Home > Features >

MS Dhoni must not be over-reliant on spin-friendly tracks at home if he wants to improve overseas record

Can India be bold enough to prepare neutral tracks, keeping the future in mind?

Harbhajan Singh, one of the biggest beneficiaries of pitches tailored for Indian spinners, checks the wicket very closely at Mohali © Getty Images

 

 

India’s next major series against England is almost here, and there is little doubt as to what kind of surfaces the visitors can expect, especially after the kind of treatment they dished out to India last year. But will such tactics prove to be beneficial in the long run? Karthik Parimal dwells into the issue.

 

 

Indian cricket has been on a downward spiral ever since bagging the coveted 50-over World Cup last year. The dramatic decline in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs) was unprecedented. And despite the abundance of Twenty20 games, they’ve never once looked favourites to win the ICC World T20 after the inaugural edition. While the previous selection committee hardly took steps to remedy the situation after the infamous whitewashes, it remains to be seen what kind of strategy the Sandeep Patil-led committee devises to resurrect Team India’s fortunes. There’ve been talks of having three captains for three different formats of the game, but will it be enough to change India’s dwindling stocks on the international arena?

 

In the last couple of years, it’d be safe to say, superficial changes have been made as and when issues in Indian cricket arose. Many former cricketers have repeatedly stated that the real cause of problems lies elsewhere. While the domestic structure no doubt needed a revamp, the state of pitches too is something that cannot be neglected.

 

Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly were vital in formulating a strategy to make the domestic tournaments more competitive, however, the talk of changing the nature of pitches never seems to materialise. The Indian team relies heavily on spinning tracks at home, and hence, things could get even worse for them when touring overseas in the near future, unless immediate steps are taken to correct the situation.

 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has always advocated having home advantage. While it’s true to an extent that home teams must have a slight edge over the visitors, it does not augur well to heavily load the balance in one’s favour. In that case, we will end up with teams extremely competent at home and totally ineffective away. India could win all the games at home and keep improving their ranking, but unless they start winning on a consistent basis overseas, they will never be considered a formidable Test side.

 

It is a known fact that a good bowling unit is essential for a team’s success in the Test arena. And it’s also a known fact that India has struggled in this department since decades. However, it’s surprising that it still continues to be a chink in their armour. India can manage with its bowling resources overseas in the limited-overs format of the game, thanks to a sturdy batting unit, but the inability of these bowlers to pick twenty wickets in a Test continues to cause problems. As a reason, India has never remained at the top in the game’s original format for long.

 

Preparing wickets to suit strength is fine, but it should be in moderation. Wickets turning square right towards the end of the second day’s play in a Test could help in winning a few matches, but it will never address India’s long-term problem. Balanced pitches should be introduced. Even if a few matches are lost initially, it could prove to be beneficial in due course of time. But are the authorities bold enough to implement it, considering that losing is hardly an option in this cricket-crazy nation?

 

India has a long home season ahead of it, but they are also scheduled to tour Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa thereafter. To perform in such varying conditions after consistently playing on spinning surfaces at home could turn out to be an ordeal once again. The best way forward would be to shed the traditional approach of spinner-friendly surfaces. Only then will India have the likes of Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Parvinder Awana et al, growing and sustaining their confidence. Batting has relatively not been a cause for concern.. It’s the bowling department that needs tweaking, and unless they authorities get to the root of that issue, it’s hard to see fortunes changing.

 

Pakistan have produced high quality fast bowlers by conveyor-belt methods. Javed Miandad, who played a protagonist’s role in the development of Pakistan cricket, too noted this deficiency in the Indian unit. “Right now it is just the fear of losing that keeps India from adopting this strategy. But one can’t worry about that when making long-range policy. You may initially lose a few matches on seaming wickets, but before long an indigenous crop of fast bowlers will emerge and turn the tide,” he rightly said.

 

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)

 

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

Moeen Ali – the part-timer keeps pegging India back with crucial wickets

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s sloppy batting and other highlights of play on Day 3

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix

Denesh Ramdin: Didn’t expect Sunil Narine to bowl Super Over maiden

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Virat Kohli’s opportunity to find form

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Harbhajan Singh congratulates wrestler Sushil Kumar for CWG 2014 gold medal

Nottinghamshire, Somerset involved in dramatic tie in Royal London One-Day Cup

India tour of England 2014: Moeen Ali is developing as a spinner with every game, says Stuart Broad

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Draw the most likely result, feels Sunil Gavaskar

Stuart Broad: To go into the company of Wasim, Waqar and Walsh, Ambrose is a huge honour

Moeen Ali – the part-timer keeps pegging India back with crucial wickets

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s sloppy batting and other highlights of play on Day 3

India’s poor shot selection gives England advantage on Day 3 of 3rd Test at Southampton

‘Yuvraj, Ganguly, Zaheer and Indian team to come together in support of my charitable cause’

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

India vs England, 3rd Test at Southampton: Stuart Broad lauds performance of England bowlers on Day 3

FDI in telecom jumps manifold to $1.5 billion in April-May

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display given a speed boost, prices slashed across the range

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Shah Rukh Khan wishes his fans a happy Eid-view pics!

Harbhajan Singh congratulates wrestler Sushil Kumar for CWG 2014 gold medal

Salman Khan’s Kick trailer crosses 16 million views!

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here