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Indian pitches will always be prepared to favour spinners
It is the 22-yard strip, which becomes the talking point in all tours, and expect the same in the ongoing India-England Test series as well, which would pre-dominantly witness slow and low pitches to assist spin bowlers.

INDIA HAS been known for preparing slow Test wickets, when foreign teams tour the country. There have been many who suggest that India needs to come up with sporting wickets, which would help to make matches interesting.

One ardent sports fan, Shiv Sunny said, “There is a perception – sporting wickets are fast pitches. But spin pitches can also be sporting wickets.” In the ongoing Test match against England, it is the spinners, who dominated the game in the bowling department for India.

Karsan Ghavri, a former Indian cricketer said, “The home team always has an advantage. We (The Indian team) go to Australia, South Africa and they prepare the pitch according to their strength – fast bowlers.”

The recent tour of Australia and England has shown how teams use the conditions for their benefit. The English and the Australian teams prepare bouncy and green tracks, which suit their style of fast bowling. Hence, one sees no wrong, when India prepares slow pitches, where spinners rule the roost. Ghavri and Shiv both said that India needs to play according to its strength.

But one has to understand that pitches in India can be prepared in the style they want to. History has shown that bouncy and green pitches have been prepared in India, especially in Mohali, Nagpur, Mumbai, etc. So, it is not the case that such pitches cannot be prepared. Ghavri added, “It all depends on the curators and the team management and such pitches can be prepared easily.” But, these curators normally listen to the team management and their needs so they fall for it, even if they want to offer a green top.

Such kind of slow pitches can also be used to the advantage of fast bowlers, provided they know the art of bowling in such conditions. Bowlers like Glenn McGrath made best use of such conditions with their immaculate line and length. It is all about adapting to the needs of the situation. Ghavri said, “This (slow) kind of pitches also provide assistance for fast bowlers if they pitch the balls at the right areas.”

It is the batsmen, who enjoy a great time once they get their eye in. They are almost impossible to dismiss, as the players who scored centuries in the ongoing first Test match between India and England would suggest. Then slowly the game gets boring with the bat dominating the ball. There is an absence of fine balance between the bat and the ball on such pitches. Ghavri said, “It has always been a batsmen's game. Very little recognition is given to bowlers.”

Irrespective of what former cricketers and fans say, if India needs to be one of the most consistent teams, both at home and abroad, it needs to produce wickets, which would also test its own bowlers – bouncy pitches. They may fail initially at home, but it is in the long run that the Indian team will benefit.

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