Maharashtra v Uttar Pradesh, Ranji Trophy, Group B, Pune

Raina slams Maharashtra's defensive tactics

Amol Karhadkar in Pune

November 11, 2012

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

Suresh Raina guides one towards the off-side, India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 2nd day, September 1, 2012
Suresh Raina: "No bounce, no pace, no spin. There is literally nothing in it for the bowlers. They work so hard on their game, there has to be something in it for them." © Associated Press

When a team sets the opposition a target of 765 in a maximum of 169 overs in order to attain the first-innings lead, the game is as good as killed once the chasing side doesn't lose early wickets. Maharashtra's weird tactics in their Ranji Trophy season opener against Uttar Pradesh in Pune have drawn the ire of opposition captain Suresh Raina, who minced no words in criticising Dermot Reeve, the former England allrounder and newly-appointed Maharashtra coach.

"They have a foreign coach and he needs to teach good things to youngsters," Raina said after UP finished the penultimate day on 287 for 1 in reply to Maharashtra's 764 for 6 declared. "I am not against anyone but at the same time, he is earning [Rs] 30-40 lakh [3-4 million] per season, so he needs to teach youngsters in a good way. Two-and-a-half days. We can also do the same when they come to play against us next time, but we all have to keep on improving our cricket."

Had Maharashtra declared just after Kedar Jadhav completed a triple ton on the second evening, their bowlers would have got a shot at the tired UP openers. But they continued to bat till bat 35 minutes into the third morning on a track that just doesn't have any assistance for the bowlers.

"I am unhappy with the way they have approached the game," Raina said. "Perhaps they were scared of us. Jadhav played well and the captain [Rohit Motwani] as well but they needed to give us time to chase well. If they really want to achieve their goal of doing well in the Ranji Trophy, there's no point in batting for almost two-and-a-half days and asking us to chase 765. But still we managed to reach almost 300 today. You might see something different from the UP team tomorrow."

Howsoever optimistic Raina tried to be, he eventually admitted it was virtually impossible to score nearly 480 runs in a day. "We will see how it goes in the first session. I am slated to bat next and then we have Piyush [Chawla], Parvinder [Singh], Arish Alam as well, so we have a long batting line-up. Still you can't look to chase more than 460 on the last day. Somewhere around 340-350 is gettable but 460 is virtually out of question.

"I am not happy with these tactics. We won against Delhi and when we came here - this is their first game - I thought they would try and improve on where they had left last season. But they were safe, they were too defensive. Hopefully they will improve over the next couple of games."

It wasn't just the tactics. Raina was equally critical of the pitch which was nothing but a batsman's paradise. "No bounce, no pace, no spin. There is literally nothing in it for the bowlers. They work so hard on their game, there has to be something in it for them. There are some who need to pick a lot of wickets in order to come back into the Indian team but they can't do anything about it when you have such wickets."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by hnlns on (November 12, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

Definitely, there got to be a clause in Ranji rules where the team batting first cannot extend their innings beyond 150 overs at any cost. We have seen 3 matches with tall scores and first innings not even completed after 4 days and nearly 350 overs bowled. This is utterly disgusting and shameful state of affairs. No wonder India cannot produce good results when traveling overseas. One way to stop a team misusing the home condition as an advantage would be to devalue the first innings lead or victory by giving only 50% of the points (for the home team only) while an away win should carry 50% more than the normal points awarded for a win. This way, manipulations will be reduced to some extent at least and the tournament itself might look more balanced and reasonable. There has to be different weightage for home and away wins. This will help separate really good teams from ordinary ones in the competition.

Posted by raghavan88 on (November 12, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

Why are some teams producing dead tracks and looking for draws again this season?Are they not bothered about losing 3 points by not going for a win?Look at Punjab,they have 2 outright wins at their home pitch of Mohali and it has good pace and bounce for all these years.Another really good pitch is Bangalore which was once lifeless prior to 1996 World Cup.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

Suresh Raina has a point here. It was too defensive tactic by Maharashtra. Even though teams scoring 500 and 600 in this round are seeing teams overhaul that to take 3 points, but if Maharashtra were concerned, they should have increased their run-rate. The BCCI should enforce a rule that a team can bat upto only a maximum of overs, and if they continue they face a deduction of poin. ts

Posted by MandarSathe on (November 12, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

Moreover see what happened with Gujrat.... declared on score of 600.. and their opposition scored 700 batting second..Blame BCCI admins for state of pitches but don't blame teams, captains, coaches..... it might sound a negative tactic to bat on.. but they really have no option on runways....

