India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore

Dhoni wants home pitches to turn more

Siddarth Ravindran in Bangalore

August 30, 2012

Comments: 86 | Text size: A | A

Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin shared 18 wickets between them, India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad, 4th day, August 26, 2012
The India spinners picked up 18 New Zealand wickets in Hyderabad © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni
Series/Tournaments: New Zealand tour of India
Teams: India

Over the past year, India may have had two of their most humiliating series defeats in England and Australia, but their recent home record remains respectable. A major factor in that has been the spin pair of R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, who between them have taken 60 wickets in the previous four home Tests. Watching New Zealand's batsmen grope and prod at the spinning ball last week during the Hyderabad Test, you'd think the BCCI has decided to play to India's strength by preparing turning tracks. MS Dhoni, though, wasn't convinced the home surfaces are helpful enough to India's spinners.

"Frankly, we were expecting turning tracks, the last two wickets I don't see them as turning tracks," he said a day ahead of the Bangalore Test. "This wicket also doesn't look like a turning track. We have put our request through and after that whatever wickets are provided we'll have to play on them."

Despite Ashwin and Ojha dominating the Hyderabad Test, Dhoni urged curators to prepare tracks with more bite for the spinners. "You know the subcontinental speciality should be spin and I think we should stick to it. In the last match the spinners got lots of wickets but still I thought it was a hard-working wicket for them. Ashwin bowled brilliantly and Ojha had to keep it tight so I felt like if we can get a bit more spin and bit more bounce for the spinners it will be really good."

Much of India's home success in the 1990s had come using a three-spinner strategy, the most prominent trio being Anil Kumble, Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan. When asked whether India were pondering using that tactic in Bangalore, Dhoni scoffed, "Have you seen the wicket?" suggesting that he expected it to assist the quick bowlers.

While India rely heavily on spin, New Zealand are dependent on their fast bowlers, frequently deploying a four-quicks strategy in recent times. "I think they have a good bowling side especially on this kind of wicket and in overcast conditions they will come up with a good bowling plan and execute their plans well," Dhoni said. "Hyderabad was a bit different as there was not much for the pacers, still their fast bowlers got wickets."

That's one reason India were not complacent despite the all-too-easy victory in Hyderabad. "You don't need to be overconfident, that has never been the case with us," Dhoni said. "We are a side that respects the opponents whoever we are playing, wherever we are playing. Whatever we did right in the first Test, we will have to repeat everything."

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hnlns on (August 31, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

For those who support the theory of having turning tracks, look back what happened in Mumbai on a rank square turner - Michael Clark removed 6 Indian batsmen conceding single digit number of runs. Even though India went onto win that match, point here is even Indian batsmen are vulnerable if asked to play on a rank turner. So, this tactic might work only against visiting teams which don't have a world class spinner. Even in Capetown test, where Graham Smith described the pitch as more subcontinental in nature, India did not last more than 50 overs when batting fourth, so where is the competency of Indian batsmen when facing a worn out 5th day track ? Hope MSD looks back at these facts.

Posted by   on (August 31, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

I cannot work out which is worse 1 The Indian fielding 2 The NZ batting 3 Yadav's bowling I think that it is no 3

Posted by IamdKing on (August 31, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

Its absolutely fine to ask for Turners in India. English and Australians keep blasting off Dhoni's tactics. I just don't understand why? Will Australia make Gabba a slow pitch? Ever? No. They can't. Because that is there strength. So if India's strength is spin..go for it. England never prepared turners for India nor did SA or the Aussies. Go for turners. Simple stuff!!!

Posted by tanstell87 on (August 31, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

Ashley Brackstone- yes India was ripped apart in last tour of South Africa. the end result was 1-1.

Posted by   on (August 31, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

Why would not he want turners?!?!?! No trust in his pace bowlers?! Likes bullying at home...can't wait for the SA tour to watch the SA pace battery rip through the indian batting...

Posted by karthik_raja on (August 31, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

Most ppl here says that preparing green pitches in Ind will help their overseas performance. I strongly disagree. Its not as easy as u ppl say. Pitches alone wont bring swing. We shud have ideal weather conditions also. It has to b overcast all thro the day for the ball to swing around. When the conditions r hot as in Ind, u very barely find swing. Even if u find, it wont b a ideal practice for overseas series. So, that argument is totally invalid. Only solution is to send our players on contract to play in Eng,Aus,SA domestic cricket to make them familiar with those conditions(weather, food, bowlers etc etc)

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (August 31, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

If Hyd was not a turning track, why did his pace bowlers took less than 5 wickets in two innings put together? Does he think his pace bowlers are so pathetic that even on non-spin tracks they can't take more than 2 wickets per innings? Wonder what Dhoni expects from his pace bowlers if he ever plays on a 'spin track' by his standards! May be there wont be any pace bowler in his team for that match then!!! Ha ha

Posted by venkatesh018 on (August 31, 2012, 7:50 GMT)

What more does the captain want? A dust bowl like Mumbai 2004, where Michael Clarke took 6 for 9 !!! This captain wants every Test to finish inside three days, never mind how much these pitches drag down the quality of our Test match cricket. MSD definitely doesn't look like having any plan for the long-term well-being of Indian cricket ! Pity Sanjay Manjrekar and other well-wishers of Indian cricket who are worrying about S Africa 2013. Surely this captain is not looking that far ahead.

Posted by   on (August 31, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

Training people to play well on bouncy tracks or on spinning tracks is a job to be done in domestic arena, not at the International level. At the highest level, the players must have already acquired the skills, at least reasonably so. So there is nothing wrong in having spinning tracks "for international matches". For domestic competitions however, one must prepare tracks that range from dust bowls to the fastest we can manage in India. How about building a stadium in a hill resort, to simulate the English conditions?

Posted by   on (August 31, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

I see lots of comments expressing the Home Advantage !!Yes, each country should try to get some advantage but preparing rank turners ..hmmm..thats as silly as you can get. Now that India has fast bowlers why not get them used to fast wickets ??Why should we always depend only on the spinners.?? Well surely one way to kill Tests is to ensure the home team always wins !! But that is silly and stupid if you want to call your self the best Team !!!

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