India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day November 26, 2011

I want pitches to turn from first day - Dhoni

N Hunter
83

After a stirring final day's play in Mumbai during which 17 wickets fell, 14 of which were bagged by spinners from both sides, India captain MS Dhoni has asked for Test pitches across the country that will take the kind of turn witnessed today at the Wankhede right from day one. Such pitches, he said, could only ensure better quality contests and make the toss less relevant.

"What I would like to see [in Tests in India], played out on fifth-day wicket [in Mumbai]; I want the pitches to turn from the very first day," Dhoni said, expressing surprise at the ample turn and bounce offered on the final day. "It sets off a bit of panic in the opposition's dressing room and, at the same time, you [India] are under pressure to perform as well. That what makes it interesting."

In contrast to the first four days when 1153 runs were scored for the fall of 22 wickets, the final day's play witnessed the same ebb and flow all great Test matches became memorable for. A combination of expert spin bowling from Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin and senseless batting from West Indies' middle order resulted in a collapse in which eight wickets went down for just 53 runs. A target of 243 from a maximum of 64 overs was never out of reach for India, especially with Virender Sehwag in the ranks.

Sehwag, aided by three lives, set the tempo and by the time he departed India were in a comfortable position. However, with the pitch taking ample turn, Marlon Samuels bowled his off breaks in a marathon 25-over spell from the North Stand end, while Devendra Bishoo bowled tight lines from the Pavilion End, hardly giving any free hits. Subsequently, from a position of authority, India were forced to concede control to the visitors, who kept their wits intact all through. Off the final over, India needed three runs, West Indies two wickets. Eventually India got two runs off a fabulous Fidel Edwards over, in which he stuck to a straight line.

"Frankly, I really don't what happened [to the pitch]. It started to turn in the morning," Dhoni said. "Till yesterday, everything was fine. It was among the flattest of wickets. Something happened in the morning and it started to turn. Most people thought it will be a draw, but it turned into a close game."

On flat pitches, like the ones on offer in Delhi and Kolkata, and for the first four days at the Wankhede, a team that loses the toss cannot do much to run through the opposition, Dhoni said. "I think if you see the first three or four days [in Mumbai], losing the toss doesn't really help. I don't know when was the last time we played on a wicket that was really turning square [from day one].

"The last time [it came close to an outright turner] was when we played at CCI [Brabourne Stadium, against Sri Lanka in 2009]. Then it was turning, but that was in the morning session. There was bounce also for the spinners, but as the game progressed there was not much even there. I am hoping that we [Indian grounds] stick to our kind of wickets that turn from the first day, which doesn't make the toss very important."

Darren Sammy, West Indies' captain, said he was not as surprised by the different nature of the pitch today. "It did bounce and turn more than on all the previous four days, but it was nothing that we shouldn't have been able to handle," Sammy said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ggsg on November 29, 2011, 23:17 GMT

    Will Australia, New Zealand England South Africa prepare pitches which does not suites them while playing India? Most of us will answer no they will prepare pitches which suites the home team. And it should be, so home team should have home ground advantage and this provides different challenges for visiting team. In this regard dhoni comments is appropriate. Pitches with bounces and grass and sporting wickets should be prepared from grass root level and domestics competition rather in internatinal matches.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 29, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    @Krishna Darooka, compare the similarities between our posts. So read my post now - If pitches seam, swing, bounce, ball raring for the head, chest and neck from the first day then matches will finish in 1-2 days . Cronje, Graeme Smith, Strauss, Michael Clarke, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor are captains or a monsters? Are Tremlett, Steyn, Allan Donald, Imran, Thompson, Lillee, Rookie Cummins, Marshall, Sarfaraz, Garner, Holding, Roberts, Zaheer, Akram, Broad, Waqar, Hadlee, Kapil, McDermott, Anderson, Morne players or monsters, always wanting such seaming, swinging and bouncing fast tracks? That idea will be the best to convert 5 days to 1-2 days tests if the pitches seam, swing, bounce and try to physically hurt the batsmen from first day. Also, we won't need spin bowlers, especially finger spinners. May be we won't need captain too!

  • on November 29, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    if pitches turn from the first day then matches will finish in 1-2 days . Is Dhoni a captain or a monster?

    That idea will be the best to convert 5 days to 1-2 days tests if the pitches spin from first days Also we won't need fast bowlers May be we won't need captain too

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 21:43 GMT

    @Full-Blooded-Wallop, thanks bro. Big up to you too. :)

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 28, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    @dravid_gravitas: But I have surely become your fan :)

  • mustufa on November 28, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Be careful with what you wish for.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    Dear fellow Indians, what all Dhoni is asking for is to provide with blatant spinning tracks for INTERNATIONAL MATCHES. He didn't say a SINGLE WORD about the tracks that our players get to PRACTICE on on a day to day basis. So, please stop your loose associations that providing spinning tracks for INTERNATIONAL MATCHES is what is causing us to LOSE overseas. Plain braindead associations. Go to Dharamshala and prepare 50 tracks that mimic England. Go to Mohali and surrounding areas to prepare tracks that mimic SA/Aus. Go to all the major cities/small towns and prepare 25 tracks each that mimic overseas tracks. Install speed guns for those tracks to pump up the pacers, if you will. Money doesn't add value just because you have it in your pocket, but because you can spend it. So, get on to BCCI's throat instead of dishing out braindead comments on Dhoni. BTW, I'm no Dhoni fan, but soon will become one if he continues to say that spinning tracks are sporting tracks. Jai Dhoni!

  • Texmex on November 28, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    Dhoni's comments are valid. All home teams make pitches to suit them.