Posted by MandarSathe on (November 12, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Dount count chickens until eggs are hatched...... It was fitting to see Raina goign for a duck after making atrocious statements like in article above... The final run difference between 2 sides is just 90 it was a perfect decision by Maharashtra /Dermot Reeve to bat on.... Yes MCA should be criticized for coming up with such runways... but Raina needs to be repreimanded by BCCI(if CSK... N Srinivasan really cares).. for making comments on reputed people like Dermot Reeve like he has done above... that language is straight from a street fight and doesn't suit for a state team's captain...

Posted by shrastogi on (November 12, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

I think Raina is spot on about the nature of the pitch at Pune. Such pitches serve no purpose. BCCI should look to prepare result oriented pitches. The domestic cricket should be so tight that players shouldnt find themselves at loss when they graduate to international level. We had two 4-0 results away and it looks like BCCI hasnt learned anything from those whitewashes. I read in the blog that BCCI's direction to curators is to prepare 550 runs first innings pitches which is another lopsided policy for 4 day game. The points award policy encourages pitches at Pune as there is no point in giving points on first innings lead. As of cricticising Maharashtra tactics - I dont think I have any problems as the nature of pitch demanded huge first innings total. Look at Gujarat- Saurashtra & TN-Karnataka games where sides with big 1st innings totals even after declaring lost points on first innings. Pitch is the culprit. BCCI are you listening ?

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

As long as first innings lead carries points, this will continue to happen. It is not really that difficult to solve the problem. First, stop calling a win as 'outright win', which would change the perception that a first innings lead is also a win of a lesser kind. It is not a win, it is just a draw. Second, stop giving points for first innings lead but only use them as tie-breakers at the end of the league, to decide between teams tied on equal points. Third, bonus points could be given for winning games with 2 or 3 sessions remaining. This would automatically prevent home teams from preparing dead pitches, and then gambling on the toss and batting for all eternity. It would also encourage sporting declarations to push for a quick victory.

Posted by dhoni_sachin_fan on (November 12, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

Raina slams Pune for producing a batsman friendly pitch.......and gets out for a duck....And we talk about this guy getting into the national test squad...What a joke!

Posted by BrianCharlesVivek on (November 12, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

Ironically, this comment is from some one who thrives only on No bounce, No pace, no spin pitches. This is how you made your career in the national team and when it comes back , why complain??

Posted by rohanbala on (November 12, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

Teams piling up runs on docile and benign pitches in India is not an isolated event. It is just that the UP team was at the receiving end and Suresh Raina is captaining UP against Maharashtra. Instead of blaming the opposition Coach to educate the youngsters in the Maharashtra team, Raina should have voiced his disapproval at the state of the pitch to BCCI. This is like barking up the wrong tree. One question to Raina - would you have declared the UP innings after reaching 300 or 400 on batting first?

Posted by Bruisers on (November 12, 2012, 6:51 GMT)

@mashrurR - Okay, lets make NCL and BPL the most important tournaments. Afterall Bangladesh is the No.1 team in all formats of the game, isn't it?

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (November 12, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

While Raina's outburst is justified, I think Maharashtra decision is also correct..if the pitch is damn flat, why would Maharashtra give a chance to UP to outscore them in the first inning? The Pitch and the format of the tournament is to be blamed for this..

