The Indian team holds an impressive record while playing at home. India has not lost any match in the last four home series'. In the last 10 Test matches at home, India won seven and drew the remaining three. Cricket experts say that India's true test lies while playing abroad. If this is the case, then India has failed in its test, as they have only won two matches and lost nine abroad. With such record, Dhoni still wants turning tracks. Surprising! My be Dhoni needs to listen to Navjot Singh Sidhu's words, 'Stats are like bikinis, they reveal more than what they hide.'
Think about future
With the advent of the Indian Premier League, players from foreign countries are getting acquainted with Indian conditions. In the next 4-5 years, they are just going to play better on slow Indian tracks. What kind of pitches will be doctored when players from other nations play spin equally well? On the other hand, our Indian players are not allowed to play in the Australian T20 leagues, which have bouncy tracks, so the Indian players are not going to improve upon their performance in such fast tracks if they only play their cricket on docile Indian pitches. So, instead of thinking short term, one should be prepared for the future and see how India can be the best team in the world irrespective of the conditions.
Aesthetics of viewership
At times when Test viewership is on the decline, a spin bowler opening an attack does not augur well, nor is it a fascinating sight for any ardent Test fan. We have always seen the fresh red cherry being used by pace bowlers and it should always remain the same. If spinners are used at the start then what is the need for fast bowlers in a team? One also needs to mention that the quality of fast bowlers that is being produced all over the world is gone down compared to the yesteryears. So, if more turning tracks are prepared, it might lead to dearth of quality fast bowlers.
Defensive ploy by an aggressive captain
We have known Dhoni to be an aggressive captain, only when the need arises. But his ploy of opting for turning pitches sounds defensive. He wants to be on the safer side and make sure that his team does not lose the match, at least. Instead of asking for such pitches, why doesn't he recommend a pitch, which would help the team develop as a cricket team?
Balanced side – best answer to all conditions
India may have been blessed with good spinners right from day one. But spinners alone don't win you matches, especially in foreign conditions. We need a good mixture of spinners and fast bowlers. Look at all the teams that dominated world cricket during last two decades or so. Australia had one of the best attacks with McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Warne. Another best example could be during the days of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram who had spinners such as Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mustaq. They were the best balanced bowling sides and their performances during their era would be a tough match for any side to beat.
Not fair- Fast bowlers straightaway thrown in a tough foreign tour
India has some good fast bowlers coming up the ranks, so if spin tracks are going to be provided, how are they going to showcase their skill? They might not even be picked for a home tour but might be straightaway thrown into a foreign tour. It is obvious for these bowlers to struggle, as they have no experience in bowling on such kind of wickets. When they see a green wicket, they can easily get carried away and try too hard. But, if is experienced in such bowling conditions, then he would know how best to use it, without wasting much energy.
Domestic pitches – a concern
It is in the blood of Indian cricketers to play well against spinners. But, most of these players are not impressive while playing against the swinging ball and fast bowlers. The recent India tour of Australia and England are a testimony to the said fact. So, this is bound to happen as the domestic pitches that are prepared in India are low and slow wickets. So how do we expect these players to come up and suddenly play well in alien conditions. They play with a cricket bat and not a magic wands. So, it is a must that domestic pitches in India help fast bowlers and provide some bounce to help them prepare for the future.
A lot of effort goes in preparing a pitch for a cricket match. Especially, when it is a five day format, more attention has to be given to the pitch so that it is able to withstand the five day pressure. But the raw nature of Indian pitches, which are normally dry and dusty, makes the ball come on slow and low onto the bat. This can be avoided by watering the pitch regularly. Rollers can also be used to harden the soil, thereby increasing the bounce. Apart from this, the humidity factor, location of the ground and weather play an important role. For instance, a pitch in Chandigarh will have more carry and bounce, as witnessed in the past as it is properly rolled. But a pitch in Mumbai is normally on the drier side, which is more suited for spin bowling.
So, what is the best Test wicket?
Test match pitches should be prepared so as to provide entertainment to viewers and cricket fans all over the world. Yes, Test cricket also can bring in an element of entertainment, which may be different compared to the T20 kind of entertainment. What else do you want apart form a good balance between the bat and the ball. This can only happen in a sporting wicket, which offers bounce, pace and something for the spinners in the fourth and the fifth day of the game. It is essential for the game not to lose its shine. Pitches across the world should not be tailored according to the home team, but something which calls for a quality game, which can only happen when the wicket has everything for both batsmen and the bowlers. Else, the game will lose its popularity and even lose its ardent followers who love the longer format for its quality.
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