  • on November 28, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    This is why India will fail outside the subcontinent. Dhoni continues to be another thoughtless limb of the BCCI and proves their long term plan is one of insolence.

  • ROLAYH on November 28, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    @nikhilshahb ... you already wrote what I wanted to say... agree with you 100 percent...

  • ggsg on November 29, 2011, 23:17 GMT

    Will Australia, New Zealand England South Africa prepare pitches which does not suites them while playing India? Most of us will answer no they will prepare pitches which suites the home team. And it should be, so home team should have home ground advantage and this provides different challenges for visiting team. In this regard dhoni comments is appropriate. Pitches with bounces and grass and sporting wickets should be prepared from grass root level and domestics competition rather in internatinal matches.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 29, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    @Krishna Darooka, compare the similarities between our posts. So read my post now - If pitches seam, swing, bounce, ball raring for the head, chest and neck from the first day then matches will finish in 1-2 days . Cronje, Graeme Smith, Strauss, Michael Clarke, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor are captains or a monsters? Are Tremlett, Steyn, Allan Donald, Imran, Thompson, Lillee, Rookie Cummins, Marshall, Sarfaraz, Garner, Holding, Roberts, Zaheer, Akram, Broad, Waqar, Hadlee, Kapil, McDermott, Anderson, Morne players or monsters, always wanting such seaming, swinging and bouncing fast tracks? That idea will be the best to convert 5 days to 1-2 days tests if the pitches seam, swing, bounce and try to physically hurt the batsmen from first day. Also, we won't need spin bowlers, especially finger spinners. May be we won't need captain too!

  • on November 29, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    if pitches turn from the first day then matches will finish in 1-2 days . Is Dhoni a captain or a monster?

    That idea will be the best to convert 5 days to 1-2 days tests if the pitches spin from first days Also we won't need fast bowlers May be we won't need captain too

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 21:43 GMT

    @Full-Blooded-Wallop, thanks bro. Big up to you too. :)

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 28, 2011, 20:38 GMT

    @dravid_gravitas: But I have surely become your fan :)

  • mustufa on November 28, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Be careful with what you wish for.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    Dear fellow Indians, what all Dhoni is asking for is to provide with blatant spinning tracks for INTERNATIONAL MATCHES. He didn't say a SINGLE WORD about the tracks that our players get to PRACTICE on on a day to day basis. So, please stop your loose associations that providing spinning tracks for INTERNATIONAL MATCHES is what is causing us to LOSE overseas. Plain braindead associations. Go to Dharamshala and prepare 50 tracks that mimic England. Go to Mohali and surrounding areas to prepare tracks that mimic SA/Aus. Go to all the major cities/small towns and prepare 25 tracks each that mimic overseas tracks. Install speed guns for those tracks to pump up the pacers, if you will. Money doesn't add value just because you have it in your pocket, but because you can spend it. So, get on to BCCI's throat instead of dishing out braindead comments on Dhoni. BTW, I'm no Dhoni fan, but soon will become one if he continues to say that spinning tracks are sporting tracks. Jai Dhoni!

  • Texmex on November 28, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    Dhoni's comments are valid. All home teams make pitches to suit them.

  • on November 28, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    This is why India will fail outside the subcontinent. Dhoni continues to be another thoughtless limb of the BCCI and proves their long term plan is one of insolence.

  • ROLAYH on November 28, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    @nikhilshahb ... you already wrote what I wanted to say... agree with you 100 percent...

  • ROLAYH on November 28, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    Dhoni is rapidly loosing respect I had for him with such ridicolous comments... Instead of asking for supporting tracks he wants to hide behind the shell of spinners. It will only strengthen Indian image of being "Lions at home, goat abroad".... I think Gangully was much better captain than him, alas he lost the world cup..

  • indianzen on November 28, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    I think Ashwin bowled and batted superbly to bring up things, though it could have been a win for India, yet we cannot tell that all our tail enders can hit...

  • Nampally on November 28, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    If the ball spins from Day 1 as it did on Day 5 in Mumbai, then will the pitch not break up? I think the pitch was taking spin on Day 4 too but did not have the bounce of Day 5. It is the combination of turn & bounce that caused problems. The reason for spin was the rough marks left by the bowlers on a red soil pitch which often starts breaking up from Day 4 onwards. This was predicted by the curator early on in the match. So this should not be surprising.In this match it may have lasted little longer before becoming a turner.Ojha & Ashwin exploited this better because of weakness of WI batsmen against spin. Five day tests needs a five day pitch which means you cannot have a turner from Day 1. If Dhoni wants a turner from Day 1, then the match would be over in 3 days.Dhoni needs to discuss this with the curator & understand the mechanism of red soil base pitches. There is lot more to pitches than the players know thats why we have knowledgable curators preparing the pitches.

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 28, 2011, 1:39 GMT

    Amazing points dravid_gravitas. We can definitely prepare bouncy and all kinds of tracks for domestic cricket. But for Test matches, it should be turning track right from day1. Why not use the home benefit and exploit the world's weakness of playing spin? :)

  • nikhilshahb on November 28, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    Dhoni does seem to realize that Zaheer, Nehra, Irfan and Munaf were as a result of Ganguly's effort in Indian conditions. He seems to have discouraged Yadav and Varun in SA and England and denied them of the new ball using Praveen Kumar. Depriving Varun and Yadav and giving them short spells discourages them to pick. Even if the pitches are un-responsive he should give Varun and Yadav a longer spell and not rush into using spinners and also hope there will turn on day one. Ganguly transformed the Indian mindset better than any other captain of our time, which it not lobby too much for line-n-length, spin-centric bowling attacks. We have tried this approach for 80 years and have not been able to win in Australia and SA.