Posted by Rohan_K on (November 12, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

Raina's point may be correct, but what do you find different in Kanpur(The worst Test centre in India). Generally a dead wicket, with low or no bounce at all. At times they have produced rank turners on request of Indian captains, but the general nature remains the same slow, low and dead wickets. No point in criticizing the coach or curator if his team commits the same mistake at home or for that matter most domestic teams. If he wants to improve his cricket than better leave IPL of a season and go to England or Australia and play 4-day games in their domestic circuit.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

I agree with raina, its very arrogant decision by the coach to go for 2.5 days batting, they could have declared when they have reached 600, as raina said, maharasthtra coach was scared of them. I think the only intention is to play K Jadhav to get his 300 and force national committee to select him.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 3:58 GMT)

There is no point in playing this kind of cricket teaching defensive cricket that too in this kind of wicket, Its good that some one like raina is much better than i thought and comes out with his view on this. He may be young to say "They should teach good things " but thats what is needed, they need to teach people good cricket not how to get two-three points in the easiest way !

Posted by PointFielder on (November 12, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

Is it the same Suresh Raina complaining who scored 200 plus in last Ranji season ? How the views change when the opposition knocks a triple. Maybe he is disappointed because he failed ot knock yet another double on this flat track and impress selectors. hmmm..

Posted by AdityaRavindran on (November 12, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

Maharashtra have accessed the pitch and have ensured that there is no chance UP can overtake them in first innings. They went into defensive mode so that they dont concede first innings lead. The real culprit here is definitely the pitch. Just as how officials black-mark a pitch that doesn't suit batting, this should also be treated in the same way. You make pitches like these and complain that India is not producing fast bowlers...

Posted by hnlns on (November 12, 2012, 2:59 GMT)

Raina should have also talked on how such negative tactics must have a penalty clause, in terms of points docked for the team which dragged their first innings for so long or ways to bring life into such meaningless matches by restricting first innings to a maximum of 125 overs or so and then declaring the winner based on how much each team scores in those overs. Only weather interruption should result in an incomplete first innings, no other factors should be allowed to make the matches meaningless. It is lifeless pitches like the one in Pune which expose our batsmen very badly when they travel overseas. Centers like Pune must be removed from hosting matches for one whole season for having provided such playing conditions. In summary, penalties got to be quite harsh when dealing with such negative tactics. I see very much similar happening in one or two other matches, like in Chennai which deserve severe criticism and penalties too.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

this is the reason indian players don't bat well in foreign conditions like in eng, aus, sa or nz. This is the reason raina flops in these conditions. Pitches where clubs make 700s, 800s, 900s like the last season where jadeja scored 300-odd runs flat decks.......and then when taken to australia.....even australian tailenders batted well than him. also how will the bowlers improve on flat decks.

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 12, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

Raina is absolutely correct here. All experts questions his ability and other youngsters to play test cricket, but where he can improve if you keep dishing such third-class pitches. In ODI and T-20 he bats at most difficult positions with no time to settle in and there are more chance to loose his wicket. In test cricket he bats with tail enders who are not that good as well, what can a young men do? Sometime experts and critics don;t use their brain at all.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 12, 2012, 2:04 GMT)

For all the hype about the new Ranji Trophy, it remains the same. First innings lead remains the sole objective seen in the manner of scoring massive scores and local groundsmen catering to the strengths of the home team. I have always felt that changing the point system etc, will not make any difference.What is needed is to have only 90 overs in the innings.That will ensure that teams play fast and build scores which culture will ensure everything. Good defence stroke-play and planning will then come to the fore.That apart it will also facilitate good bowling and batting and prepare the players for both versions of the game. The BCCI should also ensure that a penalty is imposed on Associations which prepare tracks like the one in Pune. There should be no games allotted to them for 2 years or some financial imposition.When you have only cricketers in the Technical panel such things can happen.Some thinkers of the game could have made the difference and should have been included .

Posted by KTiwari on (November 12, 2012, 1:49 GMT)

Few, who are NOT in agreement with Raina means that you want these kind of super flat wickets......that may be good for Maha cricket in this case but not for Indian cricket. I also wonder what would have been reaction of Maha cricket supporters if Maha had lost toss and UP would have scored that many runs....

Posted by Kapil_Choudhary on (November 12, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

I am sorry but i don't get why Raina is blaming Reeve here. The only thing that needs criticizing here is the pitch and by extension - the people who had a hand in building it. Raina himself is saying that there is nothing in the pitch and UP could have chased any target down..why should Maharashtra allow that? Mah on purpose batted more than 2 days so that UP have to bat much faster than Mah in order to chase the target down. If Mah gave UP more than 2 days to bat by declaring with an hour left on day 2, UP would have chased the target down on this docile pitch and Mah would have conceeded the first innings lead despite getting 650+ runs - how embarrasing would that be???

