Glenn Turner, New Zealand's chairman of selectors, has acknowledged that the Indians have become better tourists but still lack the consistency expected of great teams when playing away from home. Turner was speaking after the Napier Test which India saved after being asked to follow on. It was an anti-climax from the first Test in Hamilton , which the tourists won handsomely by ten wickets.
"The team lacked consistency," Turner told DNA. "They have done well to save the Test but good teams would have done better than that. Most teams are more consistent than India. India, when they are running hot, they are really hot. We have also seen they have their moments in other ways as well."
In the last eight years, India have managed to win at least one Test in all ten Test-playing nations, and the Hamilton victory was their first in New Zealand in 33 years. Turner, the country's former captain, attributed their success to the emergence of quality fast bowlers who have helped their batsmen improve their technique when playing abroad.
"No Indian team ever had such a quality pace attack as the present one," Turner said. "Your batsmen are not only much more experienced but also are better served at home because of good fast bowling which helps them abroad."
However, he didn't feel the same about the slow-bowling talent. "Spin wise I don't see the ability of the past spinners in [MS] Dhoni's team," he said. "I've noticed that Harbhajan Singh has not got his doosra going. He is bowling topspinners but his doosra doesn't seem to be working. The Bedis, Prasannas and Chandrasekhars have vanished from the Indian squad."
Turner also found faults in the structure of the Indian batting line-up, particularly at the top of the order. "The classical openers are not really there. When you look at the Indian side, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid are more like openers. But they really don't open. That makes for a contradiction. So the days of seeing the new ball off is no longer an opener's job. The current Indian opening pair makes for an exciting viewing but the strategy is fraught with a lot of dangers. The consistency is lacking."
Turner, however, still tagged India as favourites for the deciding Test in Wellington. "We've struggled to score more than 300 in an innings," he said. "At Napier we scored more than 600 but I would say we can do that again if we had scored big runs in regular intervals. I see India start as favourites but you never know how the Test will pan out, because the weather in Wellington will play a crucial role."