  • McGorium on November 28, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    @ Dravid_Gravitas: As I understand it, the curator typically prepares at least two pitches for each major game, and picks one a week or so before the real game to finish. This provides some redundancy in the event of errors, weather issues, random variation and so forth. AFAIK, it takes at least a month or so to prepare a test-quality pitch (relatively even bounce, that will last for 5 days without fault-lines opening up). Most cricket grounds have around 3 or max 4 tracks. Given that games are played with greater frequency than the time available to prepare a pitch, I expect that a good number of pitches will be played on these slow turners. Not an issue, as I stated earlier, if the objective is to provide home spinners a huge advantage. It is an issue if you want to develop 20 yr olds like Aaron by having them bowl a significant no of overs on tracks that provide them some assistance, instead of just taking the shine off the new ball, and later, if reverse swing is on offer, using it

  • McGorium on November 28, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    @ SRT_GENIUS: I know what Dravid_Gravitas is trying to say. At any rate, the idea that spinning tracks are sporting is neither new nor terribly controversial. People only complain (mostly sponsors) when the turn is such that the match ends in 3 days with neither side making more than 250, and this criticism is equally valid for a pitch that has massive seam movement. I don't think Dhoni is calling for such pitches. My point was that bounce > turn, and I would rather see a wicket that had bounce than turn, so that the quicks have a useful role to play. Otherwise, it'll be a throwback to the 90s, where people like Kumble would pick wickets by the bucketloads at home, and return wicketless on less friendly wickets abroad. Conversely, the quicks and batsmen have no experience playing on bouncier surfaces, and get found out abroad. I'm calling for a balance, with emphasis on bounce rather than turn. Bombay has a wicket with decent bounce (e.g. WC final), but not this time. Unfortunate, IMHO

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    @SRT_GENIUS, that's exactly my point. I mean, Dhoni's point.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 27, 2011, 23:30 GMT

    I think BCCI is the most unhelpful board for the home team. The other way to look at it is BCCI is the only board that is close to providing a level playing field for both the teams. The most influential captain has to go on record in a press conference as to what he wants from home pitches. That's the least BCCI should be doing for us. It's not as though he asked for special balls to be provided for matches as England did by using some special Duke balls of 2010 specifications in the recent series against us on specially prepared pitches. That's home advantage alright. I'm not asking BCCI to behave like them. But the least BCCI needs to do is to provide spinning tracks from the first ball. Is there a rule that spinners shouldn't open the bowling? Look what Ojh and Ash are capable of even with new ball, even if there is slight assistance to spin bowlers! Will England ever welcome you with spin tracks? Then why this obsession with pace tracks and their hilarious definitions?

  • SRT_GENIUS on November 27, 2011, 22:42 GMT

    @McGorium: 1st, there are multiple pitches on the ground. So the ones used for domestic can be physically different from international. 2nd: Same pitch can be prepared differently for a different game in terms of grass, moisture, roller etc. 3rd: there are tonnes of grounds where tests are not played but they do have 1st class matches. Bounce may help spinners too, but you are missing the bigger argument as noted by Dravid_g.. Dhoni is saying pure spinning pitches are sporting pitches too - its a paradigm shift. For a moment exit this discussion and think what it means.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 27, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    @McGorium, of course, different kinds of wickets can be prepared side by side even in one given stadium. Why not? Not hard at all.

  • Vilander on November 27, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    If india did not have a ridiculous 250 runs to chase of 50 odd overs then they would not have lost so many wickets, but west indies did loose all their wiclets for 150 odd runs, this means there is a skill element. Raging turners are as sporting as swinging or bouncing wickets, they are a test to batsmanship and so are good, we can have flat tracks for t20's balanced ones for ODI's and sporting tracks for tests. And TBH india have won tests in SA and AUS came close to winning 1 series in both the places. They have won in every other country, Indian inability to cope with fast tracks is a myth.

  • McGorium on November 27, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas: I don't see how a policy of having pitches that turn from day one will not affect the nature of domestic pitches. They are, after all, the same pitches. It's not an on-off switch that you suddenly decide to turn on the bounce and carry, and turn it off later. I don't think turners are unsporting. Not at all. However, it puts an entire aspect of bowling, namely the quicks out of all home games, and I submit that it is not helpful for their own development, if they bowl 15 overs an innings, and spend the rest of the time fielding at fine leg, in 50% of the games they play (i.e. at home). Then, when you tour Aus, SA, NZ or Eng, these second-class citizens are expected to pick 20 wickets. I don't see how that will happen. Remember, once the graduate to intl. cricket they hardly play any domestic games. IMHO, Dhoni is wrong. We need pitches with bounce, not turn. Bounce helps spinners and quicks, and batsmen too. Turn is optional. We don't need Kumble Krumblers for sure.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 27, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    @afs_talyarkhan, preparing spinning pitches for an international series between two countries doesn't mean that's what our batsmen and bowlers are going to get to practice on domestically. Dhoni is pressing forward the great point that spinning tracks are sporting tracks and may be he wants to put an end to these laughable terms like flat, dead, lifeless, dustbowls etc that are used by some gentlemen against our spinning pitches. If they are so flat and dead why can't those gentlemen come and win in India? With regards to Warne - he is a wrist spinner. Finger spinners get effected with pitches. Yes prepare, fast tracks for our batsmen and bowlers to practice on. But don't make them available for international assignments unless the series is in our pockets. Which non-subcontinent countries ever provided rank turners for an international series, especially if it involves India as their opponent? None. Sporting tracks don't mean fast tracks only, as some gentlemen would have you believe.