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 0:49 GMT)

Raina's comments are absolutely on the spot. The pitch is the murderer. Maha tactics aided and abetted that crime! The experienced coaches with corrector should also impart the right 'cricketing values' in the minds of the impressionable young cricketers, in addition to skills!

Posted by Nampally on (November 12, 2012, 0:15 GMT)

I think blaming the Maharashtra side is not the answer. Blame the groundsman for preparing a most unsportive pitch ? Definitely Yes. How to control it? Let BCCI lay down the minimum requirements so that a 4 day game leads to a result. BCCI has to step up their duties and call a meeting of all chief groundsmen of locations where Ranji matches will be staged- Give them specific instructions. I would in fact praise Maharashtra for taking advantage of winning the toss & putting a huge score. The best Raina & his team can do at this stage is to avoid all out & put as much total as they can so that they can share the points. 480 is an impossible task to chase especially after losing 2 Wkts. Take your time & put the best score & appeal to BCCI with a formal coplaint if the game ends in a draw due to UP not completing their first innings. Scoring a triple century is not easy & Jadev deserves all credit. If anyone in Raina's team repeat this feat, then go ahead and make my Day!.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 0:08 GMT)

Score 100s in these kind of pitches and score 0's when u get selected for India. Technical committee should ban these kind of wickets.

Posted by MadhavY on (November 11, 2012, 22:57 GMT)

@Mr. Mahadevan, you completely misunderstood Raina's comments here, he said there is no life in that pitch. Then how can you ask that their bowlers let Pune score that many runs, looking at 287-1 even UP can score them if they got time. and about scoring centuries on a green pitch he never said i want to score centuries on these flat tracks, he just said bowlers deserve something for all their hard work. Raina's comments are absolutely needed and i hope for cricket's sake somebody who can change things listens to them and understands them in a complete different perspective to the way you did.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 22:12 GMT)

was watching the tamil nadu vs karnataka game for awhile today when a stat came up on the screen showing that tn had won one game last season en route to the final while the others were won on the base of first innings lead. im amazed at why people even wonder why we dont produce great fast bowlers on a regular basis. ultimately a player is valued by his stats and i dont think any fast bowler is going to get very many wickets on pitches like this in the country. and yeh, dont blame the national team when they get hammered overseas. cant see any reason why they should know how to play against good fast bowling.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

Why are you bothered about his income? Btw what were your bowlers doing in this match letting the Maharashtra team to 756. If the pitch is lifeless, do you think you would have scored centuries to centuries in a complete green pitch....

Posted by sweetspot on (November 11, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

IF this nonsense of first innings lead win declaration goes, other meaningful changes can be brought in. Even if UP goes on to score these mammoth runs, it will be an exercise in futility for both sides. Very sad. And we wonder why we don't produce very many bowlers?!

Posted by Vish213 on (November 11, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

@drnaveed: There is nothing wrong with this guys' comments,neither is with his performance in ODIs. He is a specialist batsman handling a very difficult job-to take leverage of last batting powerplay and score quickly in last overs. You can't expect a batsman who always has to play big shots almost from 5th-6th ball to have an average in 40s. Its not the situation for any other batsman, who can easily take 20 balls to settle,next 50 balls to reach their half century and even if they get out in trying to lift their strike rate on the very next ball, still their 50+ score is shown on the cards(off about what,70 balls? Fair enough they say in middle overs). His job is more difficult than any other batsman in the team. And yes, he is not fit for test cricket, the boy needs to practice a lot against spinners. The kind of dismissals he got in England against Swann almost made selectors put their hands on their head and say-please go back and learn how to play them!

Posted by balajeev on (November 11, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

I agree with Raina and his nephew here.

Posted by xylo on (November 11, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

@ Mali-T658, Raina's point is that with pitches like this, batsmen never have to tackle bounce, and thereby their batting does not really improve either.

