rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Spin can no longer win at home for India

Spin can no longer win at home for India

Last updated on: January 30, 2012 12:53 IST

Spin can no longer win at home for India

     Next

Next
Faisal Shariff

India must stop thinking it can make up for poor performances abroad by producing spin-friendly tracks at home, says Faisal Shariff.

Gautam Gambhir is, at the best of times, audaciously outspoken.

Whether it is dismissing the Rajasthan Royals as an ordinary team in the IPL or giving the thumbs up to the UDRS in defiance of his Board's stand.

His most telling comment about captaincy and M S Dhoni was right after the 2011 cricket World Cup win. 'Captains don't make the team, the team makes the captain,' Gambhir was quoted saying just before last year's IPL.

He is the same man who was suspended for a Test after elbowing Shane Watson when the Aussie tried to needle him verbally. His verbal volley with Shahid Afridi is stuff for promos on the sports channels.

He is, of course, the common factor who top-scored in India's T20 and ODI World Cup wins in 2007 and 2011.

So, he has done it all!

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: The vanquished Indian team in Australia


     Next

Gambhir hasn't scored a century in 25 months!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Gambhir has said it all, except scoring runs away from home in tough conditions, against strong teams in Test cricket -- a true indicator of the class of a player on the world stage.

Gambhir's only worthwhile contribution is a 10-hour marathon (137) at Napier in March 2009, which helped India save the Test. Apart from that, there is a 90 at Cape Town and little else.

So, it was hardly a surprise when he shot off his mouth recently on how conditions in India should suit the home team.

This, from a man who has not scored a Test century in 25 months; who has only scored Test hundreds in India and on the docile pitches in neighbouring Bangladesh!

His ton in New Zealand, of course, stands out, but then everyone on both sides got runs on that tour.

Gambhir failed to get to the three-figure mark in the longer format of the game in Sri Lanka, England, South Africa and Australia.

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: Gautam Gambhir


Prev     Next

We want spinning tracks: More a threat and desperation

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Asked whether India needs to produce tracks to suit its strengths, Gambhir replied that more than that is required.

The reaction was simple: We want spinning tracks in India to test rival teams. It was more a threat and desperation than anything else.

The intention from Gambhir was honourable, though seeing those stats, not surprising! But he forgot a vital fact -- that every Test team has one top quality spinner in their line-up to make most of the conditions even in India.

So, India is no longer the no-go zone as far as foreign teams are concerned.

What's more, even a Devendra Bishoo from the West Indies had India in knots, but could not force the issue too much because of lack of support.

Graeme Swann, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Abdur Rehman, Bangladesh's left-arm quartet, Daniel Vettori and Imran Tahir. All these gentlemen are ranked higher than any Indian spinner in recent times, except, perhaps, a certain Harbhajan Singh.

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian off-spinner


Prev     Next

Don't prepare pitches to suit your strengths

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

These spinners pick wickets and win Test matches for their sides. So if Gambhir thinks these tactics will help India win Tests at home, then he is wrong.

This is not the 1990s, when sides either had one-dimensional attacks, like the West Indies or England or New Zealand or South Africa, or varied ones, like Australia and Pakistan.

India got away in that decade preparing -- or should we say doctoring -- pitches to suit itself.

Australia's varied attack came to India then, but only half its strength. And Pakistan rattled India with its attack when it finally arrived in 1999. And, let's not forget that Saqlain Mushtaq picked four five-wicket hauls in the first two Tests in Chennai and Delhi.

In these days of variety in attacks, it is not advisable to follow the path of preparing pitches to suit your strengths.

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, who had England in knots recently


Prev     Next

Hardly any mystery about Ojha and Ashwin

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Yes, the conditions will produce pitches that offer low bounce, but that is not the same as preparing rank turners.

It is fair to say that India has an enviable record at home since 2006. Only South Africa has won Test matches in India since then, and that is also because of its new ball attack.

India won the contests by right and because of the combination of Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma. It won not only with its reverse swing, but also because of its spin.

Gautam Gambhir forgets that statistic when he talks about conditions and rank turners.

India's spin fortunes have dwindled since the final days of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh's downward graph.

Pragyan Ojha has stepped up in recent times and so has Ravichandran Ashwin, but there is hardly any mystery or mystique about them as yet. Teams don't come looking to master them unlike the past.

Please click NEXT to read further...


Image: Pragyan Ojha, India's left-arm spinner


Prev     Next

Is India willing to make changes to its approach?

Prev     More
Prev

More

Let's face it, India's batsmen face as much of a spin challenge as their rivals this coming season.

New Zealand has Daniel Vettori and an Indian origin spinner in Tarun Nethula. Australia will definitely come reinforced with spin stock. England, obviously, has the pair of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar.

If India thinks they can get away by producing tracks to suit spinners, they are wrong.

Australia and England will come to India hardened by their efforts in Sri Lanka and the UAE. So India's trial by fire in Test cricket will continue from where it left at Adelaide.

Is India willing to make changes to its approach?


Image: England's Graeme Swann, arguably the world's best off-spinner


Prev     More