  • on November 27, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    Dhoni is very much in his rights to ask for what he wants, that is what other captains do in closed quarters. Indian batsmen have proved that they can play in seaming, bouncy, spinning and flat tracks all over the world. Why can't the Ozs, Eng and SA boys do that ? Why would they always criticise India's pitches ? Even a rookie like Cummins has the gut to say that he wants to have a go at Sachin, why ? He knows he will be given a nice fast track. What sachin's response will be is a different thing.

  • hems4cric on November 27, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    From all the comments, it looks like only Indian players need to prove they are good playing overseas on "fast and bouncy, swinging conditions". It seems assumed that all players from other countries don't need to do that as long as they play well in their 'home' conditions. How come other players don't have this "overseas" criteria for all of us to agree that they are good??

  • shaaf88 on November 27, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    How many times we hear the same cry from our players but our board not responding.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 27, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    Dear peoples of India, please get Dhoni's point. Preparing turning pitches for INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS doesn't mean that fast tracks won't be available for our batsmen and bowlers domestically. He is becoming the mouthpiece of Indian Pitches that spin viciously, that are being branded by some gentlemen as either dead or flat or dangerous or substandard or underprepared or lifeless or dust bowls and blah blah blah blah....I'm thoroughly impressed with Dhoni. The most influential captain of present day cricket is not mincing his words and this should surely send shivers down the spines of those gentlemen who can't play spin. IF sporting and challenging is what they claim their tracks are, then why can't they play that challenging sport in India? Ring some bells? Yeah, what they think as challenging and sporting should be deemed as such by all and sundry. Dhoni is saying, WTH you all are talking about? SPINNING TRACKS ARE SPORTING TRACKS. PLEASE COME AND PLAY HERE. Hats off to him!

  • Vishal_07 on November 27, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    Its funny how most of the people opposed to turning pitches are Englishmen and some Aussies who have no clue how to play spin. Most of the spinners would just run through their batting line up (is how Warne got boatload of wickets and he was ineffective against the Indians).

    For those saying India has poor records away haven't been following cricket for the last decade (one could say the same things against Eng and Aus, where they haven't won very many matches in India).

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 27, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    @davidpk, and it's not as though England has set the Indian stadia on fire when they travel to India. And what do you think could be the reasons for England getting maulled when they travel to India, be it in Tests or ODIs or World Cups...? Some people are branding these as flat, dead and are continuing to live in denial, though their players are repeatedly found out on these tracks. A spinning track is a sporting track. Period! @Elphenomo, hats off to you bro. Can't agree more. There's a reason why Gavaskar, Viv, Marshall, Sachin, Kallis, Holding, Roberts, Dravid, Steyn, Garner etc.. are respected the world over - they had enviable success on all the different kinds of tracks. How many batsmen or bowlers can we really think of who had success in different conditions on different tracks. Even the Great Ponting struggled in India. People should learn to respect different conditions instead of stereotyping everything different from what they have as flat, dead, lifeless etc.

  • on November 27, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    @RandyOZ: There record is not any more pathetic in Aus,SA,Eng than what is the record of these countries in India. Does this mean Aus,SA and Eng should start preparing turning tracks in there countries to improve there record in India/Subcontinent ?

  • itsthewayuplay on November 27, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    The best wickets are the ones where bowlers have to work for their wickets and batsmen have to work for their runs. That said, bowler friendly wickets are infinately preferable to batsmen friendly ones. I have no problem if the pitches favour spinners in India but where batsmen can flick Edwards bowling @ 90mph off the stumps and Ashwin scores a century where the likes of the Big 3 don't tells you this not a sporting wicket. Low scoring games highlighted by the 2nd innings of this match and the SA first innings and Aus 2nd during the 1st test earlier this month make for the most entertaining and compelling cricket. Leave high scoring games / run rates to ODIs and T20s and let tests be the genuine test of skill and application for batsmen. Scores of 250-280 in tests should be defendable otherwise your bowlers are not good enough in which case you don't deserve to win.

  • RandyOZ on November 27, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    Well its ok to have a turner, but this will not help them improve their absolutely pathetic record outside India. They've never won in Oz or SA, and this will continue if they produce these types of pitches!

  • stormy16 on November 27, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    Wasnt this one of the best wickets given after five days, the last over of the game still could result in all 4 results - how much better can it get. I would imagine that would be a perfect pitch althought I didnt see the first 4 days of the game. Also if it turned from day 1 its possible the game would have been over by day 3 or 4 so not sure why Dhoni wants to change that. Finally yes the ICC doesnt want pitches that turn from day one but appear happy when the game is over in 3 days and two teams are bowled under 100 in Newlands.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on November 27, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    Dhoni has taken leave of his senses. Does he want wickets like the one in Mumbai a few years ago where the game was over in two days? Of course the toss should have an influence on the game - what is the point of tossing otherwise? You could just take turns batting first. A few years ago Kapil Dev was given the job by the BCCI of heading a commission which would look at creating sporting pitches. Today the Indian captain calls for pitches which turn from day 1? This is madness - not only will it discourage fast bowlers but it will mean our batsmen can't handle the juicier tracks in Kingsmead, Headingley and Perth. We will see more 4-0 away results. Yes spinners should be encouraged but the great spinners like Warne could take wickets on any track - they could use changes of pace, variety of deliveries and changes in flight to deceive the batsman. Leg spinners would thrive on bouncier, pacier tracks.

  • Paddle_Sweep on November 27, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    Dead pitches will kill whatever medium pace bowling that's still left in India. We want pitches to turn from day 4 & 5 but have a bit more bounce on days 1 & 2.

  • mritunjai on November 27, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    by turn from first day, Dhoni meant help for bowlers. And he said turn because that is what home advantage means...fast pitches can be prepared for domestic matches but for international matches India should get home advantage...

