga,

I fully agree with Dhoni, If ICC gives notice to groundsman, BCCI should intervene and support ground staff. When we go to England or Austarlia or SA, they don't prepare pitches codusive to visitors. It is well known that sub continent pitches spin and Dhoni asks from the day one. In my opinion I fully support him, Monga saab, support India!!!!

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

The ICC has no business trying to get ban turners! If anything, it is pitches with overt help to fast bowlers that actually pose physical threat to batsmen and make for ridiculously short test matches. A turning pitch with bounce(more important) will ensure the type of quality tests that we saw during 2001 India Australia classic or the Indo-Pak classic three tests in 1999. Thats what test cricket should be like. Think what a wonderful display a champion like Gramme Swan can give with a proper turner! Its a drooling prospect!

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (November 20, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

The ideal test pitch should seam the first couple of days, be falt on the third and spin the last two. Of course, one hardly get's to see those pitches! i do agree though, that the ICC trying to standardise pitches it bad for the game. That Galle pitch made a exciting game possible, and I for one would prefer a pitch like that to a flat track that would produce two 600+ innings. Dhoni's stupid stupid comment on seam on the first day aside (It's SUPPOSED to seam on the first day, India just can't play it) what he said makes perfect sense. The ICC tolerates green tops for 5 days, but not turning pitches! As long as the pitch is not dangerous to the batsman, physically, it should be OK in Tests. Limited Overs Cricket is different.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 20, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

I do not fault him on asking spinning pitches. Unlike other countries indian curators are independent. Aus/SA/England curators are patriots. They know what their team need and they make it what make their team strengthen. In India curators work for different groups in BCCI. There are many groups in BCCI. One do not like each other. Nagput curator is an example. he made green pitches for australia and sa and made india lose them. Is it treason? i do not think so. I think there is nothing wrong with dhoni asking spinning pitches , its his wish list. But indian curators will do what ever they want. They always do what they like. So steve waugh shoul shut up about dhoni not knowing politics of curators in india. if you ask something , you won't get it in india. In Aus , Team can ask curator will do as team asks. In india it won't happen. But i am strongly against dhoni saying anything about umpires and also against his view on UDRS. He is 100% wrong in both accounts.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

Steve Waugh - Yes, India need to play in all conditions, that is why Dhoni is asking for bounce and turning pitches. In Australia and England you know on what pitches we played. Now it is time to play on some rank turners. Rather I would say, India find a way to come and succeed in Aussie, Newzi, SA conditions. For that to happen the pitches needs to be made like that in Ranji trophy, so that we can get the domestic players playing in those conditions as well as rank turners coming through the ranks and ready when they play for India.

Posted by truthfinder on (November 20, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

Cannot understand why would ICC object to bouncy pitches. If on a bouncy pitch (not a green top) the spinner able to spin and take wickets that is solely their credit. Because then the bowlers are taking wickets through their skill and intelligence not through the batsman's inconvenience. BCCI would straight way object this matter instead of DRS. These slow turning wickets are severely handicapping Indian batsmen's techniques.

Posted by premclement on (November 20, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

Well said Monga. I complete agree with Dhoni. When India tours England or Aus or even SA, they were not given spinner friendly pitches but only seamer friendly pitches. So, steve Waugh, how can you expect India to prepare seamer friendly pitches for tourists. The sub-continent is known for spinner friendly pitches. You have to train Eng or Aus or SA players to play the art of spin. So Steve Waugh is wrong is calling Dhoni's comments as negative to cricket, while is correct in requesting the curator's to make spinner friendly pitches at home. I stand by Dhoni on this.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

I think you've hit the nail right on the head there, Sidharth, in highlighting the ICC's role. I think it's pretty unlikely that any country is preparing pitches to suit their own team at the moment, given that the ICC comes down hard on anything other than a bland, batsman-friendly surface. That Galle test was superb entertainment, every bit as much as a high-scoring game, yet the groundsman was disciplined. Crazy.

Posted by   on (November 20, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

monga, ur article is one sided... steve waugh is just a test captain.. dhoni is captaining all three formats.. dhoni achieved better than steve waugh as a captain..bcos indian team has poor fitness level compared to aussies.. dhoni is always fit and hardworker... don judge his keeping skills... he can make up wit it..cricket didnt had a player like MSD.. his calmess till day 5, made india win the match... realy hate this article.. dont ever go against MSD, where he gives everything for the team india...

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