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

worstest pitch of india......nothing for bowler and Raina also has point.what's logic behind their almost 8 session batting

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:47 GMT)

Rohit Motwani, the Pune based Maharashtra captain has been batting well, and is a sound wicket keeper. I am surprised that he hasn't been picked up by any of the IPL teams.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

The point stands to logic. Lifeless pitches serve no purpose. Test cricket is endangered and these kind of pitches only help push it faster in that direction

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

Funny, in such a lifeless pitch except one all have mediocre strike rate as batsmen!!!

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

It is absolutely painful to follow matches like is the pitches nd tactics like these that are killing cricket....mca should be fined or something for producing such sort of a pitch...absolutely fair point raised by raina

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Good Point Raina. Hope U guys those 460 tom

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Well said Riana.. These tactics spoil young Talent.. Axe this foreign coach

Posted by Mali-T658 on (November 11, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

Someone who can't play short balls and yet whining about 'no bounce' in the pitch is quite ironic.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

Why we do not have foreign president , secretary and treasurer in BCCI, why only foreign coaches?

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

raina is absolutely right...time to rethink on ur strategies mr.dermot...

Posted by drnaveed on (November 11, 2012, 17:09 GMT)

mr suresh raina just look at your own performance in this match in particular , and also in other recently played matches. seems to be good bye for you ( for the time being ) , regarding coming back in the Indian side.just think how you can get back in the indian side, let your bat talk rather than your mouth......... you seems to be having a down fall after your tweeter message, remember ...... ?

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Raina is talking nonsense as he is no captainship material .U P captainship should have gone to KALF . Raina is only making excuses since he is known as an alrounder he hardly bowls even in ranji trophy . he is not confidence for himself . His captainship was an utter failure in ZImbabway few years back in one day matches AS A BATSMAN RAINA CANNOT FACE SHORT PITCH BOWLS SO HIS CAREER AS A TEST PLAYER SHOULD END RIGHT NOW

Posted by VPSrivastava on (November 11, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

For once Veer maratha??? team fearful of facing fast and furious bowlers of a bhaiya ji team!!!!. Jokes apart, Maharashtra team do not have gusts and means to face one of the most fearful fast bowlers attack in domestic circuit after seeing how the famed top order of Delhi team caved in previous match against same team. Taking into account that UP is without their two premier fast bowler namely RP Singh and Praveen Kumar in this match.

Posted by MegaSix on (November 11, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

So in short, Raina wanted to bat for last 2 days and get past the score to earn 3 points? - look @ the lifeless wicket, Raina should thank Maha for the declaration and not going on forever!!

Posted by ZakY_km on (November 11, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

How can he criticize opposition teams tactics .

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

Its painful to read the match statistics even if you are a Maharashtra fan, leave alone watch the days play! The curator got the pitch absolutely wrong. Bad for the game in general, worse for Indian Cricket which started off the season on a glimmer of hope given by a new technical committee and their fresh line of thinking, real bad for the likes of Praveen Kumar looking to make a comeback into the Indian IX. Someone must be held accountable and strings pulled to see that these kinds of team tactics do not spread to other games in this season. Or else a well meaning, new beginning will be lose its sheen.

Posted by SoverBerry2 on (November 11, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Great comment. He knows exactly why players like him are not able to play short ball...he want to change it!

Posted by Match_Referee on (November 11, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

For that matter all Indian wickets are FLAT. Some (like this one) are FLATTEST while others are just FLAT. Curators prepare SPIN wickets (sportive wickets in their language) when they feel they want to take revange on their tourists to offset their heavy losses on bouncy wickets abroad...This is the only reason why there is no genuine fast bowler for India after Kapil and also no good spinner currently.

Posted by mashrurR on (November 11, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

and now ranji trophi have become no.1 headline on cricinfo's global edition.. i guess it's the most important tournament of this game. from now on, i'll follow RT, eat RT, sleep RT, dream RT..

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Raina is somewhat right. These days the strategy appears to be 'To win the toss, choose to bat, pile up as many runs as u can and try for first innings lead'.. Seldom we see teams going in with 'Outright win' strategy. If this continues, people will stop watching Ranji Trophy even on television.

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