  • on November 27, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    i agree with him. we making bouncy pitches in India is like England preparing turning tracks just so their batsman don't struggle when they visit sub continent which is plain stupid, always play to your strengths

  • on November 27, 2011, 8:02 GMT

    What is it with the double standards? When other countries play to their strengths at home & prepare pitches which assist the quicks for all 5 days, then why do people or the ICC not have a problem? Why is it that it is a problem only when pitches are sought assisting turn for tweakers rather than help for pacers for all 5 days? In case people have forgotten, there is something called home advantage, which all countries have the right to exploit.. and should. That is all MSD is asking for... what's wrong in that?

  • on November 27, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Glad that Dhoni spoke in favor of spinning pitches. It's amusing when people all over refer to a "sporting" or "true" pitch only when they are supporting pacers and fast men with even bounce throughout. Just like a bowler should be ready to bowl on any surface, for a batsman - a spinning wicket is as much a test of technique and temperament as a seaming greentop or a quick, bouncy pitch. Different countries have different nature of top soil - they must make wickets to suit their home team. Only then the average player would learn to adapt on any surface. The truly class acts would rise above those by virtue of skill and technique anyway.

  • Trickstar on November 27, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    LOL I bet he does but if he got what he wanted the already comedy levels of fast bowling in India will rapidly decrease, as well as the Indian team themselves not being able to compete once they leave the sub continent because they wouldn't be used to playing fast bowling on pitches with a bit of life, so I say yes give him what he wants.

  • on November 27, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    would u like Dhoni if we all do that around the world too, what else would u like?ill add it to your wish list, you dont sound one bit desperate.

  • Ramesh_Joseph on November 27, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Its not about any mindset. If you look at some of the pitches in England they are nearly as green as the outfield. This is the case even in one-dayers. I remember James Anderson saying it is all about home advantage ie to assist the England seamers. In Australia and South Africa they prepare hard concrete like pitches to aid their quicks. So every country prepares pitches to their strengths and opposition's weakness. Why is it good to have seaming and bouncing pitches but not good to have spinning tracks. if Indian batsmen have to be equipped to handle bouncing tracks, the change should be in the domestic Ranjii trophy wickets. Dhoni is correct regarding tracks for International matches.

  • abhilash.medhi on November 27, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    @McGorium: Dead pitches aren't the only reason why India doesn't produce quality fast bowlers. Pakistan has 'deader' pitches but still produces plenty of fast bowlers. And what is that about having to relay the Kotla wicket for bounce? No one I can remember has said anything about taking Perth off the list of test match venues for being too fast.

  • on November 27, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    My advice for the coach and players is when you are faced with a situation wherein you are in the last day of the match, just focus on batting out a session before tea. In Samuel's case when 4 wickets was down he should have calculated in his mind that if I occupy the crease long enough then I would reduce the time for India to go after these runs. West indies batsmen should learn the art of time management; have a team or lecture discussion on how to prioritize your time when pressure intensifies on the field of cricket.I prophesy that if west indies team learn the art of time management this present crop of young players would become one of the greatest teams in the annuls of west indies cricket

  • backwardpoint on November 27, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    What about the fast bowling stock, Dhoni? Where is the replacement for Z Khan? Or did we just decide to have 8 spinners in the team instead. 4 fulltime and 4 part time.

  • bobagorof on November 27, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    I think there should be a variety of pitches around the world, and certainly Indian pitches are more conducive to spin than to pace - but suggesting that a pitch should encourage a loss of 17 wickets from the first day is probably going a little bit too far. Matches should be interesting, and allow play to unfold - batsmen need to be challenged, but also need to be able to post scores of 250-350 per innings. Spin in integral t the game, and an important part of any bowling attack - and it's better to have a low scoring result than a high scoring draw. But if India want to continue to struggle away because they do not develop fast bowlers, be my guest.

  • onphel1 on November 27, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    Pakistan pitches are indifferent to Indian's. It's the "fast bowling" culture, not the pitches. South Australian Adelaide pitch is as flat as anything, yet Jason Gillespie and Shaun Tait are from there. Peter Siddle is from Melbourne and the pitch at MCG is not as fast and "bouncy" as you think. Glen Mcgrath from Sydney and the pitch at SCG extremely similar to Indian pitches. Same goes with the pitches in various regions of South Africa. Mohali is the bounciest pitch in India and why hasn't Punjab produced tear away "150+" fast bowlers.

  • dsig3 on November 27, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    A turning pitch is better than a flat track but what India fail to understand is that a good wicket gives assistance to everyone not just spinners. The recent SA series had wickets which assisted everyone and required skill to bat on. I wonder what the fast bowlers and coaches though of his comments?

  • onphel1 on November 27, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Mr Dhoni, I am with you. I prefer uniqueness over uniformity. Swinging English conditions, bouncy Southern hemispheric conditions, semi bouncy Carribean conditions, turning sub-continent conditions. They all add to the beauty and diversity of Test cricket, hence the term "test" comes into play appropriately.

  • jmcilhinney on November 27, 2011, 2:16 GMT

    I can't say that I agree with this idea. We all know that cricket pitches deteriorate over time. If you start with a wicket on day 1 that turns like a day 5 pitch, what will it be like on day 5? An ideal test wicket will provide some assistance for quick bowlers early, get easier for batsmen in the middle and then assist spinners towards the end. India already have problems playing quick bowlers outside the subcontinent and this would only exacerbate the issue. England have problems playing spin, particularly on the subcontinent, because there are very few good spinners in England because the wickets don't help them. There will always be some natural variation between grounds and between countries but international cricket would be best served if all countries produced wickets that provided a fair contest between batsmen and both quick and spin bowlers. Wickets that spin from day 1 would make fast bowling - already a very tough task - almost worthless. Great idea.

  • on November 27, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    What Dhoni says is 100% correct.. We MUST play to our strengths when we play at home.. Test/Oneday cricket is not the time to groom young talents.. Pitches must be conducive to fast bowling in Ranji/Duleep trophy matches so that the youngsters can learn the art of bowling.. I would like to see BCCI come up with a policy of making it mandatory for every fast bowler under contracts with BCCI (Grade A/B/C) to play atleast 1 year of county cricket in UK where they learn to play different pitches.. Same for the batsmen too..

  • on November 27, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    We should have all kinds of sporting pitches. Either spinning on day one, or helping swing or pace bowlers on day one, or deteriorating fast as the match progresses. But definitely we should not have flat pitches. Nobody wants to spend five days watching a game where thousands of runs are scored without any result

  • Raju_Iyer on November 27, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    Come on Guys, instead of appreciating Dhoni's forthrightness in saying he would like to make the toss less relevant, we should not come down harshly on him. How did good bowlers liike Kapil Dev, Srinath, Zaheer etc. come up if our pitches were that bad? No one can make an ideal pitch, let's ensure we have sporting pitches not dead ones if we want more result oriented Test cricket.

  • me54321 on November 27, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    Dhoni doesn't tend to say much I agree with, and this is another example. Just because he doesn't have particularly good pacemen at his disposal, he seems to want to do away with that element completely. Not a good attitude for the game, or for the Indian team. Pitches need bounce, it helps everyone.

  • Silloh on November 27, 2011, 0:18 GMT

    Can't believe that Dhoni will say such a thing ...pitches to turn from day one. Must be misquoted as this will certainly not assist in developing the players and the consequential negative results would be higlighted when India plays outside their country.

  • WhenDWestwas1 on November 26, 2011, 23:43 GMT

    This is not a very smart statement to make coming from the Indian captain. To have turning pitches in the first day of a test will restrict the growth of your fast bowlers and batsman. Because of the theory that most sub continent teams can not play the rising ball. Also India should ask their neighbors the Pakistanis how to design a test wicket that is helpful to both spin and pace bowlers.

  • VivGilchrist on November 26, 2011, 23:22 GMT

    As an Aussie, I cannot see this Indian bowling attack holding much fear. Ishant may get some bounce over here but to see the spinners get 90% of wickets for India in this current series is a worry.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 26, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    I agree with Dhoni completely here. If quicks take wickets on physically dangerous quick wickets, that's proper wicket but if spinners take wickets on spinning tracks then that should be reported to ICC as substandard, underprepared and/or dangerous. LOL..Double standards. Hats off to Dhoni for not mincing his words. Yes, spinning wickets are challenging wickets just the way grazing field pitches in some parts of the world are termed as challenging wickets, it's just that they both test different skill sets of batsmen. Next thing, if quickies take wickets on helpful grazing fields, they are praised no end. But if batsmen score runs on helpful batting tracks they will be ridiculed. Double standards again. Dhoni is soon becoming the mouthpiece for the challenging tracks of the subcontinent, which were branded as flat tracks, batting paradises, dead tracks just because some gentlemen don't know how to play spin. Well said Dhoni. Shabhash! Keep it up! Enjoy your vacation with your Family!

  • on November 26, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    The only way for India to win test matches with their attack is if pitches turn from day 1. It wouldn't make for good test cricket as it would be predictable. A good test pitch has good bounce, seam movement in the first couple of sessions and progressive turn and detereoration throughout the 5 days..

  • mak102480 on November 26, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    going by some of the comments, does SA, eng, and aust want the death of spin bowling? dhoni is saying he would like 'some' turn on day 1 that 'tests' test match players. without the wear and tear on the first couple of days, turn doesn't do too much harm...he is not asking for pitches like mumbai 2004 (vs. australia) and kanpur 2004 (vs. sa).

  • on November 26, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    has england ever produced spinning wickets??? or for that matter australia or south africa??? if fast bouncy pitches are sporting wickets there, then spinning wickets are sporting pitches in india. whats negative/defensive about what MS said? if we can not win series abroad then the others too can not beat us here. so we are as good as others. england can never win outside of england. we still manage to draw series abroad. except the last one that we played. u r right MS we should play to our strengths at home.

  • on November 26, 2011, 21:08 GMT

    SURPRISES DO HAPPEN IN TEST CRICKET -NOT TO OFTEN THOUGH TO MINIMISE RESULT ORIENTED CHRACTER OF ODI. TENDULKER 100 WLD HV BEEN A` DEFINATE FEATURE. IT DID NOT - SHOULD HE HAVE BEEN GIFTED? I DON'T THINK SO, NOR A PRIVILAGE OF A BOWLER. OF ALL THE IRONIES, THIS IS TEST CRICKET - THE FINAL TEST OF FITNESS. BUT HE WILL MAKE IT, HE HAS EARNED IT.

    - WAS THERE A DEAD DRAW IN A TEST DURING FRANK WORREL TEAM IN ASUTRALIA IN 60s. THAT SERIES TURNED A NEW LEAF IN TEST CRIKECT - CAN SOMEONE CONFIRM THIS RESULT!

    INTERSETINGLY, ITS ALSO WHEN SOBERS MARRIED AN AUSTRALIAN DURING THIS TOUR. I THINK SO!! NO?

  • Dilmah82 on November 26, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    The problem with the Galle pitch was not that it was turning from Day 1, rather that there was variable/inconsistant bounce from Day 1! Dhoni's idea would maintain India's supremecy at home...but good luck to them when they travel overseas. This make result in more whitewash losses as this would impact the growth and development and techniques of not only the fast bowlers, but batsman also.

  • mrmonty on November 26, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    @McGorium and chesumne, just like spin bowlers in SA and Aus. Why are considered fast bowlers higher forms of life than spinners! Why don't Aus and SA teams have more spinners?

  • nikhilshahb on November 26, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    Why do you think Dhoni was rested for the next ODI series against WI? As I had mentioned earlier, India's problem started when Jaidev Unadkant was selected ahead of Umesh Yadav in the last SA tour. Dhoni's preference for line-n-length approach and over using PK along with a strong spin oriented attack in Tests has not augered well internally among cricketing circles. He kept Yadav and Aaron to minimal spells, opened the bowling in Tests with Ashwin and Ojha. No sensible cricketer will like it. The reason India was number one in Tests was because of the top order and also infusing more pace and using ishant and Sreesanth to support Zaheer. By resting him they will see that Aaron will get a chance ahead of the dibly-doblers like PK and VK.

  • on November 26, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    He isnt asking for a wicket that'll turn square.What he meant was probably that it should stay even so that the toss doesnt affect the game so very much.If a wickets assists spinners,it doesnt mean that it has nothing for the faster bowlers,something like SCG or M. Chinnaswamy Stadium,Banglore.And as far as India and its fast bowlers are concerned,there are some good fast bowlers in countries like Srilanka and Pakistan as well,where conditions are almost the same.Also there are pitches in England where the ball swings all 5 days,so whats the problem with the ball turning all 5 days?In pitches like these(Wankhede),the first 3-4 days of a test match doesnt matter as happened in this test match.That is why it should stay even,After all,its a 5 day game!

  • TWIC on November 26, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    Can we please get over the Galle pitch debacle? SL cricket fans have a lot more issues to worry about... Like surviving 5 days in SA with their batting the way it is.

    Onto to Dhoni's comments, if he wants a pitch to turn for Ashwin, Ojha and maybe Bajji, all finger spinners and favorites of the selectors, from day one, can you imagine what would happen if a touring team were to play 2 wrist spinners, as well as 2 fast bowlers? With a pitch breaking up and cracking on day 4 and 5, even the bravest would take Ashwin and Ojha over any wrist spinner.

  • on November 26, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    i don't agree with Mr. dhoni it will kill fast bowling which is already going to die

  • ssenthil on November 26, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    People crying about fast bowlers there are more Pitches in Aus, Eng, SA and NZ to help them while only 2 countries can have a turning track. What's wrong in having half of the rank turners? When both teams bundled under 100 in a track, never mind if that is green top is called exciting sporting pitch then a track offering turning also sportive wicket. A Batsman class was shown when they able to play, Fast, Swing, Seam, bounce and Spin as well. There were times long ago the pitch was not covered to offer turn, those were great times and only Tests were played. Jim Laker who taken 19 wickets in a match ofcourse is a spinner and from England. Get with Turning tracks at least in 2 countries.

  • bumsonseats on November 26, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    well of course you want them to turn 1st day. your team is built round them to do that, thats why spinners can be on from inside the 1st 10 overs. thats the reason you get beat 4 - 0 in the uk. this to me was a good test because wi won the toss. if india had won that the wi would have been beaten by an innings. india are just flat track bullies. on wickets were you have to show abit a bravery u have been found wanting. dpk

  • kingcobra85 on November 26, 2011, 19:33 GMT

    if eng can produce green tops ...why not brown tops for India

  • KiwiPom on November 26, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    The bane of test cricket at present, as Chesumsne has said, is that pitches get easier to bat on during the 4th & 5th days. This has been the case in NZ ever since I've been here in 1970 and is now the norm for everywhere outside the subcontinent. The orthodox finger spinner has virtually been driven out of the game. What Dhoni has said I totally agree with. We need pitches with pace, turn, and bounce right from the start - AND which maintain the same characteristics right through the match. Impossible dream? Maybe but that's the ideal.

  • PACERONE on November 26, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    Well no wonder England put a beating on India recently.it there were fast bouncy pitches India would suffer.Look at how easy and often the english quickies took wickets.Broad was made to look like Lillee.They are not better against spin.Bishoo and Samuel were the West Indian spinners.The tall Benn would of cause havoc on this pitch.He would of done the same on the spinning wickets in the west Indies.But Benn has not apologized to WICB or whatever the reason for him not been selected.The Aussies should prepare bouncy pitches to face India.India left out the toughest Indian player.Aswin will find out Australia is not West Indies.Australia also catch well.

  • ElPhenomeno on November 26, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    I don't think dhoni is asking the rest of the world to oblige. He can't control rest of the world. He just wants indian pitches to do more. If others can prepare pitches that suit them, why shouldn't india?

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    I support Dhoni. Curators should understand home team's strength and prepare pitches. All countries do that. And for people who say it will hamper our fast bowlers, its ridiculous claim. Aus though had fast bouncy wickets produces worldclass Shane warne. Pakistan having lat tracks produces Imran Wasim. England produces Swann. There is no wrong in preparing spin track. Only thing is bounce should not be uneven from day 1.

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    Surprsiing - MSD has really defensive mind. OZ, WI, NZ End and Pak have all produced top quality fast bowlers this way we will never be able to reach that in test cricket. Please produce fast pitches from day one so India can also produce top grade bowlers.

  • palla.avinash on November 26, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    well i give mu full support to u dhoni , if england can make pitches which suit swing bowlers and south africa for seamers why cant india make spin in hot sun and win every match.actually indian curators give some thing for opposition to work out,but making spin pitches wont end matches on 3 days as indians play spinners well and opposition who doesn't play well will loose any team should play on any kind of tracks.icc should not interfere on pitches unless it is danger like kotla once,u think kanpur and galle deserve more apprecation for making huge spin tracks.who knows india might more convincingly if they make spin tracks.if england makes pitches in cool conditions india should make spin pitches oin hot and humid conditions which suits our strength and hope icc and bcci understand what he is trying to say it ,please post it cricinfo,thank u.

  • miv1 on November 26, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    Unfortunately, ICC doesn't want such pitches. Galle turned from day 1 and was reported as a bad pitch.

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:03 GMT

    Wow..thats a really defensive mindset. If we have spinning tracks from day one, we will NEVER be able to groom bowlers like Yadav & Aaron. They will just die a slow painful death (not literally ofcourse). What we need instead wickets with bounce for the first 2-3 days and then the track should take spin. That will also be entertaining cricket. We might lose a couple of home test series for a while but in the long run it would make us world beaters.

  • chesumsne on November 26, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    Does Dhoni want to hasten the death of fast bowling? Pitches that turn on Day 1? He wants to play 4 spinners or what? Fast bowlers already have it so hard as many of the world's pitches are getting flatter and flatter... And India's pitches are already a cemetary for the quicks. Keep dreaming Dhoni. The rest of tbe world will never oblige.

  • on November 26, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    We all know what happened when the Galle test between Aus and SL turned from day 1. Made for a fascinating contest but the ICC decided to warn Galle.

  • McGorium on November 26, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    And what of the fast bowlers? Indian wickets will always help spinners; it is a given. That does not mean that we produce wickets with no bounce, so that fast bowlers are rendered useless. The Bombay pitch usually has some bounce for quicks (not this time). Tracks like Ferozeshah Kotla must be relaid for bounce (or taken off the test list of stadiums). Wasim Akram (and others) are right when they say that the reason India doesn't produce good fast bowlers is because we make such dead pitches for quicks. Nearly 50% of games are played at home, and that means that we have space only for 2 quicks, tops, who get maybe 15 overs an innings max. Where's the encouragement?

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  • McGorium on November 26, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    And what of the fast bowlers? Indian wickets will always help spinners; it is a given. That does not mean that we produce wickets with no bounce, so that fast bowlers are rendered useless. The Bombay pitch usually has some bounce for quicks (not this time). Tracks like Ferozeshah Kotla must be relaid for bounce (or taken off the test list of stadiums). Wasim Akram (and others) are right when they say that the reason India doesn't produce good fast bowlers is because we make such dead pitches for quicks. Nearly 50% of games are played at home, and that means that we have space only for 2 quicks, tops, who get maybe 15 overs an innings max. Where's the encouragement?

  • on November 26, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    We all know what happened when the Galle test between Aus and SL turned from day 1. Made for a fascinating contest but the ICC decided to warn Galle.

  • chesumsne on November 26, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    Does Dhoni want to hasten the death of fast bowling? Pitches that turn on Day 1? He wants to play 4 spinners or what? Fast bowlers already have it so hard as many of the world's pitches are getting flatter and flatter... And India's pitches are already a cemetary for the quicks. Keep dreaming Dhoni. The rest of tbe world will never oblige.

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:03 GMT

    Wow..thats a really defensive mindset. If we have spinning tracks from day one, we will NEVER be able to groom bowlers like Yadav & Aaron. They will just die a slow painful death (not literally ofcourse). What we need instead wickets with bounce for the first 2-3 days and then the track should take spin. That will also be entertaining cricket. We might lose a couple of home test series for a while but in the long run it would make us world beaters.

  • miv1 on November 26, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    Unfortunately, ICC doesn't want such pitches. Galle turned from day 1 and was reported as a bad pitch.

  • palla.avinash on November 26, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    well i give mu full support to u dhoni , if england can make pitches which suit swing bowlers and south africa for seamers why cant india make spin in hot sun and win every match.actually indian curators give some thing for opposition to work out,but making spin pitches wont end matches on 3 days as indians play spinners well and opposition who doesn't play well will loose any team should play on any kind of tracks.icc should not interfere on pitches unless it is danger like kotla once,u think kanpur and galle deserve more apprecation for making huge spin tracks.who knows india might more convincingly if they make spin tracks.if england makes pitches in cool conditions india should make spin pitches oin hot and humid conditions which suits our strength and hope icc and bcci understand what he is trying to say it ,please post it cricinfo,thank u.

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    Surprsiing - MSD has really defensive mind. OZ, WI, NZ End and Pak have all produced top quality fast bowlers this way we will never be able to reach that in test cricket. Please produce fast pitches from day one so India can also produce top grade bowlers.

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    I support Dhoni. Curators should understand home team's strength and prepare pitches. All countries do that. And for people who say it will hamper our fast bowlers, its ridiculous claim. Aus though had fast bouncy wickets produces worldclass Shane warne. Pakistan having lat tracks produces Imran Wasim. England produces Swann. There is no wrong in preparing spin track. Only thing is bounce should not be uneven from day 1.

  • ElPhenomeno on November 26, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    I don't think dhoni is asking the rest of the world to oblige. He can't control rest of the world. He just wants indian pitches to do more. If others can prepare pitches that suit them, why shouldn't india?

  • PACERONE on November 26, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    Well no wonder England put a beating on India recently.it there were fast bouncy pitches India would suffer.Look at how easy and often the english quickies took wickets.Broad was made to look like Lillee.They are not better against spin.Bishoo and Samuel were the West Indian spinners.The tall Benn would of cause havoc on this pitch.He would of done the same on the spinning wickets in the west Indies.But Benn has not apologized to WICB or whatever the reason for him not been selected.The Aussies should prepare bouncy pitches to face India.India left out the toughest Indian player.Aswin will find out Australia is not West Indies.Australia